Humans bred dogs to have puppy-dog eyes

Sure, but don't blame your dog. A recent study reveals that humans are to blame for those irresistible sweet peepers, having bred them into domesticated canines 33,000 years ago.

"Dogs have a reciprocating link with people that we don't see in other domesticated species like horses or cats," said senior author Anne Burrows of Duquesne University's Rangos School of Health Sciences.

"Humans may have bred dogs selectively based on facial expressions similar to their own," Burrows speculated.

Burrows claims that dogs have more "fast-twitch" face muscles than their genealogical relation, the wolf. As a result, dogs can better mirror human facial expressions or at least gaze at us with affection.

Micro-muscles help animals make face emotions. Those muscles in individuals include many fast-twitch fibres that allow us to produce face emotions rapidly and effortlessly.

The researchers say slow-twitch muscles around the eyes and face help wolves howl, whereas rapid-twitch muscles assist dogs attract their owners' attention with short, quick barks and more variable emotions.

Burrows and her team found that wolves lack another skill that most dogs have. They discovered that dogs have a muscle that can lift their inner "eyebrow," making the eye appear bigger and more infant-like.

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