Animal Cognition

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 833–837

Do dogs (Canis familiaris) show contagious yawning?

  • Aimee L. Harr
  • Valerie R. Gilbert
  • Kimberley A. Phillips
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s10071-009-0233-0

Cite this article as:
Harr, A.L., Gilbert, V.R. & Phillips, K.A. Anim Cogn (2009) 12: 833. doi:10.1007/s10071-009-0233-0

Abstract

We report an experimental investigation into whether domesticated dogs display contagious yawning. Fifteen dogs were shown video clips of (1) humans and (2) dogs displaying yawns and open-mouth expressions (not yawns) to investigate whether dogs showed contagious yawning to either of these social stimuli. Only one dog performed significantly more yawns during or shortly after viewing yawning videos than to the open-mouth videos, and most of these yawns occurred to the human videos. No dogs showed significantly more yawning to the open-mouth videos (human or dog). The percentage of dogs showing contagious yawning was less than chimpanzees and humans showing this behavior, and considerably less than a recently published report investigating this behavior in dogs (Joly-Mascheroni et al. in Biol Lett 4:446–448, 2008).

Keywords

DogsContagious yawningSocial contagionEmpathy

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aimee L. Harr
    • 1
  • Valerie R. Gilbert
    • 1
  • Kimberley A. Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHiram CollegeHiramUSA