Lescureux, N., & Linnell, J. D. (2014). Warring brothers: The complex interactions between wolves (Canis lupus) and dogs (Canis familiaris) in a conservation context. Biological Conservation, 171, 232-245.
Although both wolves and dogs have been the subjects of numerous studies in many disciplines, the complex relationships between them have not yet been synthesized within a common review, and neither has it been placed in a holistic conservation context. Information and data are spread across numerous publications from different disciplines that rarely interact. Dogs have become the most common carnivore and their population is still increasing. In a context of wolf recovery in multi-use landscapes, there is a growing concern among conservationists for the potential negative impact of dogs on wolf conservation. With this paper we aim to review the numerous and complex interactions existing between wolves and dogs, using literature from disciplines as diverse as history, archeology, anthropology, genetics, ecology, and epidemiology in order to better understand the wolf–dog relationship and its potential impact on wolf conservation. Starting with their phylogenetic relationship and following a summary of the current knowledge on the dog’s ancestry we explore how dogs can represent a direct threat for wolves through hybridization, disease transfer and competition. The review highlights a number of ways in which dogs can impact wolf conservation, although a general lack of data and conclusive studies is a common theme that emerges for many topics. Then we analyse how dogs can mitigate human–wolf conflicts through their role as livestock guardians or wolf hunters. Finally we describe the complex phenomenon of wolf predation on dogs before discussing the wolf–dog relationships in general, with a special focus on including a more anthropological perspective. The review highlights the diversity of interactions between wolves and dogs, that can be both negative and positive for wolf conservation. However, more important than these direct impacts, the review highlights how the wolf–dog relationship challenges human attempts to construct simple dichotomies between wild and domestic, or between nature and culture. The borders between these concepts are in fact much more fluid and elusive than is often appreciated, and wolf conservation must adapt to this more complex reality.
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