Cited 1 times since 2019 (0.7 per year) source: Scopus Behavioural processes, Volume 166, 30 May 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.

Keywords: Domestication, Wolf, Heart rate, Dog, Alertness, Resting

Behav Processes. 2019 May;166:103877