University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
Ernstbrunn | Website
Core Facility Wolf Science Center (CF-WSC) offers researchers the possibility of scientific study of dogs and wolves in different topics (for example: domestication, behaviour, cognition, physiology, animal keeping).
The animals of the CF-WSC are mixed-breed dogs and North American Greywolves and are held in small groups (dogs and wolves are kept separately) under comparable conditions.
The dogs and the wolves are socialized with conspecifics and humans from puppy age onwards. The early contact with conspecifics allows the animals to learn the social competences for life in the group. The early contact with humans (hand-rearing) is necessary to establish a trusting relationship between the animals and their human partners. The early socialization opens the path for the wolves to have a lower stress level in the human environment and to work in direct contact with their closest human partners during the scientific studies.
All the animals go through a comprehensive training programme and are familiarized with different testing situations, procedures and areas like the testing enclosures and testhouse. Both wolves and dogs are accustomed to wearing a collar and being on the leash are trained so saliva, urine and faecal samples can be gathered. The work with the animals is based on the principle of voluntariness and the animals are not forced to work. Desirable behaviour is rewarded with food.
Dr. Marianne Heberlein
Possible research services include methodological support with answering a scientific question, support with documentation and applications and execution of scientific research with wolves and dogs.
Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure
Diverse research questions have been researched at the Core Facility Wolf Science Center so far. Studies of cooperation behaviour with conspecifics and humans, studies about learning (how and from whom) and studies of cognitive abilities are just a few examples of the research falling into the area of “behaviour”. Further studies researched the physiological coherences and questions in the domain of veterinary medicine. Examples of this area of expertise are the research of hormonal cycles and development of gait in wolves and dogs.
Further information on the expertise can be found on the Website of the Core Facility: