This is how (and why) those sweet puppy eyes evolved

Dogs have a natural skill to sweep their owners off their feet with those sweet, innocent puppy eyes. But in fact, these adorable expressions that instantly result in dog owners spoiling their four-legged friends are only possible due to the complex evolution of man's best friend.


Cute eyes made it easier for dogs an humans to form bonds (Photo: / Moshe Harosh)

Wolves don't really have that adorable look that most domesticated dogs use to get some attention or some tasty treats, and this is not without a reason. In fact, wolves does not share the anatomical features that makes it possible for dogs to look with those pleading puppy eyes. But how's that so?

Well, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA argues that dogs went through some anatomical changes to their faces as there was clearly a feature that made the ancestors of today's dogs more successful than those dogs that did not have this feature.

And this feature was the tiny muscles around the eyes that made it possible for the dogs to have that almost human-like look on their faces that usually makes us want to pet them or take care of them instantly.

It was already quite well-known that the childlike expression on the dogs' faces is something that dogs benefit from, nor is it a new revelation that humans tend to have nurturing feelings when seeing dogs that look at them with puppy eyes.

But the study concludes that these puppy eyes helped dogs in bonding with humans, and there was even an anatomical change that happened to the dogs that made them able to master the appealing expressions on their faces.

A. D.

July 2019