Can wild wolves be domesticated like dogs?
But who came up to whom first - the wolf to the human or the human to the wolf? There is much to suggest that the wolf sought to be close to humans in order to get something from their prey.
But people also quickly understood that you could teach the wild animal something and that it could also help with hunting.
At some point the first wolf pups were probably raised by hand. The formerly wild animals got more and more used to humans and became tame over time.
Where the first wolves were domesticated and developed into domestic dogs has not been definitively established. The latest studies assume that the origin was in East Asia, from where the dog spread to Europe and then on to America.
Different countries, different dogs
The dog was and is not treated the same in all countries. In ancient Egypt, like the cat, it was sacred. God-like qualities were ascribed to him.
That's why he had his own servants, wore expensive jewelry, and got the best food. Only the Pharaoh was allowed to own purebred dogs. After his death, his favorite dog was often buried with him to protect the Pharaoh from suffering in the afterlife.
In Europe, the Middle East, and North America, paintings on walls, graves, and scrolls suggest that dogs hunted with humans during the Bronze Age.
Dog statues were also found guarding the entrance of graves. These findings show that dogs were of great importance to humans at an early age.
Today, especially in Europe and the USA, they are pampered as pets, while in developing countries and in many parts of Asia they often live neglected on the streets, used as workhorses or even eaten.
Man breeds specialists
Humans soon began to cross breed dogs with certain characteristics in a targeted manner. That is why there are around 350 different races today.
Dachshunds and terriers, for example, are particularly good at tracking down foxes and badgers in their burrows. Retriever dogs such as the Golden Retriever or the Labrador bring the game back to the hunter.
When people settled down and agriculture and livestock farming became more important than hunting, shepherd dogs and guard dogs were added. Small breeds like the Pekingese were primarily bred to be lap dogs.
To this day, the different races have retained their characteristics that were important for their originally intended task. Therefore, future dog owners should carefully consider which breed suits them best. A sporty dog, for example, needs a lot of exercise and a guard dog may defend its territory at all costs.
How do dogs communicate?
Dogs are social animals and prefer to live with people or other dogs rather than alone. Because of this, they depend on communicating with others.
Dogs have a repertoire of barking, growling and howling at their disposal. But does the dog want to warn, ask to play, is it afraid or is it injured? People often have to learn the dog's language first in order to understand it properly.
Dogs do not only express themselves through sounds, but also through body language. For example, they lie on their backs and open their throats to the other, or they pinch their tail and put their ears on, crouch or wag their tails. Depending on the situation, they show submission, fear, excitement or joy.
Their social streak makes dogs - unlike loners like cats - not only devoted companions, but also ideal helpers: as guide dogs they lead their masters, as police dogs they sniff out drugs or detect explosives, and as therapy dogs they can detect the condition of patients significantly improve.
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