A letter from a friend:
A comment I found online :
Well, wolves demonstrate self-sacrificing behaviour in the wild, for the sake of the pack. Chimpanzees don’t. Canine morality has been very influential on human societal development (the term ‘cynic’ means ‘dog-like’, and the Cynics were very influential on Christianity). We consider many canine behaviours to be admirable traits – loyalty and self-sacrifice being two of the big ones. So there’s some who argue that we learned to value social skills that we copied from the pack behaviour of domesticated dogs because these skills helped us get along with each other in larger groups. Primates don’t behave altruistically, and there’s no evidence to suggest that we developed a special gene for it in our very recent development. The canine influence is probably the simplest explanation.
http://www.uwsp.edu/psych/s/275/Science/Coevolution03.pdf is a nice little paper discussing the possible co-evolution of humans and canines.
I’m not sure how true this “primates don’t behave altruistically” business is, but still interesting.
I can add from myself that the first name of one the authors of the paper is Wolfgang: a nice case of nominative determinism.