Where Do Dogs Come From? (Theories Of Domestication)

four dogs together on a log
Where do dogs come from?

We love our dogs, and we love having a variety of different breeds to love and choose from, but have you ever wondered where dogs come from and how they were domesticated? I have spent many hours researching this subject and digesting it into something relatively easy to read and understand for all ages.

Experts have concluded from behavioural evidence and genetic DNA that the dog originated exclusively from a single species: The Wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the Grey Wolf.

How did wolves become dogs?

Experts can’t agree on how wolves first became dogs; however, there are two strong possibilities for domestication. One, human help, and two dogs themselves evolved to live with humans.

Theories Of Domestication

Human Help

Many thousands of years ago, humans took Wolf puppies in and raised them as their own, whether for work, like looking after the flock, herding animals or guarding the campsites, maybe even for some company. Who knows what the thought process was behind raising them as their own. However, it’s more likely to make humans life easier in some way or another. Whatever their intentions were, the Grey Wolf species became tamer and tamer with each generation born, resulting in permanent companions resulting in the domesticated dog.

Dogs Themselves Evolved

Wolves loitered around human homes and scavenged for food, and eventually developed the understanding that humans can provide them with food and shelter. Wolves invented themselves to become human companions. Their appearance changed, skulls shorter, teeth shrank, and their ear’s flopped. They gained a docile disposition to accept control or instruction and to be submissive. This made the Wolf less frightened and less fearful of humans. The pattern of this process is known as self-domestication. They were able to read the expressions of humans and understand our moods, resulting in the domesticated dog and a big long line of different dog breeds to come.

Wolf and a dog
Unsolved – How the wolf became the dog

What does self-domestication mean?

Self-domestication in dogs meant that over time their appearance changed to adopt a much friendlier look. Most social animals gained an advantage and adopted the curly tail, the floppy ears, and the splotchy coats. Self-domestication is a proven study in many other animal species, like the fox. They have, over time, become increasingly friendlier looking like dogs. And no doubt if they came and were raised in our homes and cared for by humans, they too will become increasingly friendlier looking to humans. They already have beautiful fluffy tails, so who knows what could happen in the future with humans and foxes. Self-domestication is a solid case for Theory 2 in that it’s more likely we did not domesticate dogs and that they domesticated themselves.

Human help taming a Wolf theory discrepancies

Wolves are hard to tame, even as puppies, and many researchers find it much more plausible that dogs, in effect, invented themselves.

Perhaps today’s dog’s affection is instincts that evolved. Because looking cute and cuddly wins us, humans over. This way, they get what they want—plus being a more comfortable option than loitering or scavenging.

Why did dogs evolve from wolves?

Plants, animals, even humans evolve. Sometimes they don’t have a choice. Possibilities why evolution takes place, it could be to further or secure their survival, developing is vital in all walks of life on earth.

How long ago did this happen?

Inconclusive – There are many suggested dates, and scientists cannot agree on the exact timing. However, the earliest timing recorded is forty thousand years ago.

I think we can all agree that it was a very long time ago.

There are two theories on how, why, when and where they evolved. The confusion and the lack of knowledge are still present to this day. The studies of where the dog’s come are often quickly contradicted by other leading studies led by scientist and archaeologist. At least they can also all agree that dogs evolved from Grey Wolves.

What’s the difference between dogs and wolves today

A personality comparison chart between the dog and the wolf personality
A comparison chart between the dog and the wolf

What part of the world did dogs evolve first?

Some claim it happened in Europe, others in the Middle East, or East Asia. We know that The Wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the Gray Wolf or Grey Wolf native home, is in Eurasia in North America.

Why don’t we know exactly where the dog came from first?

With the possibility of the dog being domesticated twice and in two different areas. China and another in Eurasia. Eurasia dogs migrated into Europe and also China, their dog’s migrated to Europe. Interbreeding began, which then created a big long line of complicated explosive DNA—making it near on impossible for experts to find out exactly where and how the dog was first domesticated.

Dogs and humans brains are in sync

The strong relationship between a dog and a human is that powerful that even our brains are in sync. This is fascinating! Have you ever heard of oxytocin? Well, it’s a hormone linked to love and bonding like a mother loves a child. Dogs and humans are the first-ever known different type of species in which this occurs.

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone that is released into the brain. It plays a vital role in social bonding, sexual reproduction and childbirth. Looking at your dog can cause a significant spike in oxytocin levels.

Conclusion

Even though the answers aren’t completely complete, at least we know where dogs come from, but the tricky question is how they were domesticated. The two theories above both have a solid conviction. We know that it happened roughly forty thousand years ago. The main problem for solving the mystery is the time that the domestic dog has been around. Also, the amount of interbreeding the dog has dating back thousands of years. It makes it extremely difficult for the experts to pinpoint how, why, when and where. It is a fascinating subject and a lot to debate in the coming years. 

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