The Love of Dogs – Is it In the Genes?

by Jonni

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be born dog lovers, and other people really can’t understand what all the fuss is about?

I have a theory, (which may be completely nuts, of course), that an affinity towards dogs and other animals has a genetic component.

Have you ever known a feral cat who hisses and spits before he’s old enough to open his eyes, and never feels comfortable in the company of people? I adopted one once, when I lived in Spokane. His mother was an abandoned Siamese who was found in a neighbor’s basement, and the father was probably a wild cat – there were hundreds of them in the area.

You could say quite honestly that my cat was not a “people person,” and no amount of spoiling ever turned him around.

When he grew older he could tolerate me if I was sitting down, but when I stood up he raced for the kitty door in terror, as though he had never seen me before. However, he was madly in love with my Miniature Schnauzer.

Some dogs are bred on purpose to like humans, but only a little. If a dog is running through the woods after a fox or coon, he won’t be worth much if he keeps turning around to see if his favorite human approves of him. A Border Collie would make a lousy coon dog.

Yet most dogs and cats love humans from the moment they’re born, just as some children are immediately drawn to puppies and kittens. So, if dogs and cats can be genetically inclined to love and adore humans, (or not), why couldn’t it be the same for us?

Did we end up being dog lovers because it’s in our genes, or because that’s how we were raised? Or both?