Origions Of The Dog

The Resource for Everything About Dogs


Origions Of The Dog

by Kelly Marshall



The origins of the dog go back many thousands of years. There are archeological sites in many areas of the world that have lead to the discovery of dog bones scattered among human remains. This does enhance the theory that dogs lived with man since the time of organized tribes or basic habitations by humans.

Dogs are, of course, very similar in appearance to wolves, coyotes and jackals. Some dog breeds are more closely aligned with foxes, although the basic temperament of the domestic dog is not like the fox, but is certainly like the pack instincts of wolves, jackals and coyotes. Exactly how wolves, jackals or coyotes were first domesticated is simply not known although historians and anthropologists propose that man simply noted the hunting ability of the wild wolves and coyotes and brought pups home to be raised in their presence. Undoubtedly the protective and pack nature of the wolves would have made them invaluable as both hunters and guardians of the rudimentary living areas and villages in historical times.

There are many areas where wild dogs still can be found including Africa and other areas. It is highly likely that the historical ancestors of the modern dogs are very similar in appearance and behavior to these wild dogs.

Breed differences

From the Monolithic age man?s relationship with the domesticated wolf or jackal has continued to develop. Again it is surmised that through the ages, and with the progression of human development, the requirements of the humans for various types of dogs changed. For example, in Roman times dogs were more likely to have been used to haul carts or to hunt game, but were not lap dogs or companion dogs like we now have. As these functions were taken over by machines and inventions the dog?s role as a worker gradually faded and the role as the companion and working dog evolved.

Most breeds have only been developed formally in the last two centuries and some more recently than that. Prior to the development of breed standards there was little consideration to lineage or breed identity, rather dogs were bred for functionality. Working, hunting and protection were the goals and dogs that didn?t perform were left to run wild or were destroyed. Selective breeding began when individuals began to note the natural tendencies of the various types of dogs. Terriers evolved for their ability to hunt vermin through the cities and countryside in the United Kingdom. Hounds were developed by sportsmen and nobles and used in the tracking of various types of game. Larger breeds were developed to protect and guard herds, houses and farmlands. Some of the giant breeds continued to be used as draft animals and for protection.

Within these guidelines more specific variations began to emerge. Some breeds were developed on their abilities such as the cattle dogs, hunting dogs and sporting breeds. Others were developed on their size, coat color or even coat type.

While it is hard to imagine the Toy Poodle descended from the same ancestor as the Great Dane there is strong evidence to support this theory. Breeds continue to change as humans selectively breed dogs to perfect the standard. Though there may be debate as to the exact origins of the species it is evident that dogs will continue to play an important role in the lives of people around the world, both as working animals and as loved companions.

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