More specifically, dog eyes do and wolf eyes don’t. Let me explain.
Collaborators in the UK and US examined in detail the facial muscles, especially the muscles around the eyes, of dogs and wolves (1).
It turns out that there are two prominent muscles that move the dog’s eyelids that many wolves don’t have, or if they do, they are vestigial – smaller and weaker. The first one, called the levator anguli oculi medialis or LAOM for short (why do we still use Latin names for muscles?) lifts the medial (the part of the eyebrows nearest the nose) part of the dog’s eyebrow up. Epic is using those muscles in the image above.
Oxytocin. Most of us think of it as the hormone that helps bitches whelp and produce milk. And yes, it’s that, but so much more. A series of recent studies have revealed how oxytocin has a major effect on the brains of both people and dogs to strengthen the human-canine bond – that indescribable interspecies attachment that might just explain why you’re reading this.
CHRIS ZINK DVM PhD DACVP DACVSMR CCRT CVSMT CVA is one of the world’s top canine sports medicine and rehabilitation veterinarians.