Puppies’ cuteness peaks right when they need humans most, study finds

Consider one key difference between the pups of wolves and the pups of street dogs, which make up about 85 percent of all the world’s dogs. Baby wolves stay for two years with their mother and father and extended family, who teach their offspring the difficult but critical task of taking down wild prey. Feral puppies, by contrast, probably never lay eyes on dad. Their mom typically stops nursing them at around 2 months of age — and then leaves.

Lacking the hunting skills of their wolf cousins, these vulnerable and suddenly solo little ones have a couple of options for survival. They must either figure out quickly how to scavenge through trash for people’s leftovers or they must be taken in by a human who will provide food.