The dogs (canis lupus familiaris) descend from gray wolves. They are the result of human domestication and selection that began thousands of years ago on several continents, resulting in a great diversity of races.
A common ancestor: the gray wolf
According to recent studies, the ancestor of dogs would originate from the steppes of Central Asia, around 15 years ago. DNA analysis of ancient canine bones has shown that differentiation with wolves would have occurred at least 000 years ago.
According to scientists, all existing dogs are descended from gray wolves. As early as the XNUMXth century, Darwin was already suggesting that the various members of the Canidae family and the genus Canis (wolves, coyotes and jackals) could all have played a role in the evolution of domestic dogs.
Researchers believe that between 50 and 000 years ago, gray wolves and humans hunted similar prey. As some factors, such as increased human density and climate change, led to the decline of these prey, wolves began to approach human encampments in search of food. Humans and canines gradually began to collaborate, thus starting the process of domestication.
With the dog being the oldest domestic species, the slow and gradual process of rapprochement between the two species is said to have taken place in different regions, in Europe, the Middle East and China. In Siberia, the fossil skull of the oldest domestic dog specimen found dates back 33 years.
A multiplication of races from the XNUMXrd-XNUMXth century BC. J.-C.
The first domesticated dogs were guard dogs, war dogs, tow dogs, hunting and sheep dogs. Fighting dogs such as the Great Danes were sent to fight the lions. At the end of the XNUMXth century, fights between dogs, bulls and lions were replaced by fights against mice. The great dane or bulldog dog, crossed with the griffin, has become the bull terrier.
The definition of breed standards took place in the middle of the XNUMXth century, with the appearance of the first canine beauty contests, the British being at the forefront in the selection and development of different breeds.
Companion dogs probably arose out of requests from the queens and princesses of the courts of Europe for small hunting and companion dogs.
The dogs that are the most gifted from a physical or behavioral point of view for the different professions have been selected. It seems that the first to carry out a systematic selection process were the ancient Romans as early as the XNUMXrd-XNUMXth century BC. J.-C.
Today there are 300 to 400 breeds of dogs resulting from the domestication of wolves in different environments and different climatic conditions and from different crosses. These more or less voluntary selection processes have created one of the animal species with the greatest morphological and behavioral variability.
Besides simple company, dogs are today instrumental in sled pulling, defense herds, the search for missing persons or assistance to people with disabilities.
Quote about dogs:
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. "Paul espert