Dogs - they cheer us up when we’re down, offer affection and forgiveness like no other, and can even help us out with the toughest of jobs. This guide is a celebration of all things canine, with tips on how to best look after your wonderful pet, how you can have a deeper understanding of their world, and how to continue building a connection to make sure the time you spend together is happy and fulfilling.
History of the Dog
From living in the wild to companioning as man’s best friend, the evolution and journey of dogs has quite the history. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and can be found all over the world, but how exactly did they come to be such an integral part of our lives? The fact is that dogs have helped us hunt food and guard our possessions for so long that neither archaeology nor science can quite decide exactly where, when and how we got together in the first place.
Where Did Dogs Originate?
The canids - or the family of animals that includes dogs and wolves - first appeared on our planet around six million years ago. And while the actual origin of dogs remains elusive, we do know that dogs are direct descendants of modern grey wolves. Kind of hard to imagine your Chihuahua being related to a wolf, isn’t it? Many experts believe that dogs started separating from their wolf ancestors around 16,000 years ago in Southeastern Asia. It was at this point in their evolution that paleolithic dogs who had shorter snouts and fewer teeth first emerged, making them less threatening to humans than their wolf ancestors. And so man’s best friend was born.
How Did the Canine-Human Bond Form?
Archaeological evidence shows us that dogs were living with humans in the Americas as early as 15,000 years ago. It is believed they migrated with humans as hunters and gatherers - essentially, the first animal companions. Because there was no agriculture at this time in history, dogs would have made useful allies in tracking and killing prey and alerting their owners to possible danger by barking. An early domestication theory suggests that as humans began migrating to colder climates, the canine-human bond formed very quickly. Humans relied on dogs to help them spot prey and dogs began to rely on humans for a constant source of shelter, safety and food. Centuries later, that bond has grown to include love and companionship.