Most people like dogs, some people more than others and perhaps some dogs more than others but on the whole they are pretty likeable creatures. Many people would find it very hard to do their jobs without dogs and others would find their daily lives very much more difficult without them. Dogs make great companions and can be very helpful but where did they come from in the first place? What is the domestic dog’s history? We often talk about Human History so let’s look at Canine History and how they are inextricably linked.
The first thing to get out of the way perhaps is the idea of the wolf allying itself with humans and being taken in and domesticated leading to the dogs we know today. All the evidence indicates that this is a myth.
Extensive research over many years including DNA comparisons etc shows that, though the dog as we know it is a subspecies of the grey wolf, the evolutionary split between them occurred some 100,000 years ago. The date of the earliest evidence of domestication of dogs is vague but, varying between 14,000 years ago and at the very earliest, 31,700 years ago, it’s at least 68,300 years after the genetic division from the grey wolf. Although the Latin name of “canis lupus familiaris” suggests a direct link, remember that the split and the early domestications were already ancient history before Latin came into existence!
Having attached themselves to humans, presumably for food and shelter, dogs soon discovered that they were expected to give something in return and their natural instincts made it easy for them to oblige. Those early men were hunter-gatherers and dogs are natural hunters too. Their combined skills made hunting more successful to the benefit of both.
Then, as humankind progressed into farming and other activities, their dogs developed with them first as guard dogs, then herding livestock. The use of dogs in hunting continued right up to the present day. The transition of hunting, at least in the allegedly civilised world, from a necessity for survival to recreation, in no way diminished the rôle of the hunting dog or the retriever.
The enormous variety of breeds that makes up the 21st Century canine world is a comparatively recent development. Most are no more than a few hundred years old. Selective breeding encouraged the development of existing characteristics that improved the dogs’ usefulness for particular tasks and even to fit in handbags!
The overall effect has been beneficial to both species, human and canine and has produced the amazingly talented, useful and lovable companions we know today. The dog was the first known example of a domesticated animal and arguably the most successful.
This article was provided by Freelance Copywriter UK, Pete Hopper of Write For You.
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|Sunday, September 26. 2021|