Cited 3 times since 2019 (0.8 per year) source: EuropePMC Behavioural processes, Volume 166, 30 5 2019, Pages 103877 Does socio-ecology drive differences in alertness between wolves and dogs when resting? Kortekaas K, Kotrschal K
Variation in resting behaviour across animals may be driven by adaptations towards their environment. Wolves and dogs seem promising models to examine this idea as they share a common ancestor, but occupy different socio-ecological niches. While wolves generally avoid humans, hunt, defend their territory, and raise offspring cooperatively, most dogs live in human-shaped environments. Hence, we hypothesized wolves to be more alert towards their environment than dogs, i.e. the degree of activation along the sleep-wake continuum (alertness) should be greater in wolves than in dogs. We estimated alertness via cardiac output. We tested similarly raised and kept pack-living wolves and dogs in two different behavioural conditions: (1) inactive wakefulness: animal is lying, head in an upward position with eyes opened, (2) resting: animal is lying, head in downward position with eyes mainly closed. In contrast to our expectations, we found that in both conditions wolves had a lower heart rate and higher heart rate variability than dogs, i.e. wolves might be less alert/more relaxed than dogs. Although our results are preliminary, we suggest that the higher alertness of dogs compared to wolves is potentially driven by differences in their socio-ecology (i.e. domestication) causing greater attention of dogs to human behaviour.