Dogs are the oldest domesticated animal, having been working alongside humans some 15,000 years. They have assisted with a variety of tasks and some still do so today. Dogs have helped by herding, hunting, pulling loads, guarding and protecting, assisting police and military and being noble companions. Regardless of the dog’s breed, its origin general traces back to one of these functions. It should come as no surprise then that dogs and humans share so many unique qualities. We’ve evolved together for thousands of years, so it makes sense that we’re so much alike. Dogs aren’t called “man’s best friend” for no reason.
#1 – They’re social
Dogs are social animals. Their ancestors lived in family-like packs, the same way wolves and many other wild canids do today. Dogs enjoy spending time with their people and this is a trait that we’ve bred from the very beginning. After all, what good was a farm dog if he didn’t like being around his owner? Humans have been breeding dogs for companionship and sociability from the very beginning.
#2 – They’re furniture hogs
Not everyone wants their dogs on the furniture, but most of us know that we’re much less strict about it than we should be. In fact, most of us are probably quite comfortable sharing much of our couches and beds with our dogs. They’re opportunists (also like us), and will quickly take up all the space they can!
#3 – They love food
Food is love, for people and dogs alike. We are both a social species and much of our social interactions revolve around food. This is true for wild canids as well. While we don’t share all of our food with our dogs at home, we can share the love for a delicious meal and snack.
#4 – They’re intelligent
Dogs are very intelligent animals. Recent studies support evidence that the average dog is as smart as the average two-year-old child. This means their minds and range of emotions are just as complex as that of a human child. Dogs have been shown to have relatively notable emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills and even demonstrate a theory of mind.
#5 – They have personal preferences
Dogs have personal preferences just like humans do. Dogs have favorite foods, toys, and even people. Each dog is different in their likes and dislikes and while some seem to like everything and everyone, others might be very picky.
#6 – They have unique personalities
Dogs are what their genetics and upbringing allow and different dogs will have different personalities. Some traits are breed-specific, but even within breeds, you will find some variation. Generally speaking, a dog’s personality will reflect the tasks it was bred to do. Sledding dogs are active and independent, hunting dogs are social and energetic, guardian breeds are loyal and aloof toward strangers. These are generalizations, of course, but mostly accurate.
#7 – They are emotional
Dogs are deeply emotional creatures. They bond very strongly to their families, humans and other animals alike. Studies show that dogs feel complex emotions such as jealousy and anticipation and that they can discriminate the emotional expressions on human faces. They are instinctive but intuitive animals that are thought to experience love, fear, anger, joy, and affection. Anthropomorphizing can become a serious problem, but the complicated emotions dogs feel can’t be ignored.