Uncovering the Common Ancestry of Seals and Dogs

are seals related to dogs

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The term “dogs of the sea” refers to seals, sea lions, and walruses that belong to the suborder Caniformia which means “dog-like”.

Canines share many characteristics with seals, from their facial structures to their fluffy coats that keep them warm.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the seal and dog relationship to answer a question that is often pondered upon. Are seals related to dogs?

Yes, seals and dogs are related, however, they are not in the same family and are in fact, not as closely related as many think.

Are Dogs And Seals Related?

If you’ve ever found yourself in the shower wondering are seals and dogs related? Then you’re not alone, I too have often wondered if this is the case.

The fact is, seals and dogs are related. They both have a similar disposition, they both bark and they have similar facial structures too.

Seals and dogs are both in the same order suborder known as Carniformia under the order Carnivora.

That said, it’s important to note that dogs and seals are not in the same family and are not even closely related.

The family that comprises seals, Pinnipedia, split off from Caniformes around 50 million years ago.

Seals and dogs had their most common ancestor around 50 million years ago, and since then things have changed quite drastically.

The Differences Between Seals And Dogs

One of the differences between these two beautiful creatures is that dogs have four legs which allow them to walk on land, whilst seals have flippers that make them perfectly adapted to life in the ocean.

When comparing seals to dogs, it’s clear that seals are semi-aquatic due to their flippers, whereas although dogs can swim they are primarily land animals.

Seals also typically weigh a lot more than dogs. The elephant seal can weigh up to a whopping 4500 pounds, whereas some of the biggest dog species only weigh around 300 pounds.

Are Seals As Smart As Dogs?

When it comes to measuring intelligence, it can be tricky as there are a lot of different variables and benchmarks to consider.

It also depends on what you are grading intelligence on. When it comes to measuring a seal’s intelligence against dogs, you may be surprised to find that seals are equally intelligent, if not more intelligent than dogs.

Recent studies of dog intelligence, when compared to marine mammals (including seals), found that grey seals were better able to follow human hand signals, even though dogs are bred to be sensitive to human communication.

One of the main reasons why dogs seem so intelligent to humans is because we share feelings and needs with them, as well as bonding with them on a deeper level.

If for example an Octopus or Crow is proven to have better problem-solving skills than a dog, some humans will still regard the dog as “more intelligent” because of their shared emotional connection.

Seals are surprisingly intelligent, and they need to be in order to survive in the wild.

They have found ways of hunting fish by using sound-emitting sensors, as well as using their brains to hide behind ice caps and wait for unsuspecting prey to reveal itself.

Leopard seals use this technique to catch penguins off guard when returning to land after being out at sea catching food.

Why Do Seals Look Like Dogs?

Whilst seals and dogs are not closely related, it’s easy to see why people may think they are based on their appearances.

Seals have very “dog-like” skulls and have very similar facial structures too. They both have jaws full of teeth and have whiskers and fur too.

Both seals and dogs are known to be curious and playful, and both animals are known for their deep mournful stares.

The reason seals and dogs look like one another despite not being closely related is that they both share the same ancestry genes.

Final Thoughts

Are seals related to dogs? Yes, if you look back millions of years you would find that these animals are related, but in today’s age, they are far from closely related.

Both seals and dogs are in the suborder known as Carniformia under the order Carnivora.

However, despite having a similar appearance and sharing many characteristics that we humans love, they are not as closely related as you may think.

Around 50 million years have passed since seals and dogs shared common ancestors, and a lot has changed since then which separates these two animals.

Mainly being that seals are marine mammals and dogs are land animals. Whilst they have many similarities, they also have their differences too.

Hopefully, you’ve learned something new today from reading this post and have enjoyed your time here.

Feel free to stick around to learn more about seals and the many other types of marine life that we discuss at MarinePatch.