London, May 4: Female dogs are significantly better than males at managing social interactions with humans, including making eye contact and seeking physical connection, scientists say.
Researchers studied more than 430 pedigree beagles to investigate how canine evolution has been changed by domestication.
"Females scored significantly higher on social interactions and physical contact," said the researchers, led by Per Jensen, professor of ethology at Linkoping University in Sweden.
In the study, the dogs were offered biscuits by a researcher who could give them more if they performed a tricky task, 'The Sunday Times' reported.
Jensen and his colleagues recorded how, as the dogs struggled with the task, some tried to make eye contact with the researcher or approached them seeking physical reassurance, while others gave up, lost interest or became too nervous.
Female dogs were far more willing to communicate with the researcher than male dogs. The results also showed that closely related dogs were more likely to behave in similar ways.
"We have [found] evidence of a significant genetic basis for the abilities of dogs to seek human attention during a problem-solving situation," the researchers said.