Have you ever wondered about the history of dogs? We like to imagine beagles and bichons wandering around the Paleolithic age spreading cuteness around, but the reality is different.
Dogs are direct descendants of the wolf, and the only large carnivore species that has been domesticated (about 15,000 years ago!). Domestication allowed dogs to become remarkably attuned to human behavior – so much that they even helped humans with tasks like hunting, tracking and protection.
With all these great qualities, no wonder dogs are known as man’s best friend. Good job, doggo!
Studies show that the first dogs existed 31,700 years ago, and they looked very different to what we’re used to today. This ancient doggo was large and toothy, and his skull was twice as big as your average modern dog. They helped humans with hunting, tracking, and transport of game, and they ate horse, musk ox, and reindeer meat. Definitely no diet biscuits or hypoallergenic treats for these pups!
Also a bit hard to walk him on a leash, I might add.
This prehistoric dog was not the only one of its kind to set the foundation of the canine legacy. More than 14,000 years ago, the second oldest known dog was found in Russia with the same characteristics. Researchers say that this dog resembled today’s Siberian husky – but larger.
Imagine trying to cuddle this 40kg dog! You would probably need a bigger couch.
Although dogs had to earn their keep, there’s some evidence showing that they did become part of the family. A 14,000 year old grave found in Germany is the oldest known grave where humans and dogs were buried together. According to a study of the grave, the prehistoric dog owners showed an emotional attachment to the puppy and cared for it while sick.
The idea of having a dog has changed throughout history
Nowadays dogs are a huge part of our lives. They are our friends, companions, and members of our family. In countries like the US and Brazil, more than one third of households have dogs!
Even though the DNA of modern dogs matches the genetic material discovered from ancient canines, their body structure, as well as life’s purpose, has changed radically.
The purpose of the doggo is different from what it used to be. Apart from the well-known attributes of dogs (cuteness, fluffiness, and cuddliness, of course), they are extremely smart, loyal and dedicated. The process of domesticating dogs throughout history has led to canine mentality and behavior adapting to humans. That’s why dogs are the most common human companion!
And when we say dogs are smart, we mean it! Working dogs are common – from identifying crimes alongside police officers, to dogs in conflict zones, service dogs who help people with mental or physical disabilities, to just plain old office dogs, dogs can always make a difference!
Pssssst, did you know dogs in movies sometimes need to have a CGI tail put in because they wag their tails so much while acting? That’s dedication!
We are strong believers that a dog can brighten your day like no other. So if you have a pup in your life, consider yourself lucky to have a best friend forever. And take a minute to appreciate the history of dogs, and everything that had to happen for your doggo to end up with you!