Why Dogs are Different from Wolves in their Ability to Appear Appealing

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BillTre

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Summary: Why Dogs are Different from Wolves in their Ability to Appear Appealing.

Dogs have two facial muscles that are either lacking or much reduced in wolves.
These muscles permit dogs to make appealing faces at people (the AU101 movement: inner eyebrow raise) which is thought to have lead to their positive selection by humans during the their domestication.
Original article (open access) from PNAS: also has eyebrow raising video comparisons of wolves and dogs).
NY Times article: starts with a very appealing photo of a puppy in the eyebrows up configuration.
Science mag news article: another cute dog picture.

An exception to dogs having this trait is the Siberian Husky, which is a ancient line of dogs and may have been selected more for sled pulling than cute looks.
 
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Wolves are not domesticated and have not evolved to make people like them. Dogs on the other hand ...
 

BillTre

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Wolves are not domesticated and have not evolved to make people like them. Dogs on the other hand ...
Considering the impact that being around humans has had on dogs, it is not that difficult to see how a similar situation could have similar effects on humans and their interactions with other humans.
 
I absolutely adored my late hound's eyebrow raising. It could just melt your heart.
 

epenguin

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I can support the thing about the Siberian husky. We had one.

The day we went to get him the proprietors of the kennel were at first not at home. A whole troop of these huskies came down the hill, then sat there and looked at us fixedly. Given the resemblance to wolves it was rather like they were making a calculation, how can we surround these guys and get them! Slightly unnerving.

It was a bit the same when he became ours.In the house there was a raised step of a couple of square metres, which was where he was supposed to be confined to, though constantly trying to break out (rest of the room was our kitchen-dining room so we were there a lot of the time). He would just sit there straight up and stare at us! The more effective for his blue eyes (he was copper coloured). We felt he was trying to hypnotise us. I wonder - I have always read that you should not stare at dogs, they read it as aggression and they don't like it.

It is true he didn't have much expressivity. For instance, vets can read dogs' expressions to useful purpose, but ours had to ask us what is he expressing now? Often enough we didn't know. As I remember been with us a couple of years before he displayed anything we could read as affection. More by body language, jumping around if you had been away and came back.

Really beautiful dog. Only not in a cute way.
 

symbolipoint

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This discussion is or become also about how Siberian Huskies express themselves differently than do other dogs. Is any clearer, more exact support for this available? If not, then this part of the discussion would go nowhere.
 

jim mcnamara

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@symbolipoint - Yes, all pretty much personal observation. Which is okay in General Discussion, not here.
Anytime you see this kind of thing, please report it.

Thread moved to GD, started out rather nicely then everyone decided to recount their own stories.
 

symbolipoint

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Looking back at O.P.'s original questions, I best guess this is not about facial muscles among dogs and wolves. Rather this more likely is about the behavioral results of SELECTIVE breeding instead of NATURAL selection. Coppinger is now dead so he can give us no further help about this.
 
I have a Walker Coonhound! Her name is Gracie. She was two days old when I got her. She is eight years old now. I've spent most of my days with her. She loves Merlina my two year old cat that I got when Merlina was one week old. The cat loves Gracie and Gracie loves her. They both love me and I love them!
 

symbolipoint

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This comment of information (some of it) from post #1, meant mainly as poetic:

So cats learned to meow for us, and dogs evolved to raise the inner eyebrow for us.
And cats are still considered "wild", and dogs are domesticated.
 

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