Dogs, many of us have them – over 40 million homes to be precise. They could be big or small, fluffy or wire-haired, whatever it is, they are our pets, and we love them. Although many of us have lived with four-legged friends throughout our lives, we can’t help but wonder: where did dogs come from? We’re going to have to take a trip through time is we want to find out the answer…
Where did dogs live?
This is a question that has left many people stumped. Research suggests that dogs first lived all across Europe before they were domesticated. However, other studies show that our four-legged friends could have originated from East Asia or Africa. How can it be so confusing? It all comes down to crazy breeding and uncontrolled genetics. Thousands of years ago, dogs and wolves would breed with each other, as well as crossbreeds and their own species. All of these genetics has led to a jumble of information stored in old bones. Now, it can be impossible to tell the difference between some wolves’ DNA and some dogs’ DNA.
When were dogs domesticated?
Once again we have a question that seems simple enough, but might not be as straightforward as it sounds. For many years, people thought dogs were first domesticated 15,000 years ago. Just 1,000 years later people were holding pet funerals, and some even took them to the grave. However, studying their skulls has thrown a wrench in the works. Evidence now suggests that dogs might have been domesticated as far back as 30,000 years ago. This is all thanks to a skull found in a Belgian cave that suggests there could have been a domestic dog living amongst people. However, many researchers believe this could have been misanalysed.
Why were dogs domesticated?
Nowadays we get to enjoy cuddling up to our pooch at the end of a long day. However, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, evidence suggests that humans didn’t have a say in adopting four-legged friends. A lot of work has gone into uncovering where dogs came from and why they were brought into our houses, but what happens if it was really the dogs that adopted us? 15,000 years ago, people began to settle in permanent settlements all across the world. Rather than hunting their food, researchers believe dogs started to use these new villages as a chance to steal food from their hard work. Wolves have never been comfortable eating near people. However, dogs soon became more friendly and accepted their new guests in exchange for a meal.
Getting an answer
Dr. George Larson is one of many researchers working to uncover the real answers to many of these questions and more. Together, he and many others are creating a dog database where they can input DNA from bones found all around the world to see if they can find out where these magnificent creatures really came from. So far, Dr. Larson and the team have agreed that dogs popularity stemmed and grew from Europe thanks to the Victorian era. For the first time, these pooches were bred for their looks and personality rather than their help. Although it might not be able to answer all the questions, the researchers are one step closer to uncovering the truth.
We might not have the concrete answer we are looking for, but it’s incredible to think dogs originated from at least 15,000 years ago. Ever since, these animals have grown to become one of the most popular choice of pets in the world. And with those puppy dog eyes, it doesn’t look as though they will be going away anytime soon.