Neoteny is the occurrence of juvenile characteristics being retained through adulthood.Edit

Neoteny in Domestic DogsEdit

Neoteny has been exhibited as a consequence of domestication in dogs from their ancestor, the wolf.  Following domestication and resulting from rigorous breeding programs, certain breeds of domestic dogs are closer in resemblance to wolf puppies than adult wolves, evident in their floppy ears and blunt muzzles as opposed to upright ears and elongated muzzles that are characteristic of adult wolves.



Figure 1. Wolf skull morphing into the skull of a French Bulldog, an example of a domestic dog breed exhibiting neoteny.


Neoteny and Domestic Dog BehaviorEdit

A study by Goodwin, Bradshaw & Wickens (1997) investigated the effect of neoteny on dog behavior by comparing behavior patterns of various dog breeds in relation to their resemblance of the wolf. A position correlation was found between the degree of wolf resemblance and amount of wolf-like behavior patterns exhibited by the dog breeds being tested.  


Drake, A.G. & Klingenberg C.P. 2010. American Naturalist 175: 289-301

Driscoll, C. A., Macdonald, D. W., & O'Brien, S. J. (2009). From Wild Animals To Domestic Pets, An Evolutionary View Of Domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(Supplement 1), 9971-9978.

Goodwin, D., Bradshaw, J. W., & Wickens, S. M. (1997). Paedomorphosis Affects Agonistic Visual Signals Of Domestic Dogs. Animal Behaviour, 53(2), 297-304

Grandin, T., & Johnson, C. (2005).Animals in translation: using the mysteries of autism to decode animal behavior. New York: Scribner.

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