The relationship between man and dogs can be traced back to thousands of years. Although dogs continue to play very important roles int he lives of humans for so very long, the exact details on how and when they were domesticated continue to be a juicy topic as new shreds of evidence are unearthed by archaeologists and paleontologists. Several theories try to establish the evolutionary route. But many experts believe that the most probable ancestor of today’s dogs is the wolf.
The domestication of dogs continues to be an interesting topic of debate. Various theories try to explain the origin and history of dogs. The most popular theory traces the origin of dogs back 60 million years ago to a small mammal called ‘Miacis’. Many paleontologists and archaeologists believed that Miasis is the ancestor of today’s dogs, wolves, foxes, and jackals.
As to the time and location of domestication of dogs, there is strong genetic evidence that it first occurred in Central Asia or China more than 15,000 years ago. However, some experts believe dogs were domesticated as early as 18,800-21,300 years ago in Europe. There is recent evidence showing dogs were domesticated twice. This is often referred to as the ‘dual-origin theory’.
Dogs became man’s best friend when humans were still in the hunting-gathering stage, long before people were engaged in agriculture and farming.
Creating new breeds of dogs were undertaken to accentuate certain canine instincts. Artificial selection and genetic manipulation were made to produce offspring that conform to specific physical features. From being bred to work in farms as guard dogs and hunting buddies, most dogs are now kept as household pets and companions. Modern breeds of dogs were believed to be created in Victorian Britain about 150 years ago. The name of the breed was based on the dog’s form and not their function. Dogs have to meet strict standards established by organizations that officially recognize canine breeds. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FIC) and The American Kennel Club (AKC) require DNA and genotype testing to ensure that the new breed possesses DNA that is unique and distinct from other established breeds.
Read more: Basics of Dog Breeds
The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) or the World Canine Organization officially recognizes 360 breeds of dogs. Like humans, dogs come in various sizes, colors, builds, and personalities. Some dogs like the French Bulldog and Basset Hound adapt well to living in an apartment. For families with pets, great picks include the Pug, Golden Retriever, or Labrador Retriever. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly dog, the Labrador and Golden Retrievers top the list. Other breeds that make great pets for kids include Pugs, Beagles, Poodles, Bulldogs, and Border Collies.
If you or any member of the family are prone to allergies, there are the so-called hypoallergenic breeds that are known to shed less than most dogs. With less shedding, there will be less amount of dander and allergens in the environment. The most popular hypoallergenic breeds include the Portuguese Water Dog, Poodle, Brussel’s Griffon, Yorkshire Terrier, Schnauzer, and the Shih Tzu.
When it comes to grooming needs, most short-haired canine breeds like the Boxer, Italian Greyhound, Dalmatian, Rottweiler, Whippet, and Weimaraner are very easy to groom. On the other hand, long-haired breeds like the Afghan Hound, Old English Sheepdog, and the Puli have more complex grooming needs. They will need regular brushing to keep their long hair coat free from mats and tangles. And there are the curly-haired pooches whose hair coat curls may be tight, woolly, or wavy. Toy poodles, Bedlington Terriers, Bichon Frise, Labradoodle, and Portuguese Water Dogs are just some canine breeds that possess a distinct genetic trait for curly hair.
When it comes to training, some dogs are easier to train while there are those which are strong-willed and stubborn, thus training them can be a challenge. Some of the most intelligent and highly trainable dog breeds include the Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Poodle, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and the Border Collie among others.
There are canine breeds that are more prone to developing certain health issues compared to other dogs. Purebreds tend to be more prone to health issues because of inbreeding and genetic mutation. Some of these breeds include Basset Hounds, English Bulldog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Weimaraner, and Newfoundland just to name a few.
For pet owners who work away from home for a good part of the day, some dogs won’t mind being left home alone and are less prone to developing separation anxiety. The best home alone dogs include the Pug, French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Basenji, Akita, Miniature Schnauzer, and Bull Mastiff. And there are the breeds with the worst separation anxieties. They hate being left alone and can easily develop feelings of anxiety and fear which can fuel the development of undesirable behaviors. Some of these dogs include the Chihuahua, German Shepherd, French Bulldog, Toy Poodle, Maltese, Labrador Retriever, and Pomeranian.
Some dogs have a strong prey drive. They can hardly resist anything that moves– from rabbits to squirrels to cats to dogs– and won’t have second thoughts about chasing after them. Some of the top breeds on the list are the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Border Collie, Beagle, Terriers, Greyhound, Saluki, and Chihuahua.
Canine breeds can easily be recognized because of certain distinct features. Some dogs, like the Akita Inu and Belgian Malinois, have ears that are prominently erect and pointy, while the Beagle, Dachshund, Labrador Retriever, and Basset Hound have long, pendulous ears. There are also breeds with strikingly blue eyes, such as the Siberian Husky, Border Collie, Shih Tzu, Pit Bull, and Australian Shepherd.
For pet owners with active lifestyles, a canine running buddy would certainly be a treat! Most of these dogs were originally bred for farm work and hunting. Some dogs that would make ideal running mates include the Vizsla, Malamute, Siberian husky, German Short-haired Pointer, Jack Russel, and Greyhound.
Say goodbye to the old wives’ tales that cats and dogs don’t get along fine because they can actually do! While it is not a given that all dogs and cats can live harmoniously, there are ways to help pave a way for a multi-pet household to thrive without the frequent hassles and scuffles between pets.
When there is a new addition to the household, making the proper introductions is very important to ensure a smooth transition. Dogs and cats have different personalities and they possess distinct instincts that even domestication hasn’t totally erased. What happens during the transition period is going to be a deal-breaker. It’s a period of adjustment for both the resident pet/s and the newcomer. All interactions should be closely supervised and a new pet should never be left alone with the resident pet/s.
Pets that have been properly socialized tend to have an easier time adjusting to a new pet. Socialization is a very important part of the development of cats and dogs, and it should start as early as possible. Positive experiences during socialization can make pets more amenable to changes in their immediate environment. Well-trained pets can easily be controlled. Obedience training is a basic regimen that all puppies must undergo.
Some canine breeds that can live well under the same roof with cats include the Beagle, Basset Hound, Bulldog, Border Collie, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Golden Retriever, poodles, Labrador Retriever, Pug, Newfoundland, and Maltese.
Read more: Dog Breeds That Are OK With Cats
Like people, dogs differ in their personalities and temperament. Thus, some breeds can make great pets for families with kids while some can be too big, too strong, too feisty, or too unmanageable to be pets for kids of any age.
Bringing home a pet should never be done on impulse. Careful consideration of important factors can go a long way in bringing home a perfect fit. Make an effort to learn as much as you can about the breed/s that you are interested in so you will be sure if the dog’s a good fit for your family and your living conditions.
Among the top breeds of dogs that will make great pets for kids of all ages include the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Border Collie, Beagle, Bulldog, Newfoundland, Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Read more: Dog Breeds That Are Great With Kids
In general, smaller canine breeds live longer than their larger counterparts. However, other factors can influence a dog’s longevity, such as the care and attention a dog gets, inbreeding and crossbreeding, and spaying or neutering.
Responsible pet ownership entails understanding the needs of pets and making sure to meet them appropriately every single day for the rest of the animal’s life. These basic needs include a life stage-appropriate, complete and balanced diet, shelter, physical and mental stimulation, proper veterinary attention, vaccinations, etc.
Between cross-breeding and inbreeding, cross-breeds tend to live longer because they tend to have fewer problems compared to purebred dogs. The offspring of inbreeding run a higher risk of carrying genes for medical problems that can commonly affect the breed.
Every responsible pet owner fully realizes the importance of spaying or neutering pets. These procedures can lower the risk or altogether prevent some types of cancer and serious medical issues that can affect the reproductive system.
Some breeds of dogs that live the longest include the Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Poodles, Jack Russel Terrier, Boston Terrier, Maltese, Pomeranian, Labrador Retriever, Pug, Miniature Schnauzer, Dachshund, Beagle, Lhasa Apso, and Shetland Sheepdog.
Read more: Dog Breeds That Live The Longest
With so many breeds of dogs out there for the picking, considering several important factors carefully before deciding what breed could fit in your life is of primary importance. Pet ownership is a commitment and responsibility to provide for all your pet’s needs for their entire lifetime.
Pet ownership is a commitment. You have to be willing to commit your time, effort, money, and resources to meet your pet’s needs. With domestication, pets fully depend on their owners to meet their needs and this is what every pet owner should know. Anyone eager to bring home a dog should ask themselves, “am I ready for the commitment?”
Getting a dog should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Many dogs that have been brought home based on impulsive decisions have ended up abandoned, in overcrowded shelters, and even euthanized.
Some of the most popular breeds that would make excellent house dogs include the Labrador Retriever, Beagle, German Shepherd, Boxer, Dachshund, Siberian Husky, Great Dane, Miniature Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, Pomeranian, Corgi, Chihuahua, Mastiff, Cocker Spaniel, Pug, Collie, and Yorkshire Terrier, Bichon Frise, Basenji, and Bulldog.
Read more: Dog Breeds Suitable for Home