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Why do some dogs howl more than others? Tests

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Why are some dog breeds prone to howling and others not? This issue was investigated by scientists from the University of Budapest. It turned out that genetics is responsible. The closer a given breed is to wolves, the more often it uses this means of expression. Researchers have published a recording of the experiment. There’s something to listen to.

Hungarian behaviorist Fanni Lehoczki observed that her Siberian Husky named Bizsu howls a lot. She asked herself why some dogs are prone to howling and others are not. Lehoczki and her team from the University of Budapest (ELTE) experimented with 68 dogs representing 28 breeds, and very different ones, including Shiba-Inu, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Pekingese, Bull Terrier.


How dogs react to howling wolves

In the study, individual dogs were played a three-minute recording of howling wolves and then watched their reactions. The scientists published their findings in the journal Communications Biology. And they shared the video with the world.

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Why do some dog breeds howl more than others? Research by scientistsReuters

Lechoczki emphasized that the scientists looked for “stress-related behaviors, such as yawning, brushing off, licking the face, scratching” in the tested dogs. – The main finding was that race matters. More specifically, those breeds that are genetically closer to wolves are more likely to respond by howling and also show more stress signals than dogs that are less related to wolves, the researcher explained.

She noted that this was the case with dogs older than five years of age. Among the younger dogs, there was no difference between the breeds. This aspect is therefore yet to be explored.

It was also observed that neutered males howled more often than other dogs. “They are more timid, so this result seems to suggest that a dog’s howl can also mean: I’m afraid, don’t come closer” – noted Lehoczki.

Impact of domestication of dogs on ‘information encoded in a wolf’s howl’

The obtained results were considered by the scientists as confirming the thesis that “older breeds, due to their genetic relationship, can better process the information encoded in the howl of a wolf.” “During domestication, the importance of this call for group cohesion and territorial call declined because dogs have been pushed into human society and the human group, they don’t have to keep the pack like wolves do,” explained fellow researcher Tamas Farago.

‘Our findings are among the first to indicate that domestication may change the way animals process and respond to other individuals’ vocalizations. Ultimately, this could help us better understand the evolution of vocal communication,’ the scientists concluded.

Main photo source: Reuters

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