The Origin of Dogs

extinct Tesem-dog breed

(Images source: wikipedia)

Where was the dog originally coming from? Why they look like wolf? Do they share the same origin? What is the oldest dog? May be this article could answer these questions.

Dogs are carnivorous mammals that have been domesticated from wolves since 15,000 years ago, or might have been since 100,000 years ago based on genetic evidence of the discovery of fossils and DNA tests. Other studies reveal the history of the domestication of dogs that have not been so long. The dog has developed into hundreds of races with a wide range of variation, from the small dogs like Chihuahua to the highest one, Irish Wolfhound. Dog coat color can be varied, ranging from white to black, red, gray (often called “blue”), and brown. In addition, dogs have different types of fur, ranging from very short to the long one. Dog hair can be straight, curly, or like a wool.

Before DNA test was used, researchers were divided into two schools of thought:

  • Most supposed that these early dogs were descendants of tamed wolves, which interbred and evolved into a domesticated species.
  • Other scientists, while believing wolves were the chief contributor, suspected that jackals or coyotes contributed to the dog’s ancestry.

Former evidence revealed the dog was first domesticated in East Asia, possibly in China. The first human to set foot in North America brought a dog from Asia. Genetic research has identified 14 ancient dog breeds. Among other things, Chow-chow, Shar Pei, Akita, Shiba, and Basenji are the oldest dog breeds. The theory that dogs originated in Asia might be true since most of the 14 most ancient dog breeds originated from China and Japan.

But, new findings led by Bridgett M. von Holdt and Robert K. Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles have concluded that dogs were probably first domesticated from wolves somewhere in the Middle East, in contrast to an earlier survey suggesting dogs originated in East Asia. Wolves were probably first domesticated in the Middle East, but after dogs had spread to East Asia there was a crossbreeding that injected more wolf genes into the dog genome.

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