The domestication of dogs


Our four legged furry friends, dogs,  are some of our closest and most loyal companions. There are so many different kinds, with their own individual temperaments, behaviours and personalities. They are our friends and sometimes we even consider them our family, one our own. But humans and dogs have not always been in each other’s lives, we were once separated. 

There is evidence to suggest that the domestication of dogs may have happened almost entirely by accident. When early hunter gatherers would have too much meat, they began sharing it with the wolves who became their pets. It is uncertain when or even where this first occurred, though scientists believe that it happened somewhere between 27000 and 40000 years ago. The oldest dog burial that has been found to date is around 14200 years old, which shows that, by that point, dogs had long been pets. In the cold weather, the wolves and humans would have competed for meat, however the humans cannot live entirely on meat alone, meaning that the humans would have had an abundance of lean meat that they would have no need to eat. This meat would then go to the wolves who lived solely on lean meat and would have needed the extra. In this way, these two creatures began to cohabitate. 

Another thing that may have encouraged the hunter gatherers to continue to feed the wolves and keep them alongside them was their hunting prowess. Although the human hunters were good at what they did, their natural abilities would have been nothing in comparison to that of the wolves, who could smell their prey at distances and chase them at faster speeds than many of the humans could manage. 

From the domestication of a few wolves, the genes for dogs emerged. While the wolves that remained undomesticated remained wolves and continued to evolve to live amongst other wolves in their packs, dogs became adapted to life amongst humans as their pets and partners in huntings. This division happened sometime around 14000 and 6000 years ago. Since then, dogs have been around and bred, for a wide range of purposes. Some were raised to be scavengers, hunters, or even family pets. Some dogs are trained for specific jobs or purposes. For example, the police use a large variety of different breeds of dogs to help them with many different jobs, including bomb detection or just support in the field in general. Newfoundland dogs would swim from the ship to the shore and pull the ship with it, made possible by the amount of power that they have in their body.  

Dogs are a part of the lives of many people within this world. Although before they may have been nothing more than a convenient tool for our use, now, we have learned to love our four legged friends. We give them space within our homes and within our hearts and in turn they show us the love they have for us almost every single day. 


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