Dog is generally accepted a mans best friend and the most loyal and faithful pet. It was found in a study that cats became domesticated for treats.

Is that possible that loyalty of a dog is in fact its way of sticking to the source of food and anyone can take a dog from its owner by giving it food?

"Man's best friend" is a phrase referring to domestic dogs, highlighting their close relations, loyalty, and companionship with humans within many societies. Wikipedia

Loyalty: Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause. Wikipedia

Friendship: Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Wikipedia


It is observed that dog follow its owner, obey the orders and stick with the owner everywhere. This behavior of dog make people call dog a Loyal (as in loyalty between people) animal or even a man's best friend (as in friendship between people).

Does dog really show these behaviors or is it just people, who find the dog's behavior and way of sticking to the source of food, call it loyalty and friendship?

  • 2
    therefore they're loyal to their owners... you should really define loyalty for this question to be answerable.
    – nico
    Mar 18, 2015 at 12:27
  • 1
    The Daily Mail article said they learn better from "sociable" robots, which their owners talked and shook hands with (i.e. which their owners had told them are 'friends of the family').
    – ChrisW
    Mar 18, 2015 at 12:37
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    There are at least two stories I know of. The revolve around the idea the dog waited for their dead owner to return from a trip. One even has a movie of it I believe. They were supposedly quite true, so if that's not a sign of loyalty and not just hunger... Most living creatures need some form of food, hence hunger and looking for food is a strong instinct for many. I am sure if it was ONLY for food, the dogs would've simply abandoned the owner and went to get whatever food they could get.
    – Sharain
    Mar 18, 2015 at 15:14
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    The standard way I always hear this claim is "Dogs will stick with their master/pack no matter what, whilst a cat will stick to their territory (provided there is food) and cares little for food". A way such claim could be proven is having cats and dogs fed automatically by machine and then have the owners for example move to a nearby house for a couple of days and see how the cats and dogs react (as long as the food giving machine stays in the original house). I am sure there must be better ways, but the point is that it's definitely possible to research such a thing. Mar 18, 2015 at 21:41
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    What exactly is the claim here? If the claim is "you can't sway a dog from the owner with food", there's zero evidence shown that the claim is made by anyone. If it's that "dogs are loyal", it's too vague to be answerable.
    – user5341
    Mar 19, 2015 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


Robin McKie. How hunting with wolves helped humans outsmart the Neanderthals. The Guardian. March 1, 2015:

Dogs are humanity’s oldest friends, renowned for their loyalty and abilities to guard, hunt and chase.

Sir John Lubbock, 1889:

That the dog is a loyal, true, and affectionate friend must be gratefully admitted

Science Friday:

how did they [dogs] become such loyal companions?

Barbara Hannah. The Archetypal Symbolism of Animals: Lectures Given at the C. G. Jung Institute, Zurich, 1954-1958. p 18:

The dog, through domestication and his affectionate and loyal nature


Their loyal and obedient behavior ...


Dogs — they're loyal...

  • 1
    I don't know that this answers the question as to whether this loyalty can be swayed if someone else has better food. Mar 18, 2015 at 18:57
  • 4
    These sources just repeat the claim without presenting additional evidence.
    – gerrit
    Mar 18, 2015 at 18:59
  • 2
    These are not studies about the "loyalty" of dogs, I don't understand the relevance.
    – Sklivvz
    Mar 19, 2015 at 0:54
  • Welcome to Skeptics! We are looking for definitive answers based on empirical evidence. This just seems to be anecdotal evidence that people believe that they are loyal. Effectively, it is evidence that the claim is notable, but not that it is true.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 19, 2015 at 3:11
  • 1
    @user10800 Technically, they weren't human - homo neanderthalensis vs. homo sapiens, although the issue is up for debate.
    – HDE 226868
    Mar 22, 2015 at 16:21

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