Are Goats as Affectionate as Dogs?

Posted by Stacey Venzel

If you're allergic to dogs but want a pet as loving as a canine, a goat could be your new best friend.

Over 10,000 years ago, humans began domesticating goats--around the same time dogs started showing up in people's households. While dogs were the first domesticated animals, goats were the first livestock to undergo domestication, with horses following some five millennia later.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London are on a mission to prove that caprines are as lovable as canines, and they're well on their way to offering sufficient evidence.

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A recent experiment showed that goats stare at their owners when having difficulty completing a task, imploring the human for assistance. Dogs, but not wolves, do the same thing. The "help me" stare is believed to be linked to domestication.

Additionally, goats can manipulate levers to open boxes, a test used to calibrate animal intelligence. Combined with their gazing capabilities, these studies suggest goats are capable of complex communication with humans.

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Goats are often compared to sheep, who appear to have a much lower IQ. Now, research is saying goats are not only smarter than their woolly cousins, but that they are loving and communicative, too.

The British scientists hope their work will improve the well-being of goats around the globe. Though goats might not ever replace dogs for the title of "man's best friend," they're certainly worthy of being in the running.

Is your goat pretty much like a dog? Tell us in the comments below. 

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Are Goats as Affectionate as Dogs?