Just like many of our readers, Scientific American editors love their pets and try to keep them out of our pictures. The funny things they do and how they settled into their domestic selves from their wild ancestors are things we like to learn about. Science dug up a lot about our furry friends this year.

How Dogs Learned to Chill Out and Love Humans

Scientists are trying to figure out how dogs became a constant companion to people. Dogs that are less related to their wolf ancestors have genetic changes that seem to lower their stress levels, according to researchers. The social-cognitive skills needed for human-dog bonding would have been developed by a Proto-Fido that was less cautious. That was the beginning of the process.

Big Dog, Small Dog

Dogs come in a wide range of sizes, from small to large. But scientists have been unable to pin down the genetic reasons for such a size span, until this year, when they announced a genetic variant that seems to be behind the breadth of canine sizes.

Justice for Kitties!

Cats can form strong bonds with their caretakers, just as dogs can. There are a number of signs that your feline friend is bonding with you.

Puppy Dog Eyes Are Real

It's nice to come home to a dog who is happy to see you. Humans want to cuddle and care for their dogs even more when they are with their people, according to new research.

Why Sheepdogs Herd and Pointers Point

The 350-plus dog breeds that exist today are each associated with a stereotypical behavior trait. For a new study out this year, researchers combed the deep ancestral relationships among breeds, as well as dog genomes and behavioral data, to show how certain genes are linked to specific behaviors. Certain coding regions of the genome can affect how the brain connects to one another. It is something to think about the next time your dog tries to herd you.

Dogs “Speak” Our Language

Dogs are often taught to obey verbal commands. They don't know how much human language they understand. Is it possible that they see words differently from other sounds? Dogs can differentiate Spanish from Hungarian, according to research this year. The dog is a good one.