Dogs & Wolves: Diet and Sociability

Arlo

We all know that dogs are wolves in one sense (can reproduce and their young are reproductively viable) and, as importantly, that dogs aren't wolves at all. Just try to teach a wolf "leave it" if you happen upon a dead rabbit. Here are two new studies that shed light on the social systems of the domestic dog, and might help some of us decide what we need to be feeding our dogs. First, Erik Axelsson and colleagues compared the genes of wolves and domestic dogs and found some very interesting differences. One of the differences is related to diet: dogs have three genes that wolves do not that play an important role in the digestion of starch (for those of you who are interested, the genes are AMY2B, MGAM and SGLT1). This result supports the "village dog" hypothesis, (of Coppinger and Read More

Hunting Wolves with Dogs in Wisconsin

wolvesinsuncrpd

Ignorance can be bliss. But it can also let bad things happen, and it grieves me to say that bad things might happen soon in my home state. In its wisdom, the legislature of the state of Wisconsin signed into law Act 169, which directs that dogs can be used to hunt wolves in our state. The wolf population in Wisconsin, having recovered naturally (no wolves were re-introduced) to over 800 individuals, were removed from the endangered species list in Wisconsin in January of 2012, and the legislature mandated that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) establish rules and regulations for the hunt itself. These rules were developed under "emergency" rule-making process, that began in May and will allow the wolf hunt to begin in October of this year. The hunt brings up many issues, from Read More

Comparative Canid Behavior

This summary doesn't begin to address the subject in depth, to do so would require a book, but I hope you'll find what I've written interesting nonetheless. My biggest problem with this was not spending all week on it... the topic is so interesting, and almost every fact led to a question. (Territorial? Well, that's a highly variable concept. How does it differ between species, say dogs and wolves for example.) You can see the problem here, but one of the great things about science is that it every answer generates new questions. That's heaven for discovery junkies like me. AFRICAN WILD DOGSĀ  Lycaon pictus: Also known as Cape Hunting Dogs or Painted Dogs, these canids are not "dogs" at all (note they are in a different genus than wolves and dogs). Called the wolves of Africa, they Read More