Why do we love dogs with big, sad eyes? Scientists think they have the answer.
Scientists at the University of Portsmouth have found that dogs can make a “sad” face. This helps them to connect with humans.
The scientists compared the muscles of dogs and wolves. They found that the muscles in their faces are similar. But there was one difference: dogs have two muscles around their eyes that wolves don’t have. Dogs use these muscles to move their eyebrows. This helps them to communicate better with humans.
“When a dog raises its eyebrows the eyes look bigger, like a human baby,” explained one of the scientists. “Humans move their eyebrows in the same way when they are sad,” she said, “so when dogs make this movement, humans naturally want to look after them.”
“Our study shows that dogs have expressive eyebrows because they lived together with humans. Over thousands of years humans preferred to keep dogs with more eyebrow movement, so now all dogs have expressive eyebrows.”
The scientists want to study other animals that humans have lived with; for example, horses and cats.