Dog owners often observe their favorites on the dog meadow as they seem to prefer dogs of the same breed. But is it really because the animals know about this common ground?
Dogs recognize their own species despite different breeds
A study from France explored the question of whether dogs even recognize conspecifics as such, even if they are completely different dog breeds. For example, does a Chihuahua know that a Newfoundland dog is also a dog? For the experiment, the scientists led by Dominique Autier-Dérian from the University of Paris took 3,000 photos of dogs of different breeds, including crossbreeds, and 3,000 photos of animals of other species, including humans. The pictures were all with the same blue background and each showed portraits from the front, in profile or in three-quarter profile. Nine dogs of various breeds also acted as subjects.
Initially, the four-legged friends had the choice of walking to a screen that showed a dog picture or going to a blank screen. If they opted for the photo, they got a reward. The researchers then checked whether the test animals also ran to the dog picture when a photo of another species was shown on the other screen. In the end, the scientists observed what happens when the dogs only get a reward if they walk to the picture that does not show any other species. Because the dogs did a good job, the study leaders concluded that the animals seem to actually have an idea of what constitutes a dog and what does not - even if they do not have the smell, sound or movement pattern to help them identify them ,
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However, the study could not find out whether dogs also recognize that these are different breeds. In general, it is difficult to determine with certainty what a dog perceives and what it does not. Nevertheless, it can be observed on dog walks or in dog schools that four-legged friends of the same breed often make friends more easily. However, this is probably due to the fact that representatives of their own dog breed seem more familiar to them, since they know the appearance of their siblings and parents.
In addition, the different breed standards include not only visual characteristics, but also characteristic characteristics. Dogs of the same breed are therefore more likely to have similar playing behavior, similar peculiarities in body language, equally strong or weak hunting instinct and comparable social behavior. The risk of misunderstandings and conflicts is therefore less if two dogs of one breed meet. However, that doesn't mean that a Yorkshire Terrier can't make friends with a Great Dane - it's just easier to get in touch with other Yorkshire Terriers. Dogs are certainly not aware of the human concept of the breed.