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The General History of Dogs

During the earliest period of man’s habitation of this world he made a friend and companion of some sort of Aboriginal dog which is epresentative of our modern dog. It is thought that he used them to protect him from wilder animals, and in guarding his sheep and goats,.

With food and shelter man grew to trust it and care for it. Probably the animal was originally little else than an unusually gentle jackal, or an ailing wolf driven by its companions from the wild marauding pack to seek shelter in alien surroundings.

You could imagine the partnership beginning in the circumstance of some helpless whelps being brought home by the early hunters to be tended and cared for by the women and children.

Dogs introduced into the  home as playthings for the children would grow to consider themselves as members of the family

In most parts of the world there are traces of an Indigenous dog family, the only exceptions being the West Indian Islands, Madagascar, the eastern islands of the Malayan Archipelago, New Zealand, and the Polynesian Islands. in these parts there are no signs that any dog, wolf, or fox has existed as a true Aboriginal species.

In the ancient Oriental lands, and generally among the early Mongolians, the dog remained savage and neglected for centuries, prowling in packs, thin and wolf-like.

No attempt was made to allure it into human company or to improve it into docility. It is not until we come to examine the records of the higher civilizations of Assyria and Egypt that we discover any distinct varieties of canine form.

The dog was not greatly appreciated 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 they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock” is not without a suggestion of contempt, and it is significant that the only biblical allusion to the dog as a recognised companion of man occurs in the apocryphal Book of Tobit (v. 16), “So they went forth both, and the young man’s dog with them.”
In order properly to understand this question it is necessary first to consider the identity of structure in the wolf and the dog. This identity of structure may best be studied in a comparison of the osseous system, or skeletons, of the two animals, which so closely resemble each other that their transposition would not easily be detected.

The spine of the dog consists of seven vertebrae in the neck, thirteen in the back, seven in the loins, 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 has forty-two teeth. They both have five front and four hind toes, while outwardly the common wolf has so much the appearance of a large, bare-boned dog, that a popular description of the one would serve for the other.

Nor are their habits different. The wolf’s natural voice is a loud howl, but when confined with dogs he will learn to bark. Although he is carnivorous, he will also eat vegetables, and when sickly he will nibble grass. In the chase, a pack of wolves will divide into parties, one following the trail of the quarry, the other endeavouring to intercept its retreat, exercising a considerable amount of strategy, a trait which is exhibited by many of our sporting dogs and terriers when hunting in teams.

A further important point of resemblance between the Canis lupus and the Canis familiaris lies in the fact that the period of gestation in both species is sixty-three days. There are from three to nine cubs in a wolf’s litter, and these are blind for twenty-one days. They are suckled for two months, but at the end of that time they are able to eat half-digested flesh disgorged for them by their dam or even their sire.

The native dogs of all regions approximate closely in size, coloration, form, and habit to the native wolf of those regions. Of this most important circumstance there are far too many instances to allow of its being looked upon as 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 seems to be the only difference.

It has been suggested that the one incontrovertible argument against the lupine relationship of the dog is the fact that all domestic dogs bark, while all wild Canidae express their feelings only by howls. But the difficulty here is not so great as it seems, since we know that jackals, wild dogs, and wolf pups reared by bitches readily acquire the habit. On the other hand, domestic dogs allowed to run wild forget how to bark, while there are some which have not yet learned so to express themselves.

The presence or absence of the habit of barking cannot, then, be regarded as an argument in deciding 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 domestic dogs of the world have descended from two good species of wolf (C. lupus and C. latrans), and from two or three other doubtful species of wolves namely, the European, Indian, and North African forms; from at least one or two South American canine species; from several races or species of jackal; and perhaps from one or more extinct species”; and that the blood of these, in some cases mingled together, flows in the veins of our domestic breeds.


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Nov 11, 2012 | 0 | History of Dogs

Animal Rights: The Brown Dog Riots of 1907

By Dorian Cope

It can be surprising to discover that the largest, most controversial and violent riot in Britain concerning the emotive issue of animal rights occurred not in recent years, but in 1907 – and that the most vociferous and heated protagonists were not those demonstrating on behalf of animals, but medical students defending their cruel, barbaric and unregulated scientific experiments. The so-called Brown Dog Affair – which saw its worst night of rioting in Trafalgar Square, as some 1,000 rowdy medical students clashed with police, suffragettes, trade unionists and working-class animal lovers – raged for seven years and was one of the most divisive issues in Edwardian London.

The drama began in December 1902, when two female anti-vivisectionists from Sweden infiltrated the medical school at University College London and witnessed the cruelty perpetrated against one particular brown terrier. During a lecture, while the animal was allegedly insufficiently anaesthetised, a professor cut open its abdomen in order to ligate and deprive the dog of the use of its pancreas. For the next two months, the terrier was confined to a cage where his miserable howling upset several UCL staff, until he was brought back to the lecture theatre in February 1903. Stretched on his back on an operating table, the dog’s legs and head were clamped and his mouth muzzled before he was once again cut open to inspect the results of the previous experiment. He was then handed over to another professor who cut a new opening to expose the salivary glands, and then stimulated with electricity in an attempt to prove that salivary pressure was independent of blood pressure. After half-an-hour, the unsuccessful experiment was abandoned. The dog was given over to a student who removed its pancreas before finally relieving it of its torture and killing it with a knife.

When the Swedish women exposed the inhumane and prolonged suffering of this unfortunate and unnamed dog, the researchers of UCL sued for libel – claiming that they were within the law. They won the court battle, but lost the war of public opinion – and the brown dog became a cause célèbre. In 1906, a memorial statue to this poor terrier was erected in Latchmere Park, Battersea with the following inscription:

“In Memory of the Brown Terrier Dog Done to Death in the Laboratories of University College in February 1903 after having endured Vivisections extending over more than two months and having been handed over from one Vivisector to another till Death came to his release. Also in memory of the 232 dogs vivisected in the same place during the year 1902. Men and Women of England – How long shall these things be?

The statue — with its bold and brazen anti-vivisectionist inscription — became a symbolic rallying point for political activists. But scientists, doctors and medical students loathed the provocative bronze dog for the scorn it poured over their profession. When legal efforts to remove the statue failed, these “anti-doggers” repeatedly tried to smash it themselves, forcing the progressive council of Battersea to employ 24-hour protection. The Brown Dog debate raged on the streets, at public meetings, in the newspapers and Parliament – culminating in the most violent night of rioting on 10th December 1907. In a demonstration planned to coincide with the annual Oxford-Cambridge rugby match, medical students from UCL – joined by their Oxford and Cambridge peers – once again attempted to uproot the statue with a sledgehammer. Driven away by locals, the students marched towards Trafalgar Square and sang to the tune of “Little Brown Jug”:

As we go walking after dark,

We turn our steps to Latchmere Park,

And there we see, to our surprise,

A little brown dog that stands and lies.

Ha, ha, ha! Hee, hee, hee!

Little brown dog how we hate thee.

As the anti-doggers gathered around Nelson’s Column, mounted police charged the crowd and arrested the ringleaders — including one Cambridge undergraduate who was “barking like a dog.” Over the following days and weeks, more rioting broke out. Women’s suffrage meetings were routinely invaded by medical students barking like dogs, and shouting “Down with the Brown Dog!” The issue was not resolved until March 10th, 1910 — when the new local council, unwilling to pay the mounting security costs, removed the statue in the dead of night.

The Brown Dog Riots — which could not be more ideologically at odds with the extraordinary student demonstrations we are currently witnessing — were instigated by elitists, not only by position of their class, but in their misguided and (ironically enough) quasi-religious belief that science was entitled to its own exclusive code of ethics. Can the quest for knowledge ever be justified by barbaric inhumanity? 100 years later, the repugnant and unnecessary practice of vivisection — torture by any other name — still continues. Men and Women of England – How long shall these things be? As Mahatma Ghandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

The Brown Dog Riots — though long forgotten — was a pivotal event in the history of vivisection and animal rights. Visit to learn about other significant events in our past that have been submerged through the passage of time.

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Oct 14, 2011 | 0 | History of Dogs, Miscellaneous

Dogs To The Rescue

By Dan Ratekin

More dogs are earning the title of “Man’s Best Friend” in many new ways. Many studies of the human/animal bond point out how important and unique the relationships are between people and their pets. It has been shown that having pets relieves the stress of busy, everyday lives. Owning a pet has been known to lessen the occurrence of stroke and heart attacks.

The majority of dogs live in family environments, and the companionship they provide is well worth the effort involved in taking care of a dog. For children, dogs teach responsibility through understanding their care and feelings.

Today, more dogs are service dogs than ever before. They have been trained to assist in many different ways. Assistance dogs are not common house pets. They participate in specialized training programs and work hard to help in the areas they have been trained.

Probably the most common service is assisting the blind. They are trained to help the blind to cross the street, go through doors, and to go around obstacles. The blind person’s job is to give directional commands, which the dog may or may not obey depending on the situation. If an unsafe command is given, the dog will choose to disobey the command in order to insure the person’s safety. In this case the dog must have good judgment and be an independent thinker.

Hearing dogs alert a deaf or hearing impaired person to sounds such as telephones, alarm clocks, oven buzzers, smoke alarms, doorbells or a crying child.

Dogs have proven to help disabled people live independently. Besides being loyal companions, they help people with different kinds of disabilities to do things on their own. They pull wheelchairs, open and close doors, retrieve dropped items, alert a person of an upcoming seizure, turn light switches on and off. Golden and Labrador Retrievers make good service dogs because they are strong, yet have a gentle nature.

In Italy they are training dogs to leap from helicopters or speeding boats to rescue swimmers who get into trouble. These “life dogs” wear a harness or tow a buoy that victims can grab. Currently 300 dogs are fully trained for duty. The school will train any breed, as long as the dogs weigh at least 66 pounds. Labradors, Newfoundlands and golden retrievers are most commonly used because of their natural instinct for swimming.

There are many other areas dogs are trained to be of assistance. Search and rescue dogs assist in recovering disaster victims, saving lives every day. Therapy dogs are popular with nursing homes, and the elderly living there look forward to their visits. Police dogs hunt down bad guys while rescue dogs hunt down missing people.

But many people don’t realize that dogs also have the ability to sniff out cancer. It also raises the possibility that dogs may be able to detect cancers even earlier than tests. After a few weeks of training, the dogs correctly detected 99% of the lung cancer patients. Also they detected 88% of those with breast cancer. The handlers of the dogs and the researchers did not know which samples were provided by cancer patients and which were not.

Special trained dogs can help people with autism to become more independent.; They are very helpful with kids with autism. They help the child to become more social with their peers. The dog can be a calming influence. The dog can work on interrupting repetitive behavior by nudging the child. The dog can prevent the child from wandering away, and can track the child when they have wandered.

Assistance dogs not only allow the elderly and the disabled to live a secure and independent life, they provide companionship and love.

These dogs are a part of a little known group that are available for adoption. They, like people, get worn out, a little stressed having had to work under pressure of protecting or helping those in need. As a result some become available for retirement, while most families would keep their original service dogs and get a new one too. The retirement age for most service dogs is 8 years of age, which means they have many years of life left to bring you enjoyment as a pet.

These are dogs that are very well adjusted to being around people, generally pretty healthy and their training is the best. Though some of the dogs are older that does not stop them from being great pets.

As can be seen from the above, dogs do play a vital role in today’s society. Dogs make loving pets and are also very intelligent and hard working animals.

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Oct 01, 2010 | 1 | Dog heroes, History of Dogs, Rescue Dogs

From Wolf to Dog

By Karen Malcolm

“If humans were as varied as dogs we would range in height up to 22 feet tall and in weight more than 1,000 pounds” (courtesy National Geographic Channel). The dog is the most varied species of mammal due solely to the influence of man.

It is generally accepted knowledge that the dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is the first domesticated animal and was developed from the grey wolf (Canis lupus). A domesticated animal is one that is not just tamed: but whose behavior, looks, and breeding habits have been permanently altered due to man’s influence. The domesticated animal is dependent upon man for survival.

Based on archeological evidence, the dog has been a working, hunting and companion animal for over 30,000 years. Although archeology has given us approximate dates for the early relationship between dog and man. Genetic research (DNA analysis) has provided additional clues for the transition from wolf to dog.

It is possible that the genetic changes or offshoots may have occurred as long as 135,000 years ago. Recent evidence from DNA analysis indicates that dog first originated in the middle east rather than the far east indicated by archeological evidence. Furthermore, based on genetic similarities it is now thought that there are four distinct branches based on geography from the common wolf ancestor.

Early domestic dogs may not have been looked much different from the wolf. It is possible that the change from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies to more sedentary agricultural populations around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago may have resulted in a smaller breeding pool that began the transition of the wolf-like looks into the beginning of the dog.

If the dog was developed from the wolf, how and why is there so much variety? Dog sizes range from the largest, the English Mastiff which weighed over 340 pounds to the smallest the tea cup Chihuahua weighing 8 ounces. This boggles my mind and led me to investigate further.

Coming from a family of dog lovers, I have always had a dog or dogs, both purebreds and mutts in my life and for 12 years bred West Highland White Terriers.

Science has always fascinated me, so I became a science teacher with a specialization in life sciences particularly Biology. My favorite word is why.

Http:// is a compilation of personal experience and researched information for the benefit of the caretakers and companions of “man’s best friend”.

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Sep 07, 2010 | 0 | History of Dogs

Dog Genes and Wolf Genes

By Dennis Dornon

It seems that dogs of the same breed have less in common genetically than it was thought. Wolves were the first animals to be domesticated. All dogs descend from wolves, but there are so many different breeds and variations of dogs today that you will find no other mammal that could match such diversity. As dogs have been selectively bred for such a long time, the result is the highest degree of physical and behavioral variations within a species. Researchers have estimated that the overall dog population can boast at least 20,000 differences.

The variations are not just the result of breeding, but also of the interactions between dogs and humans, the comfort people offered to dogs. There are genetic changes that can be related to the comfortable life dogs have lived over the past years.

The poodle for example, is divided into four groups by kennel clubs, but researchers have discovered that there are five genetically distinctive groups of poodles.

Mitochondrial DNA was used to compare dogs and wolves and the findings showed that there were more protein changes over a shorter period of time in dogs, when compared to wolves. Dogs’ genes have mutated much more rapidly than those of wolves. Unfortunately, most of such mutations can be harmful to the animal. And dogs have passed on these mutations to their offspring. Wolves, on the other hand, have eliminated the inferior characteristics through the process of natural selection. Wolves with such inferior genes will not be able to mate.

There is one advantage of this development, namely that scientific studies can be more easily performed in order to uncover pathogenic genes. But purebred dogs are more prone to diseases.

Molecular biologists were able to complete the sequencing of the dog genome and this could lead to a better understanding on how genetics is involved in dogs’ diseases. Such developments can be beneficial for finding new treatments for illnesses that are shared by dogs and humans. Diabetes, epilepsy and cancer are the more frequent. The dog genome includes almost 20,000 genes and almost all of them have a counterpart in the human genome.

It is easier for researchers to find genes that cause diseases in dogs than to find them in people. With dogs, only one gene mutation can be the cause of a disease, and if the gene mutates the result can be an identical disease in humans. With human diseases, there may be mutations of dozens of different genes so it is much more difficult for researchers to discover the causes of a disease.

Studying dogs’ ancestry is also easier and can be used to eliminate diseases in dogs. With appropriate tests, breeders could limit the transmission of harmful mutations to future generations of dogs. Laboratories will be able to offer a genetic map for purebred dogs but also for mutts. All the owners will have to do in order to obtain such a map would be to send a blood sample or a cheek swab.

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Aug 12, 2010 | 0 | Dog breed information, History of Dogs

Making the Right Choice When Choosing a Dog Lead

By John M Williams

It doesn’t really matter if your dog is a Chihuahua or a Great Dane or if it weighs slightly less than a sirloin steak or more than a sack of cement, all dogs should have their own leads and collars.

Choosing a dog lead sounds like a simple task, but it can often be a little more complicated than you realize because of the wide variety of leads available on the market. One of the most important things to consider is the size, material and weight of the lead. It’s imperative that the lead fits your dog properly and isn’t too light or heavy for the pet. You must also make sure the lead is strong enough to hold the dog’s weight.

If your dog loves the water, you may want to consider a nylon lead and collar as they are quite durable. However, if the dog is addicted to chewing, you may want to consider a leather lead as they are generally quite a bit stronger and tougher.

Some of the most popular leads on the market today are retractable models. These are available in various lengths such as 10, 16, and 26 feet, etc. and are made of lightweight retractable cords. They allow your dog the freedom to roam around, but you are always in control as you can lock and brake the cord at any time and reel it back in.

You should have no problem finding a suitable lead for your favourite dog as they are available in a multitude of styles, materials, lengths, and colours.

For quality products at cheap prices, try for dog leads and leather dog leads.

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Aug 03, 2009 | 0 | Dog nutrition, History of Dogs, Miscellaneous, Older dogs, Tips, Videos

Dogs and Their History

By Steve Weber

 It is amazing how many different shapes, sizes, colors, and types of dogs there are. And it is even more amazing considering they all came from the same ancestors. The story of dog history says that early humans took in wolves for pets. Perhaps they discovered these wolves could be fed and kept close in return for their “watch dog” or hunting ability. This could have been handy in keeping other predators at bay around the camp at night.

Not to mention that early humans probably found wolf puppies to be adorable in the same way modern humans all seem to have a built in affection for puppies. One problem with studying dog history has been the fact that there are only slight differences in jackals, coyotes, and wolves. Where and when these different canids branched off from the original tree is up for speculation. To make matters even more complicated is that both wolf and dog bones have been found in ancient human camps. This fact makes it even harder to establish when wolves were first domesticated.

One thing that history does show to be fact is that dogs have been a part of human life far longer than other domesticated animals such as cows, horses, pigs, and cats. Dogs have developed extremely sophisticated social skills which have allowed their so thorough integration into human society. No other animal is so well adapted to living with humans. Dogs of course have undergone much artificial selection by humans to become the socialized animals they are. But dogs (wolves) had to posses a basic ability to be socialized which other animals simply did and do not posses.

One reason dog history is so full of unknowns and speculation is that everyone considers themselves to be dog experts! Whether it is an average dog owner or a “canine” paleontologist, everyone has a strong opinion. Most, however, agree that our dogs’ ancestors were the wolf. A few though think the original dog line was from some other canid species such as a jackal. Or even perhaps the line came down from some hybrid species or some now extinct species. And some even suggest our dogs were decedents of several domestication’s of different species. However, modern DNA research highly suggests that our dogs are extremely close genetically to modern wolves. This leads very strongly to the theory of wolves being the forefathers to dogs.

The date of dogs’ first domestication is in debate as well. About the earliest suggested time for dogs’ appearance in human history is about 15,000 years ago. Differences in both DNA and bone structure of wolves of that era suggest the remains found were dog like. One important find was of an Israeli woman buried 12,000 years ago with a puppy in her hands. The question as to wear the first domestic dogs were raised is also up for debate. Several years ago a study was done on this. Hundreds of dogs from around the world had their DNA studied.

Through a complicated study of inclusion and elimination, it was discovered that dogs in Asia had the best chance of being more closely related to the original dog than in any other part of the world. However, this same study suggested the DNA line had been in place for almost 120,000 years. This is almost 10 times the age of the first known fossil record of dogs with humans. One problem could be the fact that early man could not control his dogs with interbreeding with wild wolves. This could lead to some very confusing evidence for our current researchers of dog history.

One thing is certain though. Early dogs were on the trip when the first humans came to the ” New World ” across the Bering Strait nearly 15,000 years ago. And DNA studies have shown that our modern day dogs are not ancestors to the North America gray wolf. Our dogs have wolf ancestors which inhabited Europe and Asia . The North American wolf is simply a distant cousin.

But DNA can only tell part of the story of dogs’ history. Early dogs had the unique ability to modify their behavior to fit in with humans. It was beneficial from a dog’s point of view to be able to live with humans. Humans provided shelter and water, and food in many situations. And humans were hunters. Dogs love to hunt! What a perfect fit!

Many people tend to look at primates as the only other animal with higher level thinking skills. But as all of us dog owners know, dogs are pretty smart! Research has shown that puppies have much higher communication skills than wolf puppies. Even puppies which have had little or no contact with humans perform far better in communication tests than their wolf counterparts do! This has further complicated the question as to dogs’ origins.

It is thought that about 8000 years ago was the first attempt by humans to actually breed their dogs for specific traits. One of the oldest known breeds was the Saluki breed found in ancient Egypt . These dogs were bred for their hunting skill. Other early breeds the Egyptians were thought to be responsible for were the Lbizan, Basenji, and Afghan. And the Dalmatian was a subject of paintings dating back to over 2000 years! GO STORM!!

Just as today, early dogs were much better off in rich societies than in poor ones. During the Greek and Roman empires the status of dogs went from hunters, herders, and guards to simply pets. Dogs started appearing in sculptures and paintings of everyday life. It was becoming a dog’s world! In the ruins of Pompeii was found a dog by the body of a child. The dog wore a silver collar inscribed with a message saying he was owned by the boy.

In the Far East , a dog’s status was dependent upon its breed. Dogs in the Far East could be loved pets, trusted hunters and guards or simply something to be eaten. “Noble” dogs such as the Pekingese were considered so important by royal families that they were provided their own human servants! Many other dogs out in the countryside were often just meals for the villagers. In Tibet , the common Terrier was considered to be such good luck it could not be bought or sold for any price. In the middle ages, pure bred dogs became the status symbols of royalty.

Our dogs’ genetic and social past has to be one of the most interesting side notes to human history. They have been part of our hunts, guarded our shelters, given us special status, and provided companionship for thousands of years. Their loyal and trusting behavior was a perfect fit with humans over the eons. Who knows how human history would be different had dogs not been a part of it. For thousands of years they have been our companions, helpers, hunters and friends. It seems safe to say that one thing is certain about man’s future: dogs will most definitely be in it!

Steve Weber owns which offers advice and natural products to owners of dogs with arthritis.


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May 25, 2009 | 0 | History of Dogs