Dogs have an extremely high degree of social intelligence. They learn in a variety of different ways such as reinforcement and through observing the behaviour of other dogs, and even humans. They go through a series of cognitive development stages, just like humans.
Human faces are known to be asymmetrical, with people instinctively moving their gaze to the right side of a face when they meet someone and try to discern their emotional state. Dogs have developed the same instinct when encountering a human, despite the fact that they do not do this when meeting other dogs. No other non-primate is known to do this.
Recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1904, the Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world. Never weighing more than six pounds, the Chihuahua is often characterized as a “big dog” trapped in a small dog’s body. In fact, the AKC personality standard requires this toy breed to exude confidence and self-reliance
Most scientists agree that dogs, widely believed to be the first tamed animals, share a common descendent—the Eurasian subspecies of the gray wolf. From this subspecies, humans have selectively bred dogs for specific behaviors, abilities, and body types, creating over 400 distinct breeds. Organizations like the American Kennel Club and International Kennel Club have divided these breeds into groups based on certain specialties – hunting, herding, guarding, and companionship.
Numerous studies note dogs’ proficient use of humans’ attentional state, as evidenced by their ability to modify their behaviour to accord with where humans are visually attending (e.g., Call et al., 2003; Schwab and Huber, 2006). For example, Call et al. (2003) presented dogs with trials in which a human forbid them to eat a piece of food.
..Recent research with domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) suggests dogs’ skills in social cognitive tasks frequently appear more flexible and similar to those of humans than species more closely (e.g., Horowitz, 2009) or distantly (e.g., Schloegl et al., 2008) related to humans phylogenetically. Some have posited that this may be due to dogs’ close association with humans through domestication (e.g., Vilà et al., 1997; Clutton-Brock, 1999).
While there is evidence to suggest that cue following skills arose as a byproduct of selection on emotional reactivity, it is currently unclear whether additional selection in dogs produced alterations in these abilities according to different breeding criteria. Numerous behavioral differences exist among dog breeds, from distinctions in problem-solving behavior to more general traits such as aggressiveness and reactivity.
Domestic dogs are unusually skilled at reading human social and communicative behaviors when compared to other non-humans. Dogs have been shown to spontaneously use a number of communicative cues (e.g. a pointing gesture or gaze), including completely novel behaviors, to find hidden food. When directly compared on the same tasks, dogs are even more skillful at using human social cues than chimpanzees and wolves — though human-reared wolves are able to use such cues.
Dogs and gray wolves share unique allozyme alleles, highly polymorphic satellite alleles, and an extremely similar if not identical mitochondrial DNA (Ruvinsky and Sampson, 2001). Recent genetic studies have even shown that domestication from wolves may have occurred during multiple, independent events and that taming could have begun over 100,000 years ago (Vila and Wayne, 1999). The precise timing of domestication is not easy to resolve since domestic dogs were most likely not distinctive enough to be told apart from wolves until the advent of artificial selection (Ruvinsky and Sampson, 2001).
The origin of the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, has been a source of confusion and controversy for many years. Currently, the hypothesis favored by the majority of researchers is the origination of dogs from the gray wolf, Canis lupus, but even that position has been challenged in the past. Yet, for the most part, morphological and molecular data have consistently supported this hypothesis.