According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, about 500 million dogs live in the world. Approximately 75% of them are stray – gathering together, they often attack people and animals, spreading rabies and other diseases. Inside each pack there is its own order, where the leader manages the lower-level dogs, and they, in turn, have power over puppies and sick individuals. Researchers from the University of Exeter decided to find out which stray dogs are the most aggressive – it turned out that the leaders are not as evil as one could imagine.
As part of the study, biologists for seven months watched a flock of 27 stray dogs who walked around the outskirts of Rome. Scientists have paid special attention to the three manifestations of each individual. First, they paid attention to an aggressive growl and barking. Secondly, they followed which individuals were subordinate and often lowered their heads and pressed their tails. Third, researchers were interested in individuals who manage to maintain a high status without showing aggression, but simply with a straight pose and head held high.
How are flocks of stray dogs organized?
After analyzing the collected data, scientists have made interesting conclusions. It turned out that the highest status in the pack is occupied by adult dogs, and for this they do not even need to show anger. Puppies that are at the bottom of the hierarchy were just as calm. On the other hand, young dogs of middle age especially stood out in the whole pack – since among them there is a big competition for leadership in their team, they have to be as angry as possible. Thus, the most dangerous dogs in the pack are young individuals – they are able to attack not only each other, but also people.
Where do stray dogs live?
As a rule, in the daytime stray dogs hide in deserted and protected places: wide sewer pipes, warehouses and fenced areas with dense vegetation. In the morning and in the evening they go out to crowded places, hoping to find food. According to the DogsBite portal, from 2005 to 2017, stray dogs killed 433 people, that is, in a year they commit about 30 deadly attacks.
Danger of stray dogs
The aggressiveness of stray dogs can flare up in the presence of females and the appearance of food – the rivalry among young dogs almost never disappears. Subsequently, the strongest of them has every chance to become the leader of the pack, and ensure its survival by finding a suitable habitat, proper distribution of food and protection from enemies.
According to Professor Robbie McDonald, survival in the wild takes a lot of strength from dogs, so the distribution of responsibilities in packs plays a very important role. Such an organization testifies to the developed intelligence of dogs, but in science there is evidence that they are also quite stupid.