Jesse Bering in Scientific American:
I’ve never seen anything quite like the canines of Sofia, Bulgaria, from where I’ve just returned after a week of teaching at a cognitive science summer school and from listening to a surfeit of long-forgotten, uplifting '80s pop music, which the weary and unshaven Bulgarian taxi drivers seem to adore to no end. Some recent work by University of Florida psychologist Monique Udell and her colleagues suggests that it’s not just my imagination that stray dogs are special—rather, strays in general may be vastly more different from our pet dogs than we assumed, particularly in their social cognitive functioning.
Now, the stray dog situation in Sofia is notoriously problematic. You know you’ve got a problem when a pack of strays breaks into the deer exhibit at your local zoo and “ruthlessly dismembers” almost the entire collection, as happened earlier this year. And given the general sentiment that an organized roundup and euthanasia is out of the question for moral reasons it’s also a very prickly issue among the people living there. (Stray cats are a problem too, but they appear to be kept in check by a lot of very hungry dogs.)