The communicating skills of dogs are well documented and especially their contact-seeking behaviours towards humans. The aim of this study was to use the unsolvable problem paradigm to investigate differences between breed groups in their contact-seeking behaviours towards their owner and a stranger. Twenty-four dogs of ancient breeds, 58 herding dogs, and 17 solitary hunting dogs were included in the study, and their behaviour when presented with an unsolvable problem task (UPT) was recorded for 3 min. All breed groups interacted with the test apparatus the same amount of time, but the herding dogs showed a longer gaze duration towards their owner compared to the other groups and they also preferred to interact with their owner instead of a stranger. Interestingly, the solitary hunting dogs were more in stranger proximity than the other groups, and they also showed a preference to make contact with a stranger instead of their owner. Hence, we found differences in contact-seeking behaviours, reflecting the dog–human relationship, between breed groups that might not only be related to their genetic similarity to wolves, but also due to the specific breeding history of the dogs.
|Publication Title||Animal Cognition|
|Author Address||Roth, Lina S. V., Linkoping University, IFM Biology, 581 83, Linkoping, Sweden|
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