Alister Tompkins of Feilding asks :-
Why do some species of animals like human company but others not?
Ngaio Beausoleil, a physiologist at Massey University's Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, responded.
Most wild animals avoid close contact with humans. This may be because humans possess predatory features (forward-facing eyes) or simply because they are novel. However, some animals show little fear of humans and may even voluntarily seek out human company.
Tameness is a measure of an animal’s motivation to avoid or approach humans. Tamer animals are less likely to avoid humans and are more willing to approach or solicit human attention. Just how tame an animal becomes depends on its inherent capacity to be tamed (tameability) and its experiences with humans.
Tameability is related to the activity of chemical systems in the brain. Experiments on foxes, rats and mink show that tamer individuals have higher levels of serotonin and noradrenaline in certain brain areas than do fearful individuals. Variation in these neuro-chemical systems may be the basis of species and individual differences in response to humans.
Some wild species appear to be naturally tame or have traits that predispose them to tameness. Most notably, species that evolved in isolation from predators exhibit low fear of humans. This phenomenon, called ‘island tameness’, was noted by Darwin in predator-naïve species on the Galapagos Islands and undoubtedly led to extinction of the dodo on Mauritius.
While some wild animals are moderately tameable, few become as tame as those belonging to domestic species. Tameability is passed from parent to offspring. Over thousands of years, humans have selected animals for a variety of desirable traits, including tameness. As a result, domestic animals are less afraid of humans than wild animals.
Certain domestic breeds have been selected for extreme tameness. For example, oriental cats (e.g. Siamese) are notoriously needy and some dogs are susceptible to anxiety when separated from their owners. In such cases, over-tameness can become a burden for both owner and pet.
I believe the word 'anthrophilic' or 'anthropophilic' has been used to describe animals that like human company. However, these words are most commonly used to describe parasites (mosquitos and fungi mostly) that prefer human hosts to other animals, so this may not be the most accurate term. I would say the most appropriate name for such animals would be 'tame'.