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Domestication implies that animals adapt to live under conditions provided by man. According to archaeological and genetical evidences thedomestic dog (Canis familiaris) was the first species to be domesticated and is of East Asian origin. To study the impact of domestication; East Asian (EA), presumably more primitive, and West European (WE), presumably more domesticated, breeds were compared. Behavioural comparisons were made with the Dog Mentality Assessment (DMA), where n=43 EA (n=5 breeds), and n=21093 WE (n=9 breeds) were exposed to n=10 sub tests; Social contacts, Play 1, Chase, Activity, Distance play, Surprise, Metallic noise, Ghosts, Play 2 and Gun shot. In addition, seven morphology measurements were obtained from n=17 EA; n=5 breeds, and n=36 WE; n=9 breeds; relative length of nose, length of front leg, height between wither and hip and angels of carpus, prosternum, cubitus, genu, tarsus and ischium. The behavioural analyses showed differences in several DMA-variables between the groups and factor analyses revealed two behavioural dimensions in common; “Play” and “Chase”. The WE played significantly (p<0.05) more than the EA but showed no significant differences in “Chase”. When each group was analysed separately, the factor structures differed between groups. Also a wolf pack was tested in a modified DMA and showed slightly different responses compared to the dogs. Cluster analysis of the morphological variables showed a conformity within the WE and a variance within the EA. The results suggest that domestication has lead to more playful, dependent and morphologically similar breeds, decreasing the importance of breed specific traits.

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Last updated: 05/01/08