History of Dogs
History of Dogs
It has been a great debate for hundreds of years
as to the history and likely evolution of the domestic
factors to help in choosing
and looking after a pet dog.
types and breeds of dogs
are there : -
the humble mutts to pedigree show dogs. We list list
a guide to 20 of the most popular dog breeds and more
information about other breeds and how they are classified.
to find the right breed
of dog for a pet: -
What types of dog make the best pets. Do you want
a pedigree dog or a cross breed; a puppy or an adult
dog; a rescue dog or one with a family history; just
some of the many points you need to consider before
selecting your pet dog.
and children : -
- Which dog breeds are suitable.
- New dogs in families with children
- New babies and your pet dog
- Socialising your dog
All important factors before choosing a pet dog for
a family and what to cosider when a baby joins a family
Therapists who specialise in Alternative Therapies
for Dogs. Treatment has normall been thought of as
the province of the Vet. but increasingly owners are
turning to Alternative Therapists to treat their pet
Not an indulgence and something that is just for show
dogs; with some breeds regular grooming is essential.
Some suggestions and examples of things you and your
pet dog might like; some essential, some useful, some
fun and frankly some that are quite bizarre.
Suppliers where you can buy food and other
essentials for your pet dog.
Some interesting facts about dogs
were the first animals domesticated by humans.
are the smallest dogs
Wolfhounds are the largest .
Danes are the tallest.
Bernards are the heaviest
are the fastest dogs achieving speeds of up to 45
mph for short periods of time.
most intelligent dogs are reportedly the Border
Collie and the Poodle.
least intelligent dogs are the Afghan Hound and
is estimated that a dog's power of smell is 1000
times better than humans.
do not sweat through their tongues but through sweat
glands between the pads of their feet.
dog's body temperature is between 100.2 - 102.8
have three eyelids. An upper and lower eyelid and
a third inside these two. It helps protect the eye
from dirt and dust
dogs hearing is about ten times better than a humans.
basenji, an African dog, is the only dog that cannot
New Guinea Singing Dog not only sings but it can
also climb trees
like humans, can be either right or left handed
are omnivorous (eat both meat and vegetable foods)
part of a their instinctive feeding ritual dogs
will bury bones
Shaking things viciously is recognised as being
part of their hunting instincts.
often walk in small circles before lying down, this
again instinctive (flattening long grass in the
have highly developed internal clocks They usually
know when it's time for you to arrive home, feed
them, or go to bed if you are run to schedule.
puppies are deaf, blind, have no teeth and almost
no sense of smell. Keeping near their mother and
siblings for warmth.
is only able to crawl during its first week
pup will begin to see when it is between 2 to 3
puppy will develop its sense of smell at about 3
3 to 7 weeks after birth a puppy developes its first
often puppy will sleep for 14 hours every day.
the most popular theory is that dogs are directly
descended from Canis Lupus - the Grey Wolf
and that dogs are more closely related to the Grey
Wolf than Biologists had previously suspected.
in the form of remains, suggests that humans and wolves
first co-existed over 15,000 yrs. ago. At this stage
they probably were still both enemies, fighting for
their own survival but sharing the common the traits
of being pack animals and hunting in packs.
It is highly likely that this is when they both began
to take advantage of each other.
Men, by now, were living in groups within camps and
these camps began to attract the attention of wolves,
there would probably have been lots of garbage lying
about (particularly bones and food scraps) this the
wolves recognised as a safe and easy food supply,
much easier than hunting with all its possible dangers.
Humans too began to recognise the advantage of having
these "camp followers" around, wolves with
their keen sense of smell and hearing could warn of
impending danger from the wild animals and even hostile
humans that would have been present in these dangerous
It is easy to see that over thousands of years this
dependence begin to be refined. Wolves probably began
to recognise humans as pack leaders and humans began
to take advantage of other useful attributes of wolves.
This would have led to an early form of selective
breeding, any animals that were seen as too fierce,
unsociable or of no obvious use would be abandoned
and only the wolves, with desirable traits, would
have been selected to breed; gradually reinforcing
the growing co-dependence.
Soon the traits of each group of these "tame"
wolves would reflect the needs of the group of humans
it lived with: it's size, colouring, senses and even
the length of its coat or swimming ability would tend
to reflect the needs of the hunters and their environments.
Probably, as the number of humans increased, some
degree of trade would have occurred between groups,
puppies being swapped and traded based on the inbred
traits they now possessed - the evolution of wolves
into the various dog breeds of today had begun.
is archaeological evidence to suggest that dogs
had been domesticated by 10,000 BC. Early remains
have been found in present-day Denmark and West
Germany. One of the most touching discoveries from
this period was in Israel where a young puppy was
found in a grave alongside the body of its owner.
The usefulness of keeping dogs appears to have developed
rapidly worldwide. Evidence of dogs has been found
in North America in about 5,000 BC, probably introduced
by early settlers from Asia.
As early as 4000BC dogs were beginning to develop
into recognisable groups
dogs were primarily used for herding, hunting, and
next big development was brought about by War (as
have many things).
of the ancienr "western civilisations" including
the Romans, Egyptians, Greeks, Persians and Babylonians
all employed huge and fierce fighting dogs in their
battles. The Roman Army in particular made great use
of fighting dogs to help them spread their empire
in the ancient world. They set up units consisting
entirely of dogs to make them more fierce many wore
spiked collars around their neck and ankles, and making
them even more dangerous by the addition of large
curved knives. Quite often they were starved before
battle, then unleashed on their unsuspecting enemies.
The dog most used by the Romans were the great Molossian
dogs of Epirus, specifically trained for battle. These
dogs dominated battles until they meet their match
in Britain, where powerful Mastiffs had been born
After the fall of the Roman Empire, interest in dog
breeding and their care waned. This neglect resulted
in many abandoned dogs forming packs and terrorising
towns. During the Dark Ages people began to blame
dogs for the problems around them and superstitions
arose, including those of werewolves and monsters.
Although dogs continued to be used by armies in battle,
but now in a growing variety of ways, no longer used
solely for fighting. They were trained as guard dogs,
sentries, messengers and draught dogs. (It is estimated
that during World War I, the Germans used possibly
30,000 dogs, the French used 20,000, and the Italians
3,000. The other Allied forces used thousands more.
It was during
the Middle Ages that dog development took another
Still retaining a bad reputationwhich was added to
by the spread of the bubonic plague, or Black Death,.
During the plague, in which fleas transported the
deadly disease, many via dogs, meant that the dog
was often abandoned.. Great herds of livestock were
decimated by the disease, leading to people killing
each other over food. Few people during this period
kept pets resulting in ownerless dogs running wild,
often in packs, they ate corpses and killed in groups.
Conversely there began a fashion for keeping huge
packs of hunting dogs and the more well off people
started seeing dogs as status symbols, believing they
gave people status and distinction. As a result the
number of dog breeds started to increase rapidly.
Dogs were now being bred for many more reasons: -
their behaviour, size, length, color, facial characteristics
and even "strokability" (we see this still
in the 19th century, dog shows became fashionable and the
need arose for specific criteria against which individual
dogs could be compared and judged. Enthusiasts in Great
Britain grouped together in 1873 to form what became known
as the Kennel Club. This led directly to the establishment
of stud books and set standards for certain dog breeds.
It also set basic rules for shows. Soon after similar organisations
began in other countries: the American Kennel Club was formed
in 1884 and it's Canadian counterpart in 1888.
Victorian Era saw dogs becoming even more popular, partly
due to the example set by Queen Victoria who herself had
a lifetime interest and attachment to dogs.
A persons choice of dog now conveyed your status and whether
you were a sportsman or a true lady. Dogs helped people
fulfill their aspirations toward a higher station in life
and as a result this was period in which many dog classifications
began.It was also a time in which many new dog breeds were
bred by varying groups of the populace, especially hunters.
In the 1700s and 1800s, many of the sporting breeds, such
as the German Shorthaired Pointer, Weimaraner, Vizsla, and
other hunting dogs, were bred because middle-class Europeans
had more time for hunting as a recreation, however being
less affluent than the European aristocracy who could previously
afford to keep several breeds. they wanted one dog to perform
a series of functions.
Likewise, smaller dogs, toy breeds, terriers, lap dogs also
became more popular, and many breeds which were hitherto
unknown came to the fore. The different species that we
are so familiar with today are the result of this continuing
quest to find the ideal dog. Many believe this period was
the golden age of the dog.
Today's dogs come in all shapes and sizes and there are
estimated to be over 600 dog breeds worldwide. However they
still all belong to the same species, which means that all
breeds can be crossbred and still have fertile offsprings.
Most of these breeds have been developed by human breeders
which means that they choose which dog breeds with which
dog, hence they can decide which characteristics are desirable
and engineer them. Man has now become a "Dog Stylist"
able to create breeds to order: - smaller or larger heads,
short or long legs, cute or fierce faces, coats that are
short or long rough or smooth and even what colour. Much
of this is far removed from the original purpose of dog
breeding which was to produce dogs capable of being better
at hunting, tracking, guarding, shepherding etc.. So even
if the original purpose of breeding and refining dogs has
not been completely abandoned there has become a "dog-industry"
that concentrates on breeding and altering dogs to suit
people's requirements and wishes.
certain breeds, such as the German Shepherd Dog or Labrador
Retriever, have become popular throughout the world. Many,
however, remain far more localised, perhaps even restricted
to one specific region of a single country. Fashion and
environment have also been contributing factors.
the last Century dogs have seen many changes in their looks
and their usefulness to man.See our article Old
Dogs Gain New Tricks to see some examples of
has always been cross breeds or mutts and what some people
refer to as first crosses, the latter being the product
of two known pedigree types. Some of these have now been
given names which vary from the fairly obvious to the whimsical.
Labradoodle, Scoodle , St, Berdoodle and Scapso being just
some (it is difficult to imagine Poodles being willing partners
in some of those.
advent of Genetic Engineering may have opened the door to
even more possibilities, it is likely its sole use will
not be for controlling disease and the other effects inherent
in inbreeding for lurking in the background is the possibility
of producing dog types to order.
Dogs Gain New Tricks
Dogs and man have formed partnerships for centuries. Probably
the first animals to be domesticated, dogs have variously
been used for hunting, herding, guarding and even as companions.
Whilst it may be true that you cannot teach old dog new
tricks, it is also true that humans will always try to find
new ways to utilise man's best friend.
Some of the roles dogs now perform on a daily basis include:-
Dogs for the blind
There is no doubt that “guide” dogs have expanded
the possibilities for blind people to go to many more places
and enjoy happier and more fulfilled lives. Many blind and
partially sighted people put total trust in their guide
dogs, often taking their life in their hands - for example,
crossing a busy road. Their dogs also make it easier to
move about in snow, ice, mud and other rough conditions.
dogs for the deaf.
In the UK there are nearly ten million people with some
degree of hearing impairment
Many of these people have had there lives changed by dogs
trained to alert their severely, profoundly or totally deaf
owners to sounds that many of us take for granted. Everyday
sounds which hearing people may take for granted dogs will
respond to such as:-
• Alarm clocks
• Cooker Timers
• Smoke alarms
• Baby alarms
The dogs communicate by touch and then lead owners to the
sound source, providing the deaf person with greater independence
and confidence, as well as companionship and feelings of
Dogs for the Disabled.
In an effort to improve the quality of life for many people
with disabilities, dogs have been trained to:-
Open and close doors, collect post, put rubbish in the kitchen
bin take clothes out of the washing machine or even take
off someone’s socks. They can also fetch a wide variety
of things on command and recognise several objects by name,
including 'fetch the phone' which could be vital in cases
of any emergency. Dogs can even pick up crutches and sticks.
Dogs are increasingly being used in active therapy; this
may involve visiting hospitals, care facilities, nursing
homes, etc. to cheer up patients. Studies of dogs interacting
with autistic children have shown that dogs calm them down
tremendously just by their presence and with specific tasks
such as grooming a dog; the children can learn to focus
on a task, something that's very difficult for an autistic
Mould detection dogs are regularly used in European countries
such as Denmark and Germany, where mould has been known
for decades to be a problem in buildings, they will sniff
out mold hiding behind baseboards and walls in houses, office
buildings and schools.
Increasingly dogs are used in more specialist areas such
as in water rescue and in the search for human buried in
earthquakes, landslides etc.
Bomb and drug detection
The dog’s keen sense of smell is sensitive enough
to detect minute trace amounts of many compounds, this makes
them very effective in screening objects, it is claimed
that some trained dogs are able to recognise over 20,000
David Bates www.pettrendy.co.uk 2009 ©
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