Watch Out, Dogs: Goats Might Be Out to Steal Your Best Friend

The line between farm animal and companion might be blurrier than we thought.

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We already know how great dogs are. They make us happy after a long day at work, keep us in shape, and take care of us just as much as we take care of them. But one of your favorite farm animals is giving man's best friend a run for his money.

Contrary to popular opinion, goats are much more than an animal garbage disposal. Ever since they were first domesticated more than 11,000 years ago, the funny furry animals have been kept on farms to provide milk, cheese, and keep grass trimmed. But the domesticated "non-companion" animals (as opposed to domesticated companion animals like dogs) are capable of much more than people might assume.

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In a small observational study that aimed to look at how non-companion animals communicate with humans, researchers found that the 32 goats — both male and female — communicated with humans in ways that were very similar to dogs.

You know how dogs will give you "the look" when they're out of food? The one with the big eyes? Eyes so big you think they might pop out of their heads if you don't feed them right this second? The goats in the study did the same thing — in this instance with a tipped-over container. When they couldn't flip it over to get the treat hiding under it themselves, the goats eyed the researcher as if to say they needed a little help from someone with fingers. When the researcher was facing the goat, the goat would look at the researcher longer and with more "gaze alternations" than when the researcher was looking away.

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"Goats gaze at humans in the same way dogs do when asking for a treat that's out of reach," Christian Nawroth, one of the study authors, said in a statement. "Our results provide strong evidence for complex communication directed at humans in a species that was domesticated primarily for agricultural production, and show similarities with animals bred to become pets or working animals, such as dogs and horses."

Obviously this study has many limitations — it's tiny and is based on researchers' observations rather than hard data — but it does show that puppy eyes are definitely a thing, and dogs aren't the only animals who have it down. In fact, goats aren't even the only farm animals that people love having as pets. For instance...

This little piggy knows how to sit.

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Pigs are basically giant dogs, even at more than 500 pounds.

I'm going to bed now.

A video posted by Esther The Wonder Pig (@estherthewonderpig) on

Cuddle buddies for life! #throwbackthursday

A photo posted by Esther The Wonder Pig (@estherthewonderpig) on

This baby cow loves to play with his ball... and give slobbery kisses.

This little girl is a true teddy bear.

Hope is growing up! #highlandcoo #fuzzycow #summerouthere #instagram @instagram

A photo posted by Happy Hens & Highlands Farm (@happyhensandhighlands) on

Believe it or not, chickens really like to cuddle.

All this lamb wants to do is play.

Ready to give your dog a fun playmate?

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