Where do dogs come from and how they evolved

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

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

Check out these theories on where dogs came from first and how they came to be domesticated! Guess what it’s mostly still unsolved!

Where do dogs come from?

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 Gray Wolf or Grey Wolf.

How did wolves become dogs?

Experts can’t agree on how wolves first became dogs; however, I have found two strong possibilities of how they were domesticated.

  1. Human help

Many thousands of years ago, humans took Wolf puppies in and raised them as there own, whether it was 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 rasing them as there 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 and resulting in the domesticated dog.

  1. 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 frighting 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, the 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 the 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 below shows you the possible earliest timing recorded, which is forty thousand years ago.

  • 15,000 to 40,000 years ago
  • 20,000 to 40,000 years ago
  • 10,000 years ago
  • 30,00 years ago

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

There are many 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 on 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 come from first?

Some claim it happened in Europe, others in the Middle East, or East Asia. What we do know is 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.

FASCINATING – Dogs and humans brains are actually in sync

The strong relationship between a dog and 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 specie 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 during childbirth. Looking at your dog can cause a significant spike in oxytocin levels.

Conclusion

Even though the answers aren’t still wholly complete, at least we know where dogs come from, but the tricky question is how were they 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 for. Also, the amount of interbreeding the dog has dating back thousands of years. Its makes it extremely difficult for the experts to pinpoint how, why, when and where. It is a fascinating subject and a lot to debate for the coming years. 

Do you think we will ever settle the great dog domestication debate? Which theory do you think is right?

About the Author

Teresa loves animals and travelling around the UK! She currently has two dogs and two cats. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of pets. Qualified Dog Groomer and currently studying Canine Behaviour. She has been part of the Dog Friendly Team since 2016

 

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