‘Puppy dog eyes’ evolved so dogs could communicate with us
Centuries of domestication have unintentionally yet radically reshaped dogs' eyebrow anatomy, making their faces easily readable to people.
There’s a reason we call them “puppy dog eyes”—those soulful, innocent expressions can sway even the most hardened human.
That’s no accident, a new study says. Centuries of domestication have radically reshaped a dog’s eyebrow anatomy, making their faces—and emotions—easily readable to people.
When meeting a person’s gaze, dogs often raise their inner eyebrow muscle to make their eyes look larger and more appealing. (See dog-evolution pictures.)
“There’s no evidence that dogs move this [eyebrow] muscle intentionally, but it creates an exaggerated movement that for us means ‘dog,’” says study leader Juliane Kaminski, a psychologist at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K.
Eyebrow movement plays a major role in human communication, Kaminiski says: “I’m doing it now when I’m