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Dog History in general

It's not far-fetched to suppose that man, in the earliest period in which he inhabited this world, made a sort of primitive representati...

It's not far-fetched to suppose that man, in the earliest period in which he inhabited this world, made a sort of primitive representative of our modern dog his friend and companion, and that, in return for his help in protecting him from wild beasts and guarding his sheep and goats, he gave him part of his food and a place in his dwelling. Probably the animal was originally nothing more than an unusually docile jackal or ailing wolf drove from its wild, marauding pack by its companions to seek shelter in a strange environment, you can also read A Brief History of Cats

Dog History in general
Dog History in general

One can well imagine that the partnership began with a few helpless pups brought home by the early hunters to be cared for and raised by the women and children. Dogs that came into the home as playmates for the children considered themselves members of the family and were viewed as such.

1. The Dog and the Wolf

The only exceptions are the West Indies, Madagascar, the eastern islands of the Malay Archipelago, New Zealand, and the Polynesian Islands, where there's no evidence that dogs, wolves, or foxes existed as true primitive animals. In the ancient Oriental countries, and especially among the early Mongols, the dog remained wild and neglected for centuries, roaming in packs, emaciated and wolf-like, through the streets and under the walls of every eastern city. No attempt was made to lure him to human society or to make him docile. Only in the records of the higher civilizations of Assyria and Egypt do we find various forms of the dog.

In Palestine, the dog wasn't held in high esteem, and in both the Old and New Testaments it's commonly referred to with contempt as an "unclean animal." Even the familiar mention of the sheepdog in the Book of Job, "But they that are younger than I mock me, whose fathers I wouldn't set with the dogs of my flock," isn't without a touch of contempt, and it's significant that the only biblical allusion to the dog as a recognized companion of man occurs in the apocryphal Book of Tobit (v. 16): "So they both went out, and the young man's dog with them."

2. How Many Breeds of Dogs?

A large number of different breeds of dogs and the enormous differences in size, markings, and general appearance are facts that make it difficult to believe that they could have a common ancestor. When one thinks of the differences between the Mastiff and the Japanese Spaniel, the Deerhound and the fashionable Pomeranian, St. Bernard and the Miniature Black and Tan Terrier, one is at a loss as to whether they could've descended from a common progenitor. 

Yet the differences are no greater than those between the Shire Horse and the Shetland Pony, the Shorthorn and the Kerry Cattle, or the Patagonian and the Pygmy, and all dog breeders know how easy it's to produce a variety of types and sizes by selective breeding.

To understand this question properly, one must first consider the structural identity of wolf and dog. This structural identity can best be studied by comparing the bone system or skeleton of the two animals, which are so similar that a shift wouldn't be readily apparent.

3. The Spine of the Dog

The spine of the dog consists of seven neck vertebrae, thirteen dorsal vertebrae, seven lumbar vertebrae, three sacral vertebrae, and twenty-two to twenty caudal vertebrae. In both the dog and the wolf, there are thirteen pairs of ribs, nine true and four false. Each has forty-two teeth. Both have five front toes and four hind toes. Externally, the wolf resembles a large bare-boned dog, so the common description of one would also apply to the other.

Their habits are also different. The wolf's natural voice is a loud howl, but when it's with dogs, it learns to bark. Although it's a carnivore, it also eats vegetables, and when it's sick, it nibbles on grass. When hunting, a wolf pack splits into two groups, one of which follows the prey's trail while the other tries to intercept the prey's retreat - a trait many of our sporting dogs and terriers exhibit when hunting as a team.

Another important point of similarity between Canis lupus and Canis familiaris is the fact that the gestation period in both species is sixty-three days. A wolf litter consists of three to nine young that are blind for twenty-one days. They're suckled for two months, but at the end of this time, they're able to eat half-digested meat that their mother or even father spits out for them.

The native dogs of all regions closely resemble the native wolf of those regions in size, coloration, shape, and lifestyle.

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