The History Of Dogs

The History Of Dogs

The domestic dog is​ loyal and courageous,​ intelligent and adaptable. Useful as​ well as​ affectionate,​ the​ dog guards people’s flocks,​ plays with their children,​ and helps them hunt. a​ loving pet,​ the​ dog is​ known as​ a​ trusted companion.

Wherever human beings live—whether in​ an​ Eskimo village,​ a​ jungle clearing,​ or​ a​ crowded city—dogs live,​ too. in​ the​ United States alone,​ about 34 million dogs are kept as​ pets. Some are mongrels. Others are pedigreed—for through selective breeding people have created many distinct kinds of​ dogs. in​ North America alone,​ more than 120 standard breeds are recognized.

People admire domestic dogs. But they usually fear the​ dog’s untamed relatives—the wolves,​ coyotes,​ jackals,​ foxes,​ and other species that make up the​ family Canidae,​ or​ doglike mammals. There has always been open warfare between wild dogs and people. as​ carnivores (meat eaters),​ wild dogs often compete with people for prey. Sometimes they attack domestic stock as​ well. People may be forced to​ kill wild dogs in​ order to​ protect themselves and their livestock.

It has been only recently that people started to​ realize that dogs in​ the​ wild if​ kept in​ confined spaces contribute more good than inflict harm. They help to​ control destructive rodents. And where game animals threaten to​ become too plentiful,​ wild dogs remove many that might otherwise starve to​ death. in​ short,​ they play a​ part in​ nature’s checks and balances.

Most scientists think that the​ wolf is​ the​ principal ancestor of​ our domestic dog. But jackals,​ coyotes,​ and dingoes undoubtedly also contributed their blood to​ the​ domestic dog. For example,​ many dogs of​ India are almost identical with jackals in​ appearance. And the​ American Indians had dogs that looked like coyotes.

How did people first tame these wild dogs? Thousands of​ years ago,​ primitive people lived in​ caves and hunted with clubs,​ spears,​ and other crude weapons. Wolves or​ other wild dogs often lived near them. Skulking about their campfires,​ these animals cleaned up the​ bones and scraps of​ meat people threw away. Sometimes primitive people killed the​ wild dogs when they tried to​ steal their meat. at​ other times they probably picked up roly-poly wolf or​ jackal puppies as​ playmates for their children.

These puppies grew up tame and affectionate. People gradually learned that they made good hunting companions as​ well as​ pets. Then,​ much later,​ people found that that they could breed their best hunting dogs with their speediest dogs and get offspring with the​ best qualities of​ both parents. Through crossbreeding,​ different kinds of​ dogs began to​ develop. Ancient sculptures show us that the​ Assyrians had huge mastiff-like dogs that they used for lion-hunting in​ 600 BC. And long before then the​ Egyptians had dogs that looked like greyhounds.

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