Dogs are truly man's best friend according to a team of scientists from Japan.
Researchers from Kyoto University based their conclusions on a small study which showed that dogs were less likely to accept food from a person who had snubbed their owner -- essentially proving that they adopt your enemies as their own.
The team lead by Kazuo Fujita a professor of comparative cognition, divided 18 dogs into three groups with the third acting as the control.
In each group the owners were accompanied by two strangers, one who actively interacted with the owner and the other who remained neutral.
In the first group the dogs watched as their owner was refused help by one of the two strangers and in the second cohort, the animals observed their owners receiving help.
Following the experiment Kazuo and team noted that the dogs were more likely to refuse food from people who had rebuffed their owners' plea for help and accept it from the neutral observer in the room.
Explaining the significance of his findings, Fujiita said:
"We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest.
"...This ability is one of key factors in building a highly collaborative society, and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans."
The paper which is due to be published in Animal Behaviour notes this trait is also present in children above the age of three.