The wild origin of your domestic dog

Behaviour & Breeds
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When you look at your Pomeranian Lulu, you are not able to associate him with their ancestors, the wolves. However, believing or not all dogs today are descendants of the gray Wolf.

The domestication of wolves turned coexistence into friendship and the practice has resulted in formation of various breeds of dogs of the present time. In the last decades, humans have selected more than one hundred and fifty species of animals and plants.

How the dogs were domesticated

The first contact between wolves and humans began more than 40,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Period. The gray wolf, the ancestor of the dogs, was attracted to the villages of humans because of the food in abundance. The wolves took advantage of the food’s remains left behind.

Nevertheless, not all specimens did this. Because of the skittish behavior, only a few came closer. Thus, they have become healthier because of plenty food and passed their genes on. In this way, the most docile and sociable genes were naturally selected.

Humans began to find this approach interesting, as the approaching wolves protected the group from external threats. At that time, our ancestors saw an opportunity and used the animals primarily for hunting and protection.

DISCOVER BIOLOGY, Second Edition, Chapter 21
DISCOVER BIOLOGY, Second Edition, Chapter 21

These wolves trade their freedom for easy and plentiful food. Moreover, humans begin to force certain crosses and kill those who are born without the desired trait. The desired traits changed over the centuries resulting in different breeds. The human being had in his hands for the first time the power of evolution, called today ‘artificial selection’.

The several existing dog breeds are still wolves, because they, despite the most varied types, are a subspecies of wolves (Canis lupus lupus). This means even with all modifications and behaviors, these animals can be very aggressive in some situations. If you do not get a good education, the dog's natural instinct can be a major headache for the owner.

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