There is no doubt that dogs can develop a special connection with their owners, constantly showing how much they care about us with unique gestures, however one of the most adorable ways they use to communicate with us when they want something is their ‘puppy dog eyes.’
Now scientists have discovered that humans could be responsible for this sweet and irresistible gesture as a result of evolution, which started almost 33,000 years ago, when dogs went through the process of domestication, after humans decided to breed dogs based on similar facial expressions to their own.
This made dogs realize that they could benefit from communication with humans, evolving from their genetic cousin, the wolf. Using their facial muscles to mimic facial expressions of humans, ultimately manipulating humans, making their eyes look bigger and making a sadder expression.
Researchers found that dogs and wolves have similar facial muscles, minus one located around the eye, the levator anguli oculi medialis muscle, as a product of domestication. This makes it almost impossible for them to raise the corner of their brows and make the adorable ‘puppy dog eyes.’
“You don’t typically see such muscle differences in species that are that closely related,“ says Anne Burrows of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
So whenever you see your dog making this adorable gesture, remember that while they are in fact trying to manipulate you or simply trying to appeal to you, it’s as a result of years and years of domestication, ultimately caused by humans.