History of Dogs: This article provides interesting facts and information about the evolution and history of dogs. The dog is genetically very similar to the Gray Wolf (Canus Lupus) and experts agree that this animal is the closest ancestor of the dog. However, based on genetic evidence the dog shares relationships with other canids. The animal that has the least similarities in their shared DNA is the Fox, then the Ethiopian Wolf, then the Golden Jackal and then the Coyote. The Gray Wolf has the most similarities. The history of dogs date back at least 30,000 years, to prehistoric times. The evolution process from a wild Gray Wolf to a domesticated dog needed the intervention of people. The Wolf Cub is very puppy-like at an early age and it is probable that puppies were taken in and tamed by members of ancient tribes. Instead of bonding with other wolves the pups bonded with people and so the evolution and history of dogs began...
History of Dogs - A member of the new 'pack': Adopted wolf cubs adapted to their new 'packs' and would have provided advantages to the tribes due to its excellent hunting senses and its role as a watchdog, alerting the Prehistoric Clans of hunter-gatherer to potential dangers.
History of Dogs - The Bonding Process: The wolf cubs would have been offered food and shelter in the new 'packs' and readily made the transition between bonding with their wolf pack to bonding with humans.
History of Dogs - Selective Breeding: The process of 'selective breeding' would have been automatic. Any of the dogs that were found to be overly aggressive and a danger to people would have been automatically destroyed. Only the dogs that exhibited the desired traits needed to become part of the human pack would have survived.
History of Dogs - Fur and Food: The addition of the wolf-dog to the hunter-gathers would have also provided the benefit of using their fur to survive harsh weather conditions and as a source of sustenance when food became scarce.
History of Dogs - The Natural Hunters: Dogs were natural hunters and prehistoric tribes realized that its scenting capabilities and strong hunting and killing instinct would be an asset to the human 'pack' and suitable animals began to join with human hunters.
History of Dogs - Howling: The ancestor of the domesticated dog, the the Gray Wolf shared their howling as an inherited method of communication. The howls warned the ancient tribes that intruders were encroaching on their territory. The hunting dogs howled to alert the hunter that they had trapped the quarry and people became to understand the meaning of the noises made by their animals.
History of Dogs - The Evolution of the Dog: The evolution of the dog took thousands of years. The nomadic hunter-gathers roamed the lands and slowly moved into different environments with varying climates. Eventually the traits of the dog reflect the needs of the group of humans in its 'pack' and to the surroundings it lived in.
History of Dogs - The Domesticated Dog: As time passed the dog became more domesticated and its characteristics began to change. It was a social animal and began to be appreciated as a protector and a companion. It is part of human nature to care for the young and the domesticated animals would have been treated as playmates and eventually as favored pets.
History of Dogs - Adapting to environment: Over many, many years the appearance of the dog slowly changed to the requirements of the environment. Natural senses were enhanced and the coloring of some coats changed to blend in with the surroundings. Some animals demonstrated excellent swimming abilities and even acquired webbed feet.
History of Dogs - Lifestyle Changes: The dog became increasingly useful to the hunter and as the lifestyle of the hunter-gathers of the Stone Age changed so did the role of the dog. About 10,000 years ago as the Ice Age ended the climate became more temperate. Humans learned how to domesticate other animals and discovered how to cultivate crops. This led to the adoption of a more sedentary way of life in small settlements. There was a strong incentive to ensure that animals remained near the settlements as a supply of food that started attempts to herd them or pen them into enclosures.
History of Dogs - Crossbreeding: As the numbers of people increased humans began to aspire to additional lands. Tribes encroached on the lands of different peoples and their conquests led to the acquisition of wealth and the assets of the conquered, including their dogs. Crossbreeding between the different type of dog naturally occurred and humans developed the idea of selective breeding.
History of Dogs - The Evolution of Different Breeds: Different types of dog began to emerge, developed by man to suit their changing lifestyles and needs. Sighthounds, Scent Hounds, Hounds, Herders, Watchdogs, Guards, Fighting and Working dogs slowly appeared that had adapted to the needs of humans over thousand of years.
History of Dogs - Trade: As trade increased puppies were swapped and traded, based on the inbred traits they possessed. Merchants sought goods from other lands and traders travelled the seas and took their dogs with them.
History of Dogs - Status Symbols: The importance of the dog increased enormously as it helped man with numerous, and diverse, tasks. The dog began to be highly valued as important assets and the best dogs were kept by the leaders of tribes. The dog began to develop into a status symbol and a trading commodity. Laws were passed so that only the rich were allowed to keep hunting dogs and lapdogs became the fashion for the nobility.
History of Dogs - Modern Breeds: People developed distinct types of dog for specific tasks and as the understanding of the breeding process grew, so did the varieties of breeds and the process of change was greatly accelerated. Terrier breeds were developed as pest controllers to keep down the number of vermin.
History of Dogs - The Gundogs: As technology increased primitive tools and nets were replaced with new inventions which in turn brought new roles for the dog. The introduction of firearms in the 1700's led to the development of the hunting breeds that were divided into the retrievers, pointers and setters - the Gundogs.
History of Dogs - Associations and Standards: During the 1800's the appearance of the dog began to take precedence over its function. Dog Societies and Associations were formed and written standards for each breed were introduced for pedigree dogs.
History of Dogs - Designer Dogs: The history of the dog took another turn with the advent of 'Designer dogs' which has seen numerous new breeds designed for their 'look'.
History of Dogs - The Numbers: There are an estimated 500 million domestic dogs worldwide. There are currently 340 breeds of dogs recognized by the World Canine Organization. The AKC (American Kennel Club) currently recognizes only 167 breeds, but the numbers continue to increase. So ends this brief history of the dog - until the stage in its evolution...