A recent study from Washington State University concluded that three factors influenced the success of the domestication of the dog. These are:
- The relationship between domestic dogs and women was beneficial to the dog-human relationship as it encouraged humans to regard dogs as a ‘type of person’ (family member?). Where there was/is a relationship between dogs and women people regard dogs more highly and offer greater affection to them.
- The utility of dogs i.e. their benefit to humans as working animals, was and is dependent on the climate. Where it is warmer the less useful dogs are to people. This is because dogs have a higher body temperature than people. They can overheat in hot weather making them less effective as working dogs.
- Hunting with dogs strengthened and stengthens the dog-human relationship. In cultures where dogs are used for hunting they are valued more highly and were/are treated more as family members (higher value in terms of ‘personhood’).
The news media has latched onto the relationship between dogs and women as a means to improve the overall dog-human relationship as being a new discovery as it is more newsworthy and eyecatching. The Times headline is “Why dogs prefer the fairer sex’. Are dogs woman’s best friend rather than or as well as classically ‘man’s best friend’? That’s the eyecatching headline.
Humans are more likely to regard dogs as a type of person if the dogs had a special relationship with women.
Study title: Women influenced coevolution of dogs and humans – Date: January 25, 2021. Researchers and authors: Jaime Chambers, Marsha B. Quinlan, Alexis Evans, Robert J. Quinlan. Published online in various journals. Originally the Journal of Ethnobiology, 2020; 40 (4) DOI: 10.2993/0278-0771-40.4.414.