Can anyone tell me why the vocal behavior of canids has been so little
studied, while marine mammals, birds and insects get so much attention?
Other than some preliminary looks at howling and barking, none of the
domestic dog (Canis familiaris), New Guinea singing dog (C.
hallstromi)/dingo or wild canid vocalizations have been studied. As a
behaviorist living with singing dogs, I can state with certainty they have
context-specific whines, yodels, etc., that are expressed by all specimens
regardless of their rearing or experience. This is not true for
C. familiaris, and who knows about wolves, foxes, etc.
I understand that funding is probably easier to get for marine mammals than
most subjects, but insects? birds? They are easier to house in captivity
than canids, but the field work would surely be as arduous as that for
canids. Am I missing something that makes canids poor subjects?
Janice Koler-Matznick, MS, CPDT
The Dog Advisor Behavior Service
The New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society
The Primitive and Aboriginal Dog Society
IUCN Canid Specialist Group member
5265 Old Stage Road
Central Point, OR 97502 USA