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Dogs: Their Origins

Animal DNA research studies show that man’s best friend, the dog, slowly evolved from wolves around 15,000 years ago after humans began selectively breeding wolves. God created wolves, but the origins of all dog breeds, from Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Poodles to Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles and Boxers, can be traced back thousands of years to when humans first began breeding wolves. (Note: For more information about the origin of dogs, click here)

Dog Characteristics

Two distinct characteristics distinguish dogs from all other animals. First, dogs and humans have always shared very strong social attachments, a dependency bond not commonly found in other human-animal relationships. Second, different dog breeds are physically and temperamentally much different from each other, far more so than other animal species. Some dog breeds, for example, are very large while others, like the Chihuahua, are extremely small. These and other varied physical characteristics, as well as the marked temperament differences between dog breeds, clearly illustrate how human-controlled breeding has produced such widely varied dog breeds, both in terms of their physical makeup as well as in their social behaviors.

Evolution of Dog Breeds

It’s estimated there are now upward to 800 different dog breeds. Only about 150 of these breeds, however, are populated throughout the world. All 800 dog breeds, however, as we noted eariler, were created by humans through selective breeding, a process dog breeders continue to use to create entirely new breeds or to further improve the pedigree qualties of existing breeds. While some breeds were developed thousands of years ago, most, however, are relatively new, and were created within the past 500 years. The German Sheperd breed, for example, only dates back to the late 1800s, even though they’re now one of the world’s most popular dog breeds. (Note: To learn more about different AKC dog breeds, click here.)

A Native American Folk Tale

“The earth trembled and a great rift appeared, separating the first
man and woman from the rest of the animal kingdom.  As the
chasm grew deeper and wider, all other creatures, afraid for
their lives, returned to the forest - except for the dog, who after
much consideration, leapt the perilous rift to stay with the humans
on the other side. His love for humanity was greater than
his bond for other creatures, he explained, and he willingly
forfeited his place in paradise to prove it.”

Excerpt from The Lost History of the Canine Race,
Author: Mary Elizabeth Thurston.

Man’s Best Friend

Dogs are indeed great friends and wonderful companions. If given proper care from the time they’re born, dogs will stay basically healthy throughout their enire lives. Even so, when you purchase your dog, be sure it doesn’t have any serious health problems by immediately scheduling a checkup with your family’s veterinarian.

Information Resources

We have developed this Web site to provide you with lots of dog health care information, including symptom information to help you identify those dog diseases and other health problems that commonly affect dogs and other household pets. On the upper righthand side of this page is the site’s “Dog Index,” which includes an assortment of health care information and other dog related information categories.

In closing, we would like to sincerely thank you for visiting Animal Hospitals USA and to encourage you to explore the site’s other pet care information resources. Our mission is to help pet owners provide their pets the best possible care. Without a doubt, owning a pet is one of life’s most wonderful pleasures.