Dogs didn’t always give us those infamous puppy dog eyes, but they do now – all thanks to evolution.
New research comparing the anatomy and behaviour of dogs and wolves suggests dogs’ facial anatomy has changed over thousands of years – specifically to allow them to better communicate with humans.
This includes the development of a small muscle around the eyes, which allows them to raise their inner eyebrow more intensely, giving them that undeniably cute, I’m-sorry-please-love-me-and-feed-me-treats look.
The study’s authors suggest this triggers a nurturing response in humans, because it makes dogs’ eyes appear larger and more “infant-like” when they are sad.
“The evidence is compelling that dogs developed a muscle to raise the inner eyebrow after they were domesticated from wolves,” said psychologist Dr Juliane Kaminski, from the University of Portsmouth. “We also studied dogs’ and wolves’ behaviour, and when exposed to a human for two minutes, dogs raised their inner eyebrows more and at higher intensities than wolves.”
It’s something most dog owners have felt powerless in the face of at some point – so in homage to our four-legged friends, here are 21 pics of puppy dog eyes in action. You’re most welcome.