Coexistence of Diversified Dog Socialities and Territorialities in the City of Concepción, Chile


  • Capellà Miternique Hugo
  • Gaunet Florence


  • Stray dog
  • Pet dog
  • City
  • Sociality
  • Territoriality
  • Adaptation
  • Behavior
  • Cognition
  • Social
  • Spatial
  • Geography

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There has been scant research on the presence of stray dogs in cities. Studying their very considerable presence in Concepción (Chile) provided a unique opportunity to learn more about the different patterns of sociality and territoriality exhibited by the dog species. Via a set of case studies, we examined the behavior of urban dogs, adopting an ethnographic methodology. This yielded findings of the dogs’ cognitive, social and spatial adjustment abilities, i.e., their territorialities. Our hypothesis was validated: We found numerous types of sociability, we confirmed the presence of two previously established categories: family dogs (pets, guard dogs and beggars’ dogs) and stray dogs (dogs almost entirely unused to humans, aggressive dogs at the far end of the campus and feral dogs in the woods). We also identified three new ones: familiar stray dogs in packs (dogs both spatially and socially close to humans), pet-stray dogs (i.e., village dogs interacting closely with people) and free-roaming pet dogs. We conclude that an ongoing two-way bond between humans and animals allowed these dogs to became part of a city’s urban identity and explains the stray dogs’ plasticity in terms of adapting to the diversified urban habitat. We postulate that it was the human culture and range of urban areas in Concepción that gave rise to this unique diversity of sociospatial positioning and level of adjustment (e.g., dogs crossing crosswalks).

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