Dogs, widely feted as man’s best friend, originated from wolves and belong to the Canidae family, of the order Carnivora. Dogs own an enviable status as one of most loving and loyal companions that have served mankind since times immemorial now. With a fairly ancient history to boast of, dogs have enjoyed an ubiquitous presence and have proved to be extremely helpful to man over the years. Basically bred for hunting, herding and protection, dogs went on to garner a more gaudy reputation, as they showed up on stages for amusement and more. Dogs have been domesticated for over a span of 15,000 years now. Biologists have debated over the history and evolution of dogs for centuries on and have arrived at the conclusion that dogs descended from the Grey Wolf, which explains the possible genetical and archaeological resemblance between the canine and the lupine breed of canids. To know more on the history and evolution of dogs, read on further.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Dogs
Dogs have a very antique history with archaeologists, retracing their origin to ancient times. Some of the earliest remains of dogs have been recovered from present-day Denmark and West Germany. Dogs owe their line of lineage to their lupine cousins, who are altogether responsible for their complex social hierarchy and the oddities of their character. Initially, dogs were quite different to what they are today and revealed more uniformity of character and lacked much of their physical oddities. However, with time, dogs developed more distinct features that typified their expanding breed and gave them their characteristic distinction.
It was, however, with the trend of selective breeding that more sophisticated breed of dogs evolved that were used by man, to guard their flocks and family and work on their farms. Selective breeding is a fairly recent phenomenon, just 150 year old, and is responsible for a greater variety of dogs that rule the kennel world today. Today, there are as many as 300 different breeds of dogs in the world. As stated earlier, dogs owe their progeny to wolves. Paleontologists and archaeologists have found basic resemblances between the two groups of canids. A close study has revealed basic similarities between their jaw line and skeletal structure of smaller wolves and early dogs.
Although the breed of wolves that gave rise to dogs is yet to be affirmed, some enthusiasts trace its lineage to Golden Jackals, who were basically scavengers and lived close to human settlements. On the other hand, some other dog enthusiasts trace its origin to wild canids, now extinct. Although there is no concrete proof to support this canine hypothesis, behavioral oddities and instinctive traits have affirmed its connection to wolves. Today’s domestic breed of dogs are believed to owe their roots to four basic wolf breeds - the European, Indian, Chinese and North American breeds, who are responsible for the emergence of many sophisticated dogs like Pekingnese, Greyhounds, Sheepdogs and more.
In the 19th century dogs were used as a flashy fashion statement. Dog enthusiasts grouped in Great Britain to form a Kennel club in 1873. This paved the way for stud books and confirmed standards for certain dog breeds. Following this, a few other kennel clubs cropped up, the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club being the most noteworthy amongst them. These kennel clubs contributed to the growing popularity of mist dog breeds, the German Shepherd being the most prominent among them. Today, dogs are mostly domesticated as pets. However, in the past they were basically trained to be used for specific tasks like herding, hunting, and guarding.
Selective breeding has brought in many changes in the dogs’ temperament, physique, and behavior over time. Gun dogs, officially recognized as Sporting group, were bred to closely work for people. These breed of dogs are usually characterized by their responsive nature and high intelligence. Some of the most popular breeds of gun dogs are spaniels, pointers and retrievers. Working dogs are dogs specifically trained for a wide variety of specific tasks, like pulling sleds across snow and ice. They are also employed to guard property and livestock and are treated as potent sources of food and fur. Companion dogs, or the non-sporting group, are usually small-sized dogs with a mild disposition. These dogs are basically kept as royal pets.
Herding dogs, or the herding group, consists of dogs who have been employed to control the movement of livestock for centuries. These dogs are used to herd sheep and cattle, control deer and even chickens. They are characterized as active, intelligent dogs with distinctive coats. Hounds, or the hound group, are possibly the most ancient breeds of dogs, which were bred to be used for games. They are known for their speed and stamina as well as for their short coat. Terriers, or terrier group, are dogs that were developed in Great Britain during the last 100 years. Feted for their tenacity, this breed of dogs make first-class rodent killers, and their small size allows them to "go to earth" in pursuit of quarry, such as foxes, driving them out to be chased by hounds.