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History of dogs

General History of dogs

history of dogs

history of dogs

The history of dogs gives you some information about cute dogs. There is no incongruity in the idea that in the earliest period of man's habitation in this world, he made a friend and companion of some kind of aboriginal representative of our modern dog, and that in exchange for his help in protecting him from animals savages, and by taking care of his sheep and goats, he gave him a part of his food, a corner in his dwelling, and came to trust him and take care of him. Probably the animal was originally little more than an unusually gentle jackal, or a sick wolf led by his companions from the prowling wild pack to seek refuge in strange surroundings. It is well conceivable that society begins in the circumstance that the first hunters bring home some defenseless cubs for the women and children to care for and raise. Dogs brought into the home as toys for children would come to see themselves and be regarded as members of the family.

In almost all parts of the world, there are traces of a family of indigenous dogs, the only exceptions are the Antillean islands, Madagascar, the eastern islands of the Malay Archipelago, New Zealand, and the Polynesian islands, where there is no indication that dog, wolf or fox has existed as a true aboriginal animal. In the ancient eastern lands, and generally among the early Mongols, the dog remained wild and abandoned for centuries, prowling in packs, emaciated and like a wolf, as it prowls today in the streets and under the walls of all eastern cities. No attempt was made to lure him into the human company or enhance him to docility. It is not until we come to examine the records of the higher civilizations of Assyria and Egypt that we discover distinct varieties of canine form.

The dog was not highly regarded in Palestine, and in both the Old and New Testaments it is commonly spoken of with scorn and contempt as an "unclean beast." Even the familiar reference to the sheepdog in the book of Job "But now I am ridiculed by those who are younger than I, whose parents would have despised putting up with the dogs of my flock" is still a suggestion of contempt, and It is significant that the only Biblical allusion to the dog as man's recognized companion is found in the apocryphal book of Tobit (v. 16), "And they both went out, and the young man's dog with them."

The great multitude of different breeds of the dog and the great differences in their size, tips, and general appearance are facts that make it difficult to believe that they could have had a common ancestor. One thinks of the difference between the Japanese mastiff and spaniel, the greyhound and the graceful Pomeranian, the saint bernard and the miniature black and tan terrier, and is puzzled at the possibility that they are descended from a common parent. However, the disparity is no greater than that between the Shire horse and the Shetland pony, the Shorthorn and Kerry cattle, or the Patagonian and Pygmy; and all dog breeders know how easy it is to produce a variety in type and size through a studied selection.

To understand this question correctly, it is first necessary to consider the identity of structure in the wolf and the dog. This identity of structure can best be studied by comparing the skeletal systems, or skeletons, of the two animals, which resemble each other so much that their transposition would not be easily detected.

The dog's spine consists of seven vertebrae in the neck, thirteen in the back, seven in the loin, three sacral vertebrae, and twenty to twenty-two in the tail. In both the dog and the wolf there are thirteen pairs of ribs, nine true and four false. Each one has forty-two teeth. They both have five front and four back toes, while outwardly the common wolf looks so much like a large, bare-boned dog that a popular description of one would work for the other.

Nor are their habits different. The natural voice of the wolf is a loud howl, but when confined with dogs, it will learn to bark. Although it is a carnivore, it also eats vegetables, and when it is sick it nibbles grass. In pursuit, a pack of wolves will split into groups, one following the trail of the quarry, the other attempting to intercept their retreat, exerting a considerable amount of strategy, a trait many of our sporting dogs and terriers exhibit when hunting in equipment.

Another important point of similarity between Canis lupus and Canis familiaris lies in the fact that the gestation period in both species is sixty-three days. There are three to nine cubs in a wolf's litter, and these remain blind for twenty-one days. They breastfeed for two months, but at the end of that time, they are able to eat half-digested meat given to them by their mother or even their father.

The native dogs of all regions approximate in size, coloration, shape, and habit the native wolf of those regions. There are too many cases of this important circumstance to allow it to be considered a mere coincidence. Sir John Richardson, writing in 1829, observed that “the resemblance between the North American wolves and the domestic dog of the Indians is so great that the size and strength of the wolf seem to be the only difference.

It has been suggested that the only incontrovertible argument against the dog's lupine relationship is the fact that all domestic dogs bark, while all wild Canids express their feelings only with howls. But the difficulty here is not as great as it seems, since we know that jackals, wild dogs, and wolf pups raised by bitches easily get into the habit. On the other hand, domestic dogs that are allowed to run forget to bark, while there are some that have not yet learned to express themselves.

The presence or absence of the habit of barking cannot, then, be considered as an argument to decide the question concerning the origin of the dog. This stumbling block consequently disappears, leaving us in the position of agreeing with Darwin, whose final hypothesis was that “it is highly probable that the world's domestic dogs have descended from two good species of wolves (C. lupus and C. latrans). and of two or three other doubtful species of wolves, viz., the European, Indian, and North African forms; of at least one or two South American canine species; of various races or species of a jackal; and perhaps one or more extinct species ”; and that their blood, in some cases mixed, flows through the veins of our domestic races.

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