What makes them so remarkable is that somehow, working from the basic wolf genes and instincts, dogs have been able to reinvent themselves in strikingly different ways to perform many diverse tasks, and to do them all exceptionally well. With dogs, we are better hunters and herders, soldiers and doctors, searchers and saviors. What makes them so remarkable is how nature and a little selective breeding has resulted in such an astonishing diversity of useful behavior.
We are just beginning to understand the roles genetics and environment play in shaping the behavior of dogs. It's probably fair to say that dogs are capable of far more than we appreciate, and that their usefulness is limited only our imagination.
You can learn more about the genetics of behavior in dogs in ICB's online course, Genetics of Behavior & Performance. The next class starts Tuesday, 5 July 2016.