History of the dog - Origin

Narrated from: Dog History

Today there are more than 400 dog breeds. Most of them look nothing alike – it is hard to believe that a Saint Bernard and a Chihuahua are members of the same species!

Yet, all dogs have common ancestry – different kinds of dogs can still be crossbred and have offspring (though it would be hard to crossbreed a grown Saint Bernard and a Chihuahua!).

There have been speculations that there are too many dog breeds and they couldn’t all be descendants of the wolf! Fortunately, this is where genetic analysis comes in handy – and blood does not lie. All dogs have a genetic connection with the Asian grey wolf – yes, the grey wolf is your Poodle’s forefather!

How did so many different breeds of dogs evolve from a single species? Well, the answer is simple – dogs may have been wolves once; but that was a very, very long time ago!

The early history of humanity is quite vague. You’ve probably noticed that ancient history began only several millennia ago; yet, dog history precedes the first chapters of many history books. Dogs have been around for a long time – an amazingly long time. 10,000 years ago, dogs were already present in cave drawings, and in Israel a grave was discovered in which a boy was still hugging his puppy. Ancient dog remains have been found all over the world.

Most scientists believe that the process of domesticating the first wolves began about 14,000 years ago – although some argue that wolves and humans may have bonded even earlier, assuming that domestication must have begun 40,000 years ago!

There is no clear conception of “how the hell did we tame the wolf?” The favored theory is that ancient humans started to adopt abandoned wolf cubs, and in time those of the cubs that would not cooperate with humans would be killed.

According to other theories though, domestication was more of a wolfish initiative – the ancient wolves changed their habits and stepped on an altogether different evolutionary path by following human tribes.

It doesn’t really matter how it happened though; the important fact is that humans and wolves made an alliance. Thousands of years ago wolves already had complex pack structures and could accept the idea of authority – that is what made them the ideal companions for the first men.

And so, in time the bond held and dogs appeared. They hunted with our forefathers and protected them. They pulled the sleds of the first men that ever set foot in North America. Wolves changed – but they changed people as well.

Don’t know what would have happened if humans hadn’t domesticated the first dog – but today many people would be very, very lonely.

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