Scientists may have found the reason behind the wide differences in behavioral traits of different dog breeds. Research published by a group of scientists in The Journal of Neuroscience this week discovered that selective breeding of dogs has altered their brain anatomy, affecting their behavior. This has led to different dog breeds showing distinct behavior, cognition ability, and temperament.
For the research, the team picked 62 dogs from 33 breeds. They studied the MRI scans of the dogs to understand their brain anatomy. The scans revealed significant variations across different breeds. They also found that these changes correlated with specialization in the behavior of the breed, such as sight hunting, herding or companionship.
The researchers found that these changes appear in the terminal branches of the breeds, indicating a strong and recent transformation in each individual breed. These differences did not correlate to the differences in size or shape of the dog’s body or brain. These findings indicate that human selection has altered the brains of domestic dog lineages.