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Considered as the most common pet in the 21st century, domestic dogs descended from the wolves and jackals. Even though they evolved from cunning animals, dogs have been able to acquire certain qualities through their interactions with human beings. They acquired moral qualities like trustworthiness and general intelligence. Human beings considered dogs to be remarkable animals due to their ability to adjust to the sensitive human cultures. For more than 30,000 years ago, dogs have been living with people, making them components of human culture. Through the years, the perspective in which humans view the dogs have been changing.
Humans initially considered them as food, and in this century, they are pets (Evolution: Library: Evolution of the Dog par. 2). Since they have canines, the dogs played an important role during the hunting periods. With friendship and companionship developed between the dogs and people, domestication greatly influenced human beings’ perceptions on the dogs (Lobell and Powell par. 2). From this background, it is significant to derive a thesis that dogs have been part of human culture for the past 30,000 years. The domestication of canines has turned them into pets for companionship, hunting, and service, but many people do not realise that the domestic dog we know and love today took thousands of years to create.
Over the years, human cultures have been changing due to the rising technologies, social interactions, and economic factors. Human beings began domestication of the dogs during the hunter-gatherer periods in which they viewed dogs differently from the way the present generation views them. The consideration of the dogs to be ‘friends’ to human beings came when people realised the diversified roles the dogs could play besides being viewed as food (College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences par. 5).
Although most people regarded jackal as the origin of the dogs through evolution, most studies have been able to discard that theory, and coined the grey wolf as the origin of the domesticated dogs. Other examples of the family are foxes and coyotes. Archeologists believes that the skeletons of the dogs gathered globally signify that the dogs played a very crucial part more than 10,000 years ago either as sentries, sources of food, and for ritual sacrifices (Lobell and Powell par. 6).
Markedly, both biologists and archeologists began developing interest on the relationship between the grey wolves and modern dogs. The biologists were able to carry out the test on the Mitochondrial DNA derived from more than 1,500 dogs acquired from different areas to establish whether all dogs have a single origin (Evolution: Library: Evolution of the Dog par. 2). Moreover, the scientists wanted to identify whether the grey wolves are the actual ancestors of all the dogs, or there is a possibility that dogs were evolution results of a different animal. Although most studies indicate that gray wolf is the ancestor of the dogs, none of the studies account on how it evolved to several species on dogs available globally (Lobell and Powell par. 4).
This period marked the main turning point in the human culture. Additionally, it was a period characterised by paradigms in human activities. People began cultivating crops and domesticating certain animals like dogs, which generally changed the hunting system to a more sustainable one. Besides dogs acting as traction animals, human beings trained them to guard homesteads and assist in herding activities. Studies conducted on the remains indicate that it existed more than 31,700 years ago (College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences par. 6).
Since the Paleolithic people were the first to occupy the modern Europe, they could be the first fanciers of the dogs. The Aurignacians, Upper Paleolithic people, played an important role in understanding the relationship between people and dogs. According to some scholars, the dogs descended from wolves believed to have gathered near the semi-sedentary hunter and gatherers camps and settlement to eats craps. This formed the basis of the interaction between human beings and the wolves (College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences par. 7).
On the contrary, some scholars indicate from this background that humans did not tame the dogs, but rather the dogs domesticated themselves by following the hunters and gatherers for the leftover craps. Through reproduction, the smaller wolves, which were less aggressive successfully, started living very close to humans. As a result, they integrated themselves into human cultures thus becoming part of them.
Dogs played important roles apart from guarding and assisting in herding. Additionally, they played an important role in relation to spiritual life evidenced from their way of burial. Although they helped in hunting activities, the dogs’ roles as magical creatures played significant role in establishing dog-human relationship. Sacrificing of dogs has been the religious tradition of certain communities in the ancient Greece since they believed that the sacrifice had some spiritual forces (Rogers 101). In addition, the role of dogs as sentries provided safety for the humans because they were able to ward off wild animals considered a threat to human safety and survival.
In the Roman Britain, there were several dogs according to the excavations conducted in various sites. There were various types of skeletons, signifying dogs of different ages ranging from stillborn to ripe old ones. From the analysis of the remnants, scientists were able to deduce that ancient people treated some dogs very well while others were killed deliberately. In addition, from the analysis, some animals with leg fractures without any trace of infection indicated that some dogs acquired proper care.
The Romans favored smaller dogs over the larger ones (Lobell and Powell par. 7). Through the years, domestication of the dogs attracted the attention of the royalty who viewed them as pet rather than animals aiding hunting activities. Royal domestication of dogs began more than 2000 years ago, with Pekingese as their breed of choice. This breed began in the ancient China in which only the royalty had the permission to own them.
In China, they served as religious breeds before the emperors began using them as pets (Neal par. 5). Moreover, the subjects had to bow to the Pekingese. Notably, act of cruelty towards the dogs, or removing them outside was punishable by death. In British, the breed experienced harsh environment built by the power of their cultural beliefs.
Through the years, people have been able to view dogs as their companions. The dogs have been people’s faithful companions since the Neolithic period. In Peru, the archeologist discovered more than 80 dogs buried alongside 2000 people in which every dogs had a grave closer to the owner, indicating the strength of attachment between the animal and human beings (Evolution: Library: Evolution of the Dog par. 4). Besides, this explained how much human beings valued animals even after their death. The main species of dogs used for companion purposes in the modern world are French bulldog, which are quite small.
The species originated from cross breeding between bulldog and local ratters. Most people use it for companion because of its playful and affectionate nature. Furthermore, the dog poses human-required qualities like loyal and loving, making it the best companion dog (College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences par. 9). The American women formed the French Bull Club in a bid to increase its popularity and setting the breeding standard.
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Some dogs have been able to influence the culture of humans through their interactions. For example, human beings used the boxer dogs for hunting activities for centuries because of their strong jaws and ability to hold large preys until the hunters appear. Boxer is the major species of dogs that cushioned the development of hunting activities during the hunter-gatherer era. Rottweiler is another species initially utilised in pulling the carts and herd livestock (Schwartz par. 4).
People and animals have been relying on each other since Neolithic period. Evidently, this is the main factor that brought them together. Through the ages of domestication, human beings found dogs to be beneficial in relation to hunting activities, security services, and to some extent spiritual services. Moreover, they play an important role in offering companion services to the ancient and modern worlds. Besides several species of dogs, the scientists have not been able to establish the actual ancestry of dogs.
Clifton, Wolf. The Evolution and Natural History of Dogs. 2012. Web.
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. A Perfect Companion for the Elderly. 2002. Web.
Evolution: Library: Evolution of the Dog. 2001. Web.
Lobell, Jarrett, and Eric Powell. Archaeology Magazine – More Than Man’s Best Friend. 2010. Web.
Neal, Rome. The Evolving Roles of Dogs. 2003. Web.
Rogers, Katharine. First Friend: A History of Dogs and Humans. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. Print.
Schwartz, Marion. Chapter 1: A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. Yale University Press, 2007. Web.