of Dogs from
Wolves - Descendent of the
Dr. Robert K. Wayne's work implies that the
modern dog, although very similar genetically to the Grey
Wolf, has many separately distinct origins in both time and
locations. The Grey Wolf and our modern "canine best friend"
are in fact so closely related to Grey Wolves that they can still
interbreed, producing fully viable offspring.
and Evolution of Dogs
of Dogs -
Is Man's best friend really a descendent of tamed wolves?
- The Facts!
Biologists have debated
over the history and evolution of the domestic dog for hundreds of years. Most
Scientists now agree that dogs are directly descended from Canis
Lupus - the Grey Wolf.
Dr. Robert K. Wayne, canid biologist and molecular geneticist at
UCLA, has shown, through DNA research, that dogs are more closely
related to the Grey Wolf than Biologists had previously suspected.
In fact, due in large part to Dr. Robert K. Wayne's genetic
research, the authors of the "Mammal Species of the World" the
internationally accepted reference source on mammal species,
reclassified the dog in 1993 from Canis Familiaris to Canis Lupus.
The Evolution Dogs
from Wolves - How could
Wolves be tamed and Why?
We will never now
exactly why or how wolves were tamed by man, but remains of dogs
dating back 10 to 15 thousand years have been found, so we at
least have a "ball-park" figure of when which helps to
build a picture of the History and Evolution of dogs. The wolf and man had several important
things in common, we were both hunters and also hunted in packs.
It is certain that during our history our paths would have regularly crossed, we
would have even hunted and eaten each other! The most likely
scenario is that a human hunting party came across a very young
Wolf Cub and decided to take it with them. The Wolf Cub would have
been very puppy like at an early age, when grown although far less
trustworthy than a dog of today, would not have been quite as
dangerous as a wild Wolf. A semi-tamed Wolf would probably have
had considerable value to a hunter gatherer group, lending its
superior hunting senses to the group. This would have helped not
just in hunting but defensively as a warning system as well. The
evolution of the wolf to the domestic dog began.
of the Domestic Dog -
Selective Breeding Process
Puppy rescue would not have been an isolated case but would have happened
in many different groups of human hunters over our thousands of years
of evolution and history.
Selective breeding would have been automatic. Keeping a wolf that
became overly aggressive towards the humans, or of little
practical use, would have been both pointless and dangerous - such
a wolf would have been killed. Only the remaining Wolves, with
desirable traits, would have been selected to breed. Eventually
the traits of each group of tame Wolves would reflect the needs of
the group of humans it lived with: it's size, colouring, senses
and even the length of its coat or swimming ability reflecting the
needs of the hunters and their environments. Eventually as the
number of humans increased some degree of trade would have
occurred between groups, puppies being swapped and traded based on
the inbred traits they now possessed - the evolution and history
of various dog breeds are explained.
How did dogs
impact Human History? -
The Evolution of the
Different Breeds of Dogs
Understanding the changing requirements of man through our history
and evolution enables us to put into perspective the hundreds of
different breeds which were developed by man. The Groups,
Classifications and Standards all begin to make perfect sense. The
various 'landmarks' of the history and evolution of dogs is
detailed below - for more details of each particular type of dog
please refer to the links at the top of the page.
of Dogs -
The Sight Hounds
Sighthounds , also known as Gazehounds as their gaze focuses on
the horizon seeking game, specialise in hunting their quarry by
sight rather than scent. Sighthounds have distinctive
characteristics, features and traits which are perfect for their
purpose. Sighthounds have extremely good vision. They also have a
long jaw and lengthy neck which assists them in sighting their
quarry. Their lean muscular body, deep chest and long powerful
legs essential assets when following any fast and agile prey.
Dogs History -
The Scent Hounds
Scent Hounds specialise in following the scent or the smell of its
quarry. It was not necessary for Scent Hounds to be as fast and
agile as Sighthounds - they do not need to keep their quarry in
sight. Scent hounds are built for endurance. They can follow a
scent for long distances and even across running water. Scent
Hounds have distinctive characteristics, features and traits which
are perfect for their purpose. They have large noses which have
deep, open nostrils and their lips are loose and moist, designed
to pick up scent particles and follow the trail of an animal.
Their ears are long which concentrates the scent on the nose.
Their bodies are designed for endurance, an essential asset when
following any scent trail.
Evolution & History -
The Hound Dog Breeds
Hound Dogs have been bred to chase (or hound) a quarry by sight or
smell, or a combination of both senses. Sighthounds have
exceptional eyesight, combined with the speed and stamina
necessary to catch the intended prey once seen, typical examples
being the Greyhound and the Whippet. Hounds which rely strongly on
the sense of smell to follow the trail of a prey, such as the
Bloodhound, quite literally follow their noses, speed and eyesight
is of less importance.
of Dogs - Working Dog Breeds
Dogs in the Working group, were developed to perform a wide
variety of tasks, such as herding, droving, pulling, hauling,
herding, hunting, rescuing and guarding. The very nature of many
of these tasks require a big, strong dog. Working dogs have always
been viewed as real assets to their owners and have worked with
man replacing larger animals such as horses when none such animals
Evolution and History -
Sporting Dog Breeds -
Retrievers, Pointers and Setters
Sporting Dogs hunt by air scent, as opposed to ground scent. The
Retriever, Pointer and Setter dogs were bred selectively which
resulted in them fulfilling the needs of man. Retriever dogs find
and return killed game to the hunter. Some Retrievers are
especially equipped, for instance with a water-repellent coat and
webbed feet, for retrieving downed waterfowl. Pointer dogs stand
in front of their quarry, with their nose and body rigidly still ,
thus directing (or pointing) the hunter to its location. Setter
dogs were originally trained to set, or crouch, in front of game
preventing the escape of the quarry. The hunter would make the
capture with a net. Man's own evolution and development in
technology moved the traditional hunting methods away from
primitive tools and nets - the Sporting Dogs were then called the
and Evolution -
The Terrier Dog Breeds
Dogs in the Terrier group were developed to hunt and kill vermin.
The vermin included control rats, mice and other predatory animals
such as foxes that might raided a farmer's produce and livestock.
The very nature of these tasks required an energetic, tenacious,
brave and determined dog.
of Dogs -
The Non-Sporting Breeds
The characteristics and features of Non-Sporting Dogs cannot be
generalised. Each breed would have originally have been introduced
and strengthened by breeding with animals who already demonstrated
the desired traits. As times, fashions and societies changed man
established the need for breeds to assist in what was once
considered entertainment such as bull or bear baiting or
performing in a circus.
of Dogs - Toy Dog Breeds
The Toy dogs were initially owned by the wealthy and were viewed
by others as status symbols - a luxury item with little apparent
purpose. The trend continue to this day. The references to Toy and
miniature dogs are slowly being exchanged with references to
Teacup dogs - a cute and descriptive name which is ideal for
marketing this diminutive type of dog.
& Evolution of Dogs - Dog Shows
Man's passion and pride in his dog led to the desire to show his
dog and compare it to other breeds. The organised dog shows were
therefore born in the middle of the 19th Century. The dogs were
unidentified except for their kennel names! This led to real
confusion - there were quantities of dogs with the same names -
Rover, Spot etc which were insufficiently described according to
their breed or type. Organisation was required - descriptions and
breed standards were needed - the Kennel Clubs were born!
of Dogs -
The Modern Domestic Dog
The history and evolution of the various dog breeds still
continues today. New uses are being found. The technology and the
innovation of the Space Age led to the Russian Space dogs (please
refer to the category and link at the top of the page on Famous
dogs for more details) Dogs have even become Movie Stars. What
will be the next step in the History and Evolution of Dogs?
History and Evolution of Dogs
History and Evolution of Dogs