Humanity’s best friend: A dog-centric approach to addressing global challenges

Naomi Sykes, Piers Beirne, Alexandra Horowitz, Ione Jones, Linda Kalof, Elinor Karlsson, Tammie King, Howard Litwak, Robbie A. McDonald, Luke John Murphy, Neil Pemberton, Daniel Promislow, Andrew Rowan, Peter W. Stahl, Jamshid Tehrani, Eric Tourigny, Clive D.L. Wynne, Eric Strauss, Greger Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


No other animal has a closer mutualistic relationship with humans than the dog (Canis familiaris). Domesticated from the Eurasian grey wolf (Canis lupus), dogs have evolved alongside humans over millennia in a relationship that has transformed dogs and the environments in which humans and dogs have co-inhabited. The story of the dog is the story of recent humanity, in all its biological and cultural complexity. By exploring human-dog-environment interactions throughout time and space, it is possible not only to understand vital elements of global history, but also to critically assess our present-day relationship with the natural world, and to begin to mitigate future global challenges. In this paper, co-authored by researchers from across the natural and social sciences, arts and humanities, we argue that a dog-centric approach provides a new model for future academic enquiry and engagement with both the public and the global environmental agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Article number502
Issue number3
Early online date17 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Dog domestication
  • Strategic development goals
  • Sustainable development


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