I had the pleasure of interviewing Brenda Landis about her dogs.I wanted to know if today’s domesticated dogs act socially like their ancestors, wolves. She currently is the owner of two English Bulldogs. Her family has been rescuing bulldogs for years, so she has a good bit of experience with dogs. The two current English Bulldogs she owns are Pearl and Hellen. They rescued Hellen when Hellen was about four to five years old. Since Hellen is a rescue it is hard to say exactly how old she is. They purchased Pearl when she was four months old, and she is now nine years old. Pearl was described as a judgemental, needy, and impatient dog. She can be excitable and doesn’t seem to like the mailman. Brenda Landis thought that Pearl might be the only dog for a while, as Pearl barks at the dogs on the other side of the neighbors fence. When they got Hellen they met and soon got along. Hellen was described as chill, thoughtful, caring and timid. The two have quite different personalities, but their interactions lead to some interesting conclusions.
Pearl and Hellen spend a good amount of their days sleeping, but the bits of the day when they move about reveal a social hierarchy. Previous to Hellen’s arrival to the Landis household Pearl would rarely pee on her walks. With Hellen’s arrival that changed. When on walks Hellen would mark different areas, afterward Pearl would mark in the same spot. Pearl changed her bathroom schedule to make sure that it was her scent that was dominant within her territory. She changed in order to show that she was the leader in her household and maintain a chain of command within what one could call a pack. With the arrival of Hellen there also came the occasional scrap over food. Pearl, previously to Hellen, was known to become impatient and aggravated when food was not given to her on time. It does not seem unusual that this would seem a selfish move by Pearl, but it also resembles conflict within a wolf pack. Within a wolf pack, as coined by David Mech, there is an Alpha that determines themselves through dominant plays.
Pearl with the addition of Hellen took on the role of the Alpha within her small pack of the Landis household. Pearl’s personality traits set her up to be a dominant force within the pack. Hellen on the other hand portrays a follower and less dominant character within this small pack. Based on Pearl’s changes and Hellens act’s as a follower it can be assumed that they are following their primal wolf instincts to act as a pack. They are continuing to carry behavioral traits seen in their undomesticated counterparts. Although they are not as extreme and in smaller numbers, this group, that’s physique is so far from wolf, still holds a social hierarchy much like wolves.