The saying “puppy dog eyes” may need to be updated to include goats, according to new research claiming that the two animals are more similar than we first thought.
A study by Queen Mary University of London published on Tuesday in the science journal Biology Letters reveals that goats, in many ways, behave in a way we’d associate with pets. Over 30 goats were put in separate test pens, while a transparent plastic box sat in the middle of the room. Food was placed on top of the box, and the goats had to move or overturn it to get to the treat.
Results found that when the box was impossible to move, goats gazed at the human in the room — much like domestic dogs do when they want something. The study contradicts the long-held belief that dogs were trained to be communicative in their behaviour for the purposes of domesticity. Goats, which are bred mainly for production, shouldn’t exhibit these tendencies. Anthropologist Barbara J. King told the Los Angeles Times: “I do firmly believe that an array of birds and mammals feel their lives deeply.”