Myth: Dogs, like wolves, are pack animals.
Truth: Dogs are social animals, and as such, crave companionship, but they’re not pack animals.
Studies analyzing feral domestic dogs, such as the Pariahs found in Southern Asia, found that these dogs live and travel in very transient social groups. These groups are more linked to resources in a specific area than true pack structure. Since, unlike wolves, they aren’t hunters of large prey, pack life doesn’t make sense. Dogs don’t help other dogs with raising their young, more often than not posing more of a threat to the puppies than offering any sort of protection. In a wolf pack, all the adult members help out with rearing the pups, and large prey is brought down through collaboration.
While dogs aren’t pack animals, they are social animals, which means that they seek interaction. Some dogs don’t necessarily get along with members of their own species, though, so be careful when introducing your dog to others!
As far as the human-dog relationship is concerned, dogs see us as parents, not pack members. We provide food, water, companionship and control almost all of the dog’s resources and daily routine, sounds an awful lot like a parent to me! The evolution and development of this relationship is a fascinating, albeit complex topic, for information on how the dog went from being a wild animal to our cuddly, floppy-eared best friend, please check out our article on paedomorphism.