University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna - Research portal

Diagrammed Link to Homepage University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

Selected Publication:

Open Access Logo

Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2018

Authors: Rao, A; Range, F; Kadletz, K; Kotrschal, K; Marshall-Pescini, S

Title: Food preferences of similarly raised and kept captive dogs and wolves.

Source: PLoS One. 2018; 13(9):e0203165

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Marshall Sarah
Range Friederike
Rao Akshay

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Comparative Cognition
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology

Project(s): Understanding the proximate mechanisms of canine cooperation

Food preferences may be driven by a species' ecology. Closely related species such as dogs and wolves may have evolved preferences for different foods owing to their differing foraging styles. Wolves have been shown to be more persistent in problem-solving experiments and more risk-prone in a foraging task. A possible element affecting these (and other) results is a potential wolf-dog difference in food preferences. To address this possibility, we tested similarly raised and kept dogs and wolves in two different food choice tasks, a classic two-choice task and a multiple-choice paradigm. We predicted that if dogs have adapted to a more opportunistic, scavenging foraging style, they would show a weaker preference for meat over starch rich foods (such as kibble) and be less affected by hunger than wolves. Alternatively, given the recentness of the new niche dogs have created, we predicted no substantial differences between dogs' and wolves' food preferences. We found that our subjects did not differ in their preference for meat over kibble in either paradigm. However, wolves' (but not dogs') choice patterns were affected by satiation, with wolves being less "selective" when hungry. Furthermore, when fed before testing, wolves were more selective than dogs. These differences were more noticeable in the multiple-choice paradigm than the two-choice task, suggesting that the former, novel paradigm may be more sensitive and better capable of evaluating food preferences in a diverse range of species. Overall, we found that the distinct differences in wolves' and dogs' ecology and foraging styles do not appear to have affected their food preferences and thus, differences in food preferences are unlikely to have influenced results of previous experiments demonstrating wolf-dog differences in cognitive skills.

Keywords Pubmed: Animal Feed
Behavior, Animalphysiology
Dietary Carbohydrates
Food Preferencesphysiology
Species Specificity

© University of Veterinary Medicine ViennaHelp and DownloadsAccessibility statement