Dogs are empathetic towards one another

Emotions are contagious. If a friend smiles, so do you. If a co-worker is going through a tough time, your demeanor may soften. Indeed, in some ways, we mimic the moods of others to show empathy. A new study suggests that humans aren’t the only ones who do that; so, too, do our canine friends. 

Researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy believe dogs experience emotional contagion and rapid mimicry with one another. Their results were published on Dec. 23 in the Royal Society Open Science.

Interactions between 23 male dogs and 26 female dogs, ranging in age from three months to six years, were videotaped and later analyzed, reported Phys.Org. The researchers noted that the dogs engaged in two types of mimicry and, if they knew each other, mimicked each other more often. Additionally, 76% of the dogs videotaped took part in some degree of mimicking and those that did played together longer.

The researchers concluded that dogs feel a basic form of empathy for one another.

Photo credit: © iStock/jean frooms

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