Saturday, April 6, 2013

Belyaev fox farm experiment

The weirdest thing about dogs is that so many of their multitudinous traits come in pre-packaged bundles. For instance, if you select for herding behaviors, you get a dog that looks shepherd-like.

Select instead for olfactory, and you get a dog that looks like a scent hound.

The Legendary Fox Farm Experiment
Some biologists in Russia decided to do an experiment with silver foxes.

Foxes are by nature aggressive. Biologists began to breed only the least aggressive animals.

In about twenty generations they ended up with a friendly, docile population of foxes that were piebald (spotted), some with floppy ears, curly tails and shorter legs.

This doesn't mean foxes are the ancestors of some dogs.  All modern dogs come from an extinct wolf.  It means that in the canine family, tameness is related to many morphological traits.  Choose one, and the others come along for the ride.

Click here to read more about the fox farm experiment.


  1. They are beautiful, but not for farming, such a shame. I notice I gravitate towards working breeds, love their personality and intelligence, as well as their loyalty.


  2. Don't like animal farms just for the expoitation of their fur, such a cruel trade, and their lives are pitiful mostly!!!! I love foxes and wolves, love their wild nature, their intelligence, they are servants to no-one, they have their place in nature, but they are much maligned by ignorance!!!!