Dogs evolved tens of thousands of years ago from wolves. At that time, certain genes making dogs particularly were selected for, as per research. This may have given dogs their distinctive personalities, including human company craving.
The genetic variation in wolves and dogs offers an insight into animal personality and suggest similar genes may contain the roles even in other domestic species, said Princeton University Dr Bridgett vonHoldt.
The researchers studied the domestic dogs as well as the grey wolves’ behavior living in captivity. They carried out few tests of the animals’ skills at sociability and problem-solving.
These showed wolves were good as dogs in solving problems, such as recovering pieces of sausage from a plastic lunchbox.
Dogs, are friendlier. They spent more time in greeting human strangers and also in gazing at them, while wolves stay aloof.
DNA tests found a connection between certain genetic changes and behaviors such as attentiveness to strangers or even on social clues picking up.
Similar changes in humans are linked with a rare genetic syndrome, where people are highly sociable.
“This exciting observation highlights the dog’s utility as a genetic system informative for studies of human disease, as it shows that the minor variants in critical genes in dogs result in major syndromic effects in humans,” she said.
Dogs were domesticated from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. This process started as wolves were tolerant of humans and sneaked into hunter gatherer camps to feed on food scraps. Over the time, wolves were tames and they became the dogs we have now and are in all sizes and shapes.