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About the Dog

Thirty million years ago, according to scientific sources, there appeared on Earth during the Oligocene period, a creature with the appearance of a dog.

The Cynodictis a mongoose like animal with a long snout and can be one of the oldest ancestors of this popular animal. Another prehistoric creature like canids, the Tomarctus lived during the Miocene period 24 million years ago.

The genus Canis evolved, becoming wolf, Canis lupus, 300,000 years ago, while that the domestic dog, which descended fromCanis lupus, appeared only 12,000 years ago.

All dogs, regardless of their appearance or size, have the wolf as ancestor, so that is why they can feel and behave like them. It is possible that the process of domestication of wild dogs occurred about 40,000 years ago, during the Ice Age when humans and wolves lived in the same habitat, and the animals are often fed with leftovers that humans left after the hunt.

The Egyptians and the people of West Asia were the first to breed dogs, mainly mastiffs and greyhounds. At the time of Imperial Rome there were certain dog breeds, that are known currently. One is the Greyhound, which had a special preference for the Romans, who used them as hunting dogs, while the big mastiffs were considered ideal for fighting and war.

Like the current sign “Beware of the Dog”, the Romans wrote “Cave canem”  which means the same in Latin. They were used at that time as watchdogs to accompany grazing animals, for sport and in some cultures, especially in the eastern, were included in religious cults.

Dogs have inherited the eyes, nose and ears of  its ancestor the wolf. These senses have evolved with the new species and adapted in different breeds thanks to “breeding” or “selection”. A good example is the case of greyhounds, which over time have managed to develop even better than the wolf.

Another change that has occurred, in almost all domestic dogs, is that their eyes look more forward than sideways, while in wolves is just the opposite.

The wolf has been reduced in most of its natural areas, in Europe and Asia. Similarly, the African hunting dog and dole are endangered.

Mainly jackals and coyotes continue, perhaps for the large capacity their ability to adapt.  The African hunting dog is one of the most sociable of all members of the canine family, but bear in mind that it is not a true a dog, since it did not come from wolves.  They belong to their own group, the genus Lycaon. They live in large herds and have a versatile communication system, based on body movements and noises, and move during the day to hunt their prey.

Wild dogs were originally scattered in all regions of the world except in Australia, where they were introduced by man. Dingoes, thrive on the Australian continent. Pets were brought there 4,000 years ago by the native Aborigines. These are probably the only pure descendants of the prehistoric domesticate dogs.

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