Man and his best friend- The domestication of the dog
The friendship between human beings and the grey wolf and its descendants- dogs, has been the longest friendship man has had with any species of animal. Even though the dog in the end has been domesticated by man, it has been questioned about who initially domesticated who.
Primitive man was in its early stages of evolution was still learning social hierarchy, behavioural, social, and acting like an integrated unit. Meanwhile the grey wolf had already evolved to its full potential by that stage. Man started to develope a bond with the grey wolf usually during meal time. The wolf itself is a cautious animal around all other animals, but often kept in the background during meal time. Man realised that they made good guards and usually alerted the groups when other animals were approaching. Once they noticed they could interact with these animals, man would give scraps of their food to the tamer grey wolves, thus beginning the evolution process of the grey wolf.
At this stage wolves were fully evolved and the theory is that the wolves taught humans, group skills that helped human evolution. Wolves functioned as a fully integrated pack to get their food enabling them to pick off large game which they taught man; they also would have taught other skills, like babysitting, when the parents had to go out to get food.
After time humans and wolves had learned to hunt together to get their prey, and with their new help man was finally able to hunt large game which they were previously unable to do, which further added to human evolution.
Fast forward and the grey wolf- Canis lupus– evolved into the modern dog- Canis lupis subspecies familiaris. The grey wolf had in the process become extinct and diversified into many new varieties and races of dogs adapted to many new environmental conditions. Dogs now well and truly man’s best friend, were used for many purposes for man’s needs. They had been taught many new commands depending on the needs of the owner. First and foremost they were a friend; the most loyal of friends. They were also used for hunting, and all types of hunting. They were used for protection/ and or fighting. For tracking scents and finding animals or lost people, guides and helpers ( e.g. Labrador, companions and working dogs helping to move large groups of animals such as sheep or cows.
The dog has evolved into many races depending on the location, and other races found in the same location. In the past races tended to be created due to natural selection and had larger gene pools, thereby guaranteeing their success to combat health threats to that race. The dingo is one of 2 natural races that still exist in the wild. These days of the almost 400 races of dogs, most dogs used by humans are only 200 years old.
Some have been specifically, selected and manipulated to get qualities to have results needed for a specific purpose. For example the Jack Russell Terrier and Fox terriers were bred to be able to chase foxes that had gone underground. The larger hunting dogs were unable to continue the hunt in such small spaces. From the base of the English white terriers; now extinct, they were bred to have high stamina, and strong willed to chase animals such as foxes and rabbits. To help their mental strength they had the bull terrier bred into the breed.
These days dogs have been bred to form many new breeds depending on the needs of the culture or society they serve and help. They interbreed the features of a variety of breeds to ensure the newly desired breed has the traits required for their intended purpose. Many times the chosen breeds are based on what dogs are and were available in that region. These days you can find some of these breeds coming from the various regions of the world
In Asia you can find the Shar pei, Shitsu, Shiba Inu, Chow Chow
In Britain you can find many terriers- Jack Russell, Fox, Staffordshire, Bull terriers, Shelties, Old English sheepdogs, collies, Border collie, Corgie
North America- Labrador, Newfoundland and Golden Retrievers, Boston Terrier
Africa- Rhodesian Ridgeback- African Wild Dog
Polar areas- Husky, Samoyed etc
Australia- the dingo ( one of 2 dogs still living in nature), Cattle Dog, Kelpie
Central- South America- Peruvian Inca Orchid- hairless dog, Chihauhau, Xoloitzcuintle- Mexican hairless dog, Dogo Argentino
Mediterranean Europe- Dalmatian, Maremma, Cane Corso
France- Bichon Frise, Pyrenean Sheepdog, Papillon, Basset Hound
Germany- German shepherd, Doberman, Dachsund, Schnauzer, Keeshond
Holland and Belgium- Groenendael, Bouvier des Flandres, Wetterhoun, Drentsche Patrijsdhond
These are just a few of the many hundreds of dog breeds.
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