Origins of the Domestic Dog
The origin of the domestic dog began with the domestication of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) several tens of thousands of years ago. Domesticated dogs provided early humans with a guard animal, a source of food, fur, and a beast of burden. The process continues to this day, as the intentional cross-breeding of dogs continues, to create the so called "designer dogs".
The English word dog might derive from the Old English “docga”, a "powerful breed of canine”.
Some possible routes which may have led to the domestication of dogs include,orphaned wolf cubs,self-domestication, as a beast of burden and even as a source of food and fur.
Archaeology has placed the earliest known domestication at potentially 30,000 BC, and with certainty at 7,000 BC. Other evidence suggests that dogs were first domesticated in East Asia.
Due to the difficulty in assessing the structural differences in bones, the identification of a domestic dog based on cultural evidence is of special value. Perhaps the earliest clear evidence for this domestication is the first dog found buried together with human from 12,000 years ago in Israel.
This rapid evolution of dogs from wolves is an example of neoteny. As with many species, the young wolves are more social and less dominant than adults; therefore, the selection for these characteristics, is more likely to result in a simple retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood than to generate a complex of independent new changes in behaviour.
The term "designer dog" appeared in the late 20th century, when breeders began to cross purebred poodles with other purebred breeds in order to obtain a dog with the poodles' hypoallergenic coat, along with various desirable characteristics from other breeds.
One connotation of the term "designer dog" is that the breeding is by design, between a deliberately chosen sire and dam, as opposed to an accidental breeding. A few breeders have taken this a step further,...