November 01, 2022
Why are Dogs so Loyal? | Dog Edition #70

Let’s face it: dogs are the best, and humans are … not. Why are these glorious beasts so darn loyal to us? Science has answers to this age-old mystery!

Most of us think dogs are loyal to us humans because we provide them with creature comforts: food, shelter, belly rubs. But that’s not the full story.

Loyalty is deeply ingrained into canine DNA. Close bonds with humans were a crucial part of their evolution from wolves, and it’s one of the most prevalent features of dogs today.

In this episode, guests Dr. James Serpell, Professor Anne Burrows, and Amanda Matoske shed light on the science behind dog loyalty.

Spoiler alert: when a human gazes into a dog’s eyes, and the dog gazes back, both species release the same hormone: oxytocin. That’s the “cuddle hormone” or “love hormone” that forms deep bonds!

James and Clare also share stories of two of history’s most loyal dogs, Fido and Hachiko.

About James Serpell

James Serpell is professor Emeritus of Ethics and Animal Welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He does research in anthrozoology and specializes in the behavior and welfare of companion animals.

About Anne Burrows

Anne Burrows is a biological anthropologist and professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She is an expert on the unique relationship between humans and dogs and regularly teaches a course on this subject.

About Amanda Matoske

Amanda Matsoke is a professional dog trainer whose work carries on the legacy of the late, great Kevin Behan, world-renowned dog trainer and best-selling author.

Other Show Links:

About Dog Podcast Network (DPN)

DPN is the first of its kind. A podcasting network as devoted to dogs, as they are to us. Our mission is simple: entertain, inspire and inform. We will improve the quality of life for dogs and the people who love them.

Check out Dog Podcast Network for other dog-adjacent shows:

The Long Leash where we rescue tasty scraps from the editing room floor in an unscripted interview show

Dog Cancer Answers which offers vetted advice from real veterinarians who answer your questions about dog cancer

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit