Want to find the breeds that bark the least?

The best jogging companions?

Dogs that are great with kids?

Dogs that shed the least?

Visit our new Top Dog Lists!

Please note that if you are looking for a dog breed that is the best compromise of various traits (for example, SMALL and GOOD WITH OTHER PETS), you should try our Dog Breed Selector.

Have you ever wondered why dogs are so friendly and affectionate?

You may be surprised to know that scientists have wondered the same thing.  To answer the question, scientists from Princeton University and Oregon State University compared the behavior of a group of dogs with their closest relative, wolves.

The wolves in the study  were raised by humans and fully socialized.  Even so, the wolves were much more “aloof” than the dogs.  The wolves would give a friendly greeting to humans, but then mostly ignore them, while the dogs continued to interact with the people around them.

When the researchers examined the genetic structure of the dogs and the wolves, they found that the “friendly” dogs had variations on chromosomes 6 and 7.  Disruption on a gene for a protein called GIF21, which regulates the activity of other genes, was associated with the friendliest, most social dogs.

This same genetic disruption also causes “hypersocial” behavior in rats.

Perhaps the most interesting fact is that a similar genetic disruption can be found in humans with Williams-Beuren syndrome, which leads to mental disabilities, but also causes the victims to be very trusting, friendly, and affectionate.

It is very likely that early humans kept and bred the  friendliest dogs – dogs that possessed the genetic abnormality.  These dogs passed on the abnormality to their offspring, giving rise to the modern, domestic dog.

Whatever the reason, it is clear that dogs love their human families, and we love them back!

For more information, visit ScienceMag.org.

The sport of DogSpotting has been popularized worldwide through a FaceBook group where players can post pictures of dogs they’ve seen.

But students at various universities, including University of North Carolina (UNC), are creating local FaceBook groups for on-campus dogspotters. There are two advantages of local groups:

  1. Members can get to know one another offline, and
  2. When an interesting dog photo is posted, members can go directly to the location on-campus in hopes of spotting the dog and adding it to their own lists.


miniature schnauzer puppy and mirror

miniature schnauzer puppy and mirror

For most dog owners, the answer to this question is a resounding YES! Clearly, your dog thinks of himself as a distinct “being.”

But the question of self-awareness is much harder to test. After all, you can’t ask the dog.

For years, the standard test of self-awareness has been the mirror test. The animal is shown a mirror. Typically, the researcher will first put a spot of paint on the animal’s face. If the animal looks in the mirror and then attempts to remove the paint, it is clear that he recognizes “himself.”

Elephants, chimpanzees, dolphins, and even magpies have passed the mirror tests… but dogs do not. It’s possible that a mirror isn’t a valid test for dog, since dogs rely much more on scent than on sight. Or perhaps dogs just don’t care if there’s a spot of paint on their face!

Recently, researchers have begun to question both the methodology and the conclusions of the mirror test, and to find different ways to understand and discuss the question of self-awareness. But whatever the researchers find, dog lovers are likely to draw their own conclusions!

Read More

What Does Your Dog See When He Looks in a Mirror? Science of Us. May 23, 2016.

Due to problems with iOS 7 compatibility, we have decided to pull DogSpotters from the App Store. We will gladly refund your money if you send us purchase information and where to send your refund. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Our original DogSpotters application helps you to identify dog breeds, and lets you track your sightings (complete with photos and audio notes).

We heard from many users that the built-in dog identification game was fun for everyone… not just serious dog fans! So in response to your requests, we’ve made our dog ID game available as a separate app, available from the iPhone app store for just $0.99. The game can even be upgraded to the full version later, using an in-app purchase option.

The DogSpotters app was reviewed on the January 31 episode of NewsWatch, airing on the ION network.  You can watch the segment on YouTube (and if you like the video, please share it with your friends).