The True Meaning of Puppy-Dog Eyes

English Springer spaniel dog called Twiglet poses on June 30, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. James D. Morgan / Getty

You know the look a dog can give you that will melt your heart. And if you are a dog owner, you probably have noticed how your pets crave human eye contact. Now there is scientific evidence that such a behavoir is no accident.

Tim Smith

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that dogs’ faces are structured for complex expression. There is a special pair of muscles framing their eyes. By activating those muscles, dogs can raise their inner eyebrows for “the look.” And there’s a reason this expression isn’t called “wolf’s eyes”; this is biological evidence that domesticated dogs may have evolved a specialized ability to communicate better with us.

So if you have a soft spot in your heart for dogs, you can find comfort in the knowledge that it’s all part of a plan. Or, as on “Star Trek,” resistance is futile.

For a detailed discussion of dog evolution, see “Why do Dogs Look So Sad?” by Haley Weiss ( https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/06/domestication-gave-dogs-two-new-eye-muscles/591868/? ). The pictures came from that site.

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