The Evolutionary Explanation for that Puppy Dog Look You Can’t Resist

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Why do humans love dogs so much???

Part of it is that face that dogs make — you know the one. The one that you can’t resist, when their eyebrows are slightly frowny, quizzical and endearing.

Scientists have a super fun name for that face: “AU101: inner eyebrow raise.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay


Evolutionary psychologists and anatomists say that dogs make this face much more often and more intensely than wolves do. They published their recent findings in a report at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, New York Times reports.

Dogs apparently achieve this expression by moving a muscle called the levator anguli oculi medialis. Wolves don’t even have this muscle, and while they can achieve the same look by using other muscles, researchers found that they do so much more rarely than dogs do.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The researchers hypothesize that humans favored eyebrow-raising dogs during the domestication process. Previous evidence shows that dogs who use “AU101: inner eyebrow raise” more often are more likely to get adopted from shelters. Also, Siberian Huskies — closer to their wolf ancestors — do not have the levator anguli oculi medialis.

More research remains to be done on this subject, however. Scientists plan to look at whether a dog’s upbringing has any effect on this eyebrow-raising behavior. They also plan to look at more breeds to see if the behavior and musculature varies among them.

Either way, now you know the technical term for the look that your dog gives you to trick you into giving him more treats!