Dogs with floppy ears are often found in many different breeds, but what makes them so cute? It’s all about how their ear moves when they shake or run. There’s a study that explains why dogs have floppy ears. Researchers look to the wild for clues. Dogs were domesticated from wolves, but comparing them now and even within their breeds there is a little physical resemblance between a dog’s ear shape or size compared with how they appeared in older generations.
Over time, humans have selectively bred wolves for specific qualities. Dogs of different breeds have been bred to do all sorts of things. Some are good at herding and hunting, while others can be altered so their backs are longer or shorter depending on what function is needed for the task at hand. As a result, there were changes they never expected. “Universal malfunction in the majority of dog breeds” is how Vet Organics calls it while Charles Darwin called it “domestication syndrome.”
Adam Wilkins from the Institute of Theoretical Biology in Berlin said “The history of breeding is rich in this sort of thing, you breed selectively for one trait and often get something unexpected that is linked to it in some unanticipated way.” Humans were working with dogs to produce specific qualities such as size or shape but their stem cells had been altered too much.
The comparison between today’s domesticated dog and their wolf ancestors shows that there are many differences in physical appearance caused by the domestication syndrome. Dogs have smaller jaws, smaller brains, shorter muzzles less adrenaline, and floppy ears.
Scientists have been studying how canine embryonic development has changed, and they believe that somewhere down the line something went wrong. The stem cells stopped functioning properly for some reason they don’t know about yet. These cells were supposed to contribute towards the formation of the ear, but they never made it. The result is floppy ears that don’t stand up on their own. This trait became more prevalent as breeding continued and now, there’s no stopping it.
If this theory is true, then it’s possible that your dog’s floppy ears are a defect. In this day and age, it’s not unusual for dogs to have floppy ears. Science has labeled floppy ears as a defect that was caused by human domestication, but every dog owner knows that they’re another reason why they love their four-legged best friends.
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