History of the Dog

Although the origins of today's dog are shrouded in the mysteries of time, archaeological evidence suggests that dogs had been domesticated as far back as 10,000 BC. Early remains have been found in present-day Denmark and West Germany.

Very likely, the canine is the result of a mixing of genes from the many different types of canids, which is the family of which the dog is a member. Other members include wolves, coyotes, jackals, dingos and foxes, all of which can interbreed. There are over 30 different species of canids. They exist everywhere - from the jungles of South America to the glaciers of Arctic Canada.

Not only do dogs share physical similarities between the skeletal structure of other canids, many behavioral and instinctive traits we see demonstrated by our domesticated dogs are typical of the pack hierarchy of canids. Canids are noted for their intelligence, strength and adaptability.

Stone-aged people tamed dogs to help them track and hunt for food. About eight thousand years ago, ancient Egyptians raised Saluki hunting dogs. Saluki is an arabic word meaning noble one. These dogs are probably the oldest known breed.Although many among many others. Probably the first domesticated use of dogs, other than hunting, was for herding purposes. Shepherds have used dogs to assist for millenia.

Eventually, man began to realize dogs could be used to perform other functions in society. Selective breeding was used to develop dogs suitable to fulfill these specific tasks - guarding the village, attack dogs during wars and carrying or hauling goods were just a few examples. In relationship to their size, dogs can haul prodigious weights as evidenced by such breeds as the American Eskimo dog. Special dogs are trained today for many tasks to help humans.

As the popularity of dogs as companions developed in the mid 19th century, breeding became more deliberate with the idea to produce breeds suitable to more specific purposes. The introduction of breed or kennel clubs encouraged not only the introduction of the "pet", they were also primarily responsible for the growth in breeds today considered show dogs. Kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club (AKC), introduced accepted breed specific traits and introduced the idea of groups of dogs, such as sporting group, toy group and working group.