Original site of Dog domestication questioned

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Original site of Dog domestication questioned

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aug 4, 2009, 12:08pm

and I promise to read it 4 times also!!

aug 4, 2009, 12:14pm

Garp, you need to post this response three more times, else I won't know which thread to follow! Of course if you do that I will have to post this followup three more time, too. On second thought...

aug 4, 2009, 12:50pm

One must admire the dogged determination.

aug 4, 2009, 12:53pm

Doggone LT was having some troubles earlier on

aug 4, 2009, 1:32pm

I've always been fascinated with the dog origin question (helps I'm a dog lover I guess). The book I read recently on the subject by Coppinger even called into question the "how" of dog domestication, though in parts I thought he was taking too narrow an approach to the question; to me it didn't seem like he took things like "accidental aspects" into account and instead focused too much on the technical problems of domesticating a wolf from the pup-stage...as if neolithic man would have been thinking of such things!

aug 4, 2009, 2:12pm

I'm fond of the theory that dogs (wolves) did some of the domestication themselves. As pack animals, connecting with groups makes innate sense to them, and as opportunistic as critters can be, hanging around humans for scraps is also logical. Some wolf pups may have been more interested in the two leggeds than others, and then, as they say, the rest is history.

(Disclaimer: although I am a dog lover and a wolf fan, I am not a biologist or animal behaviorist. I thus concede that my opinions are just that, opinions, and what seems logical or what makes "sense" may have nothing at all to do with actual events.)

aug 4, 2009, 3:12pm

Well yeah, that's part of Coppinger's thesis, that wolves lived around humans for a long time eating their trash and thus growing accustomed to being around them long before anyone tried to grab puppies from a den.

My thing is, I don't think these things have to be mutually exclusive. Domestication need not have occurred only once, and in one way. The self domestication thing is intriguing and I think is very likely. But who knows? People could have still nabbed wolf pups from dens because they were cute, or found them abandoned, or killed their mother and then found the babies and tried to raise them... and these things could have happened over and over and over again! Just because from a technical standpoint wolf pups are only "domesticatable" before a certain point and it's very labour intensive...to me these seem like a dog behavioral biologist impressing his own experiences on the available data, which admittedly is very circumstantial.

aug 4, 2009, 10:24pm


aug 5, 2009, 5:32am

Hey, I'll do the barking here! Arf!

aug 5, 2009, 6:40am

This is a thread for serious discussion. You two are barking up the wrong tree.

aug 5, 2009, 10:18am

Interesting thought here: do wolves bark? I know they howl, but do they bark?

aug 5, 2009, 11:15am

Not really! Barking is a very typical thing of domesticated dogs. Wolves have similar sounds they use in communicating with one another, but you can't really call it a "bark" in the normal sense; and even then it's more characteristic of pups and younger ones.

It's interesting that barking itself is one of the supposed markers of domestication, along with floppy ears, smaller brains/heads/teeth, more spotty colors, and so on. IIRC, the guy that did the experiment on foxes in Russia (ironically, to make a more docile animal that wouldn't attack the people who were about to kill it for its fur) found that as he "domesticated" the foxes, barking was one of the first things he noticed in the adults, along with the other "puppy-like" qualities, I guess you could say.

aug 5, 2009, 6:03pm

wow feicht, you really know your wolves ... I must admit, all kidding aside, this is a subject I knew nothing about. I have been confused in the past about claims of domestication in multiple locations as well as a single type of domesticated animal that spread. I'd really like to learn more about the small dogs resident in the pre-Columbian Americas and how they fit into all of this

Redigeret: aug 9, 2009, 2:29pm

Uch. My own carelessness caused me to lose track of this thread for a week!!

One of the things I find interesting about the early dog-human relationship is that the DNA in the dog bones of pre-Columbian Native Americans show them to be of Old World origin.

In other words, Native Americans did not domesticate dogs in the Americas from local wolves; they brought their dogs with them when they came.

aug 9, 2009, 4:09pm

This has been a fascinating thread, but I'm waiting for one about cats.

aug 9, 2009, 5:36pm

#15 Stellar -- I didn't know that, but that's what I would expect. It seems hard to believe that the creation of a "dog" from wolf could take place too many times independently. Now weren't there only very small dogs in the Americas pre-Columbian?

Here's an interesting article with some info:


aug 9, 2009, 8:31pm

16 > That would assume cats were domesticated (as I shove one out of the way so I can see the danged monitor...)

aug 9, 2009, 11:49pm

>17 Garp83:
Interesting article Garp -- thx.

As it is said, Dogs have owners; Cats have staff.

aug 10, 2009, 12:31am

Scientific American had an article just a month or two ago about where and how cats were domesticated. If I remember correctly the DNA for domesticated cats is closest to a wild cat from the fertile crescent area making that area the likely site of cat domestication and not Egypt as some had previously thought.

aug 10, 2009, 9:39am

Hehe good thoughts re: cat "domestication". Not sure quite when they domesticated us, but that's another story.

Really though, you'd think they must have been either domesticated for either ritual or pest control purposes. Not to break the hearts of the cat lovers out there, but I can't really see them serving any other use, at least to newly sedentary human populations.

"Food" may seem an easy reach at first, given all the jokes about their relation with Chinese food restaurants.... but to this I say... anyone who's ever tried to catch a cat off the top of their shelf after it has knocked everything onto the floor knows that there are MUCH easier things to eat... :-D

aug 10, 2009, 10:16am

The article I mentioned conjectured that wild cats hung around human settlements to catch rodents and they became accustomed to humans that way.

aug 10, 2009, 10:22am

Yeah, grain attracting mice attracting cats... Not saying that's how it happened, but it's a plausible scenario. Makes you wonder what would have happened if early agriculture would have started in another region - we might all be keeping snakes now.

aug 10, 2009, 10:27am

Maybe, but there are wild cats native to every corner of the world (at least the corners where agriculture was likely to develop).

aug 10, 2009, 11:38am

The interesting thing is how fast cats go feral without sufficient human contact. If you don't handle kittens before a certain age, they'll never be really comfortable with people, and even adult cats will pull away from humans if they stop getting sufficient interaction. Given a choice, I'd rather attempt to re-domesticate a dog gone feral than a cat.

Redigeret: aug 10, 2009, 5:00pm

Any animal that will run straight to the top of a tree as if its tail were on fire and then go...Oops! is not for me.

nov 5, 2009, 4:35pm

Back to the dog discussion, Before the Dawn just said (i am still in the middle of it) that dingos came with people to Australia in the first wave of modern humans, 50,000 years ago or thereabouts if i remember that right (which I am sure I dont because my memory is bad, really bad)
But I think I read somewhere else recently - probably After the Ice - that the domestication probably commenced with the dogs being a food source rather than man's best friend.

nov 5, 2009, 5:20pm

In this modern world of ours who domesticates whom. Us or the dog? I suspect my dog has me right where he wants me.

nov 5, 2009, 6:22pm

Kokipy, there is no real consensus these days :-) Personally I think it's not unreasonable to imagine it happening a many different times and for differing reasons.

nov 5, 2009, 9:46pm

Everything I can find contradicts the idea that the dingo arrived with the first human settlers of Australia, or that they even existed as such at that time. Genetic studies suggest a derivation from the Iranian or Arabian wolf 6,000-10,000 years ago, and an introduction into Australia 3,000 to 5,500 years ago.

I don't recall the basis on which Wade made his claim.

nov 6, 2009, 9:27am

I don't either and I read it just a day or so ago :) In a subsequent chapter that I just finished, though, he talks about it more consistently with what you say, Stellar - East Asia 15,000 or so years ago. He says there are several things required for domestication, including tameability of the particular creature - some individuals can't be tamed at all, others are more approachable, and perhaps more important the capacity to read human body language (chimps and wolves can't at all, dogs, even puppies, are great at it which suggests it is an innate characteristic). He says that there are distinctive characteristics in many species of domesticated animals, inlcuding white patches on the pelt, curly hair, shorter tails and floppy ears. He also says that the bark, as opposed to the wolf's howl, was extremely valuable as a warning against raiders and that a wolf that would bark at strangers would be a powerful weapon. He seems quite clear as some said above that the Native Americans brought their dogs with them from Siberia, but that there are none of those dogs left, the Native Americans preferring the dogs subsequently brought from Europe.
(I looked back at the dingo discussion. He refers to the dingos coming with the first people to Australia as semi-domesticated. Perhaps that is the difference. I didn't see what he was relying on for that).

nov 6, 2009, 10:54am

The 15,000 year date sounds like he was talking about the date for the domestication of the dog, not the dingo per se. I believe the descent of the dingo is thought to be slightly later than the earliest dates for the dog.

The idea of dingos coming "semi-domesticated" with the first Australian humans: could he mean in the form of wolf ancestors? But that wouldn't make sense either, because the dingo is thought to have evolved from wolves in Asia, and then to have entered Australia as fully a dingo (~5000 years ago). So I'm still not able to sort that out completely.

Redigeret: nov 6, 2009, 11:02am

No I think semi-domesticated probably means just that, not semi-wolf. Something like: accustomed to human presence but not entirely tame - sounds dangerous.

nov 6, 2009, 11:10am

>33 Nicole_VanK:
Agreed, so I don't think the animal in question could have been a dingo, unless there's something I'm missing.

Redigeret: nov 6, 2009, 1:24pm

I think of our local deer as semi-domesticated. They see humans as a source of food, the decorative plants and gardens we keep, and not as a threat to their safety. Unless you are openly threatening to them they will not run away. They have come to within 5 feet of me, although I try to run them off.

Crows are another creature I think of as semi-domesticated, especially after learning that they can recognize individual human faces.

Now a meat-eating pack animal that sees humans and a source of food, either as prey or scavenging from carcasses humans have killed could be dangerous to have around. I think only the humans consistent success at leaving meat for them to scavenge would keep the humans from becoming prey.

When I was a teenager in rural Ohio for a time we had a pack of dogs that gave up scavenging and was taking calves from local farms so the hunting instinct is not gone. Mooching off humans is just easier.

My boxer was back to the scavenger stage after getting separated from her humans, luckily we humans are very wasteful and she survived long enough for the boxer rescue group to find her.

edit: My profile picture is of my former scavenger, Jinx.

Redigeret: nov 6, 2009, 2:56pm

>33 Nicole_VanK:: He did say dingos, and 50,000 yrs ago, but it sounds as he was mistaken. Semi-domesticated, though, was the phrase, not fully domesticated.
the 15,000 date had to do with the full domestication of dogs from wolves, no dingos mentioned. sorry the above was unclear!

by the way, not that I'm citing him as having the last word on this - I would have no idea about that. I just mentioned it because I'm reading it now and he had something to say about it. You all have much more learning on the subject than I.

nov 6, 2009, 5:26pm

Are dingos a separate species from dogs then? Wikipedia doesn't seem to think so...

The Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is a domestic dog which has reverted to a wild state for thousands of years and today lives largely independent from humans in the majority of its distribution.

nov 6, 2009, 6:03pm

I seem to recall there's a lot of controversy about dog domestication, with some insisting that all dogs are related to one that evolved from the wolf and others suggesting that there were several different evolutions. With the latter I am reminded of the now largely discredited theory of "regionalism" in human evolution rather than the single "Out of Africa" theory that today has the weight of support. To me regionalism never made sense with homa sapiens and it therefore makes no sense with dogs either.

I read Wade and loved it but i can't clearly recall the dingo discussion at all.

nov 6, 2009, 6:34pm

Good call on the racist "regionalism" argument, Garp, but I do think that dogs are a bit different. I really don't see why it couldn't have happened multiple times myself, especially when considering that it is not as if it were a singular event where one person decided to kidnap a wolf puppy and that was it. Coppinger in his Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution provides a rather convincing argument against Neolithic humans having the capacity to raise a wolf cub, but still, I don't think things like logic dictated human behavior 20k years ago any more than they do today! I can certainly imagine people grabbing the cute little puppy dogs and feeding them until they get too big/vicious to keep around. Coppinger goes on and on about scientific measurements and exact specific critical periods after which a wolf could never be domesticated etc etc, but seriously to me... I dunno. Just because it didn't work the first time doesn't mean someone else would never try it, you know? You do something enough times, it might actually work ;-)

However Coppinger also lays out his idea for how wolves essentially domesticated themselves by scavenging in humans' midden heaps; eventually they would have evolved in a way (and relatively quickly) that favoured the smaller, less wolfy looking ones, since people would be more likely to chase the dangerous ones off, AND they wouldn't have to be as big anymore since they'd no longer have to take down big game. This also seems like as good an idea as any to me, and likewise the kind of thing that could have happened all over the place. Essentially, wherever there were humans in any concentration (perhaps even more sedentary hunter-gatherer groups) there would have developed dogs.

It would be great if we could somehow isolate the "dog gene" as it were, but it seems that they have mixed back in with wolves so many times over the years, that it's extremely unlikely to find any divergence point that is old enough to have been the original point when wolves became dogs for the first time.

nov 6, 2009, 8:23pm

I do know that Wade talks about DNA in this regard.... he seems to have found sources that talk about dog genes, and original single source domestication and so on . but I dont vouch for this.

Redigeret: nov 6, 2009, 8:53pm

The jury is still way out on this one, but "parallel evolution" that produces a species with wide varieties that can still all mate with one another and breed without difficulty seems highly unusual if by no means impossible. We certainly don't see that as a rule of thumb in most evolutionary narratives.

So original single source domestication always made the most sense to me. And yet ... there is a lot of conflicting evidence -- even with pretty thorough DNA studies -- to suggest that there is still a lot we don't know. For instance, some studies posit that domestic dogs go back 100,000 years! Another study is firm about 16,000. Sounds like there is a long way to go on this yet.


For whatever it's worth, Dawkins in The Ancestor's Tale -- which I'm reading right now -- seems comfortable that domestication probably occurred multiple times in different regions (I just went back to the page to verify & refresh my memory -- it's a huge, dense book!) and he has some serious cred in evolutionary biology.

Still, I'm willing to wait and see ...

nov 6, 2009, 8:59pm

Garp-- such a super-early date actually makes sense when viewed in light of what I said earlier about the genetic heritage of the dog (that we know so far); that 100kybp date could very well simply be a certain lineage within the wolf population itself where a certain ancestor of the dog in question came from.

nov 6, 2009, 9:12pm

Oh absolutely, but it seems amazing with what we know about homo sapiens at that stage that they would be domesticating dogs, but it is not necessarily improbable. In any event, dog domestication seems to me somewhat unique. I am intrigued enough to read a bit more on this.

So naturally I pulled Wade off the shelf. He says the earliest dog bone that has been found is a mere 14,000 years old and that while some studies have suggested dates as early as 135,000 years (!!!!), he favors the mitochondrial DNA evidence that points to 15,000 years ago, which is why he is convinced of single origin -- Wade tells us that the other theory of three separate domestications would have to require a date of 40,000 years ago and again no fossil evidence shows up until 14K BP.

I also didn't realize until re-reading this section (pp.110-113) that all canid (wolves, coyotes, jackels, dogs) species can interbreed!

Redigeret: nov 6, 2009, 9:19pm

>37 jjwilson61:
Same species, but apparently not possible to distinguish the dingo from other members of the species until 5000 or so bp. A population of dog isolated from other dogs since that time.

"Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Aug 17;101(33):12387-90. Epub 2004 Aug 6.
A detailed picture of the origin of the Australian dingo, obtained from the study of mitochondrial DNA.

Savolainen P, Leitner T, Wilton AN, Matisoo-Smith E, Lundeberg J.

Department of Biotechnology, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. savo@biotech.kth.se

To determine the origin and time of arrival to Australia of the dingo, 582 bp of the mtDNA control region were analyzed in 211 Australian dingoes sampled in all states of Australia, 676 dogs from all continents, and 38 Eurasian wolves, and 263 bp were analyzed in 19 pre-European archaeological dog samples from Polynesia. We found that all mtDNA sequences among dingoes were either identical to or differing by a single substitution from a single mtDNA type, A29. This mtDNA type, which was present in >50% of the dingoes, was found also among domestic dogs, but only in dogs from East Asia and Arctic America, whereas 18 of the 19 other types were unique to dingoes. The mean genetic distance to A29 among the dingo mtDNA sequences indicates an origin approximately 5,000 years ago. From these results a detailed scenario of the origin and history of the dingo can be derived: dingoes have an origin from domesticated dogs coming from East Asia, possibly in connection with the Austronesian expansion into Island Southeast Asia. They were introduced from a small population of dogs, possibly at a single occasion, and have since lived isolated from other dog populations."

If early dog domestication date, why not archeologic evidence for dogs coexisting with humans during 100,000 to 15,000 BP?

Much more to say on this fascinating topic, but I'm leaving town for the weekend. Bye--

nov 6, 2009, 9:21pm

Well that is Wade's point, Stellar. I mean if we have no fossill evidence prior to 14,000 years ago it makes it difficult to accept the old dates on faith, however interesting it may be

nov 6, 2009, 9:24pm

Yeah, but apparently he is suggesting an old date -- Kokipy's 50,000 years ago with the first Australians. So I don't really get what Wade is suggesting. Have to go dig out the book, I guess.

nov 6, 2009, 9:30pm

I don't find the 50,000 y.o. reference but I'm looking

nov 6, 2009, 9:34pm

Great. I'll check back on next login from remote and secret location.

nov 6, 2009, 9:36pm

Say hi to Dick Cheney LOL

nov 6, 2009, 10:33pm

Hehehe :-D

And yeah Garp, that very "interbreedability" is what muddies the water so much! Most scientists favour a direct wolf-to-dog lineage, but considering the fact that all the dogs in my house are perfectly capable of mating with coyotes (well they could if they weren't neutered :-D) it seems to me at least probable that some coyote or fox or other DNA has crept in there at some point...

nov 7, 2009, 7:18am

>46 stellarexplorer:, 47 I think that reference was around page 84 - look in the index at dogs, I think - it was when he was talking about the first people to get to Australia, which was not too long after the 50,000 exit from Africa.

nov 7, 2009, 3:01pm

I have learned that one of the arguments against the dog being in Australia prior to 12,000 BP is that there are no dog remains found in Tasmania, which was connected to the Australian mainland until that time.

Redigeret: nov 7, 2009, 3:20pm

This recent book was highly regarded by readers Dog behaviour, evolution, and cognition
By Adam Miklósi. He traces the genetic and archeologic evidence, including the arguments for an older dog domestication. I wish I could quote from Google books, but I don't know if there is a way. The response to my question "If earlier, why no dog finds a human sites before 15,000 BP?" seems to be "Maybe dogs were not morphologically distiguishable from wolves during the early period of domestication." I find this a dubious claim, as we see that the morphological changes (consistent with neotony) are part of alternate genetic hormonally-mediated programs that can emerge quickly as in Dmitri Belyaev's work. Miklosi supports a late introduction of the dingo into Australia, and a likely 15,000 to 20,000 BP date for dog domestication, though he admits the issue is not settled.

I'm not seeing much support for the Wade Assertion.

Redigeret: nov 7, 2009, 5:37pm

How morphologically different were the Belyaev foxes though really? I mean they were fluffier, had floppy ears, were more docile, and barked... but that's not the kind of stuff that would show up in the fossil record. What Belyaev's work does show though (IMO) is how quickly wolves could have become dogs (within a few generations, whether they were domesticating themselves or being domesticated by people). This is one of the reasons why I remain open to the possibility of it happening a number of times in different places. I just don't see the evidence for one singular event, whereby dogs and wolves became irrevocably separated; we know they are perfectly capable of interbreeding even today, and in pre-modern society when there were many more wolves, it seems this would have been practically commonplace. It seems perfectly rational to me that individual pockets of dogs could have "reverted" to the wild time and time again, perhaps to be "redomesticated" again at a later date. Anyone who spends time around animal shelters knows exactly how fast dogs can start on the track back to "wolfhood", except today we call it being "feral."

nov 9, 2009, 12:48am

Point taken. The speed of the potential transition is the important thing, not the alternate genetic program which wouldn't show up in an archeological find.

aug 3, 2011, 4:52pm

Early putative dog skull with transitional features found in Siberia: 33,000 yBP


The author is clearly in the "they domesticated themselves" camp.

aug 4, 2011, 9:20am

Never seen this thread before, so forgive me for a slightly tangential paragraph going back a couple of years.

#13 - I also was under the impression that wolves didn't bark, but I was watching a documentary on wolves and was quite surprised to see and hear them barking in a quite dog-like manner to warn off a bear. This was quite a while back and the only two things I now remember about the documentary are the wolves barking and my exasperation that the commentary didn't comment on it. The sound was a little lacking in power and resonance compared to, say, a German Shepherd, but there was nothing about it that would have struck the attention had you not been able to see what was barking - 'just a dog barking'.

Redigeret: jun 4, 2012, 4:02pm

This article argues for an earlier dog domestication, but focuses on the possibility that dog-human partnership played a role in H. Sapiens success in competing with Neanderthals:


jun 4, 2012, 9:53pm

Thanks for that article. I'm always interested in this dog domestication stuff :-D

jun 4, 2012, 10:08pm

I'd like to talk about this but I have dog chores ...
I've skimmed this topic and saw no mention of How the Dog Became the Dog by Mark Derr. Highly recommended.

jun 5, 2012, 1:45am

I heard about that one on NPR a while back. I'm sure I'll pick it up eventually :-D

nov 15, 2013, 3:46am

Far from settled, but a new study argues for a European origin of the dog:


nov 16, 2013, 2:32pm

maj 21, 2015, 10:23pm

This recent article in Nature finds that dogs may have been domesticated as early as 45,000 years BP, pushing back the origin date by thousands of years.


maj 22, 2015, 6:32am

So we've been barking up the wrong tree?

Sorry, couldn't resist....

maj 22, 2015, 8:02am

Gives one paws for thought ...

maj 22, 2015, 9:11am

GRRRReat one! ...and no more from me. I'll behave, I swear.

maj 25, 2015, 5:36am

I've long-imagined - though without any proof - that certain packs of wolves might have taken to 'shadowing' groups of humans rather as I believe - though I can't remember chapter and verse - jackal packs are sometimes closely associated with lion prides, feeding of leftover bits of kill and so forth (or I may be thinking of hyenas - can't remember). The wolves being tolerated, as long as not too aggressive, for their benefits as scavengers and guard dogs.

Could it be that such a symbiotic relationship went on for tens of thousands of years with the wolves physically unchanged, with imperatives for changes that could show up in the fossil record somehow associated either with humans' transition from hunter-gatherers to pastoralists or the retreat of the ice?

nov 28, 2016, 12:40am

Nice summary of the current state of the debate on dog evolution:


nov 28, 2016, 8:50pm

>69 stellarexplorer:

... that will emerge over the next decade ...

Wow. Ten years. A bit long to wait with bated breath, but that's the way I feel about it. Then I never had much patience.

nov 29, 2016, 12:35am

I'd maybe have a snack to tide you over :)

dec 4, 2016, 12:03pm

>69 stellarexplorer: Thank you for this. Fascinating study. I look at my Sammie and I see very little wolf in her Boxer face. She is definitely a prime example of the neoteny mentioned in the article. We call her our forever puppy, despite her size.

dec 4, 2016, 2:32pm

>72 clamairy: Modern boxers are one of those breeds which over the last half century have been bred for more and more neoteny in their faces. The boxers of my youth had much less smoosh to their muzzles.

So many dogs that I loved in my mid-century youth simply aren't the same critters anymore, with differences in both structure and temperament. The modern purebred breed is an amazing example of human intervention.

Redigeret: dec 4, 2016, 8:09pm

>73 PhaedraB: Yes, you're right. I had two boxers until a couple of months ago. The slightly older one had much more mastiff still visible in her face. She was a good two or three inches longer in the legs and had a longer body than my younger dog. She was much larger than what is now considered breed standard. Still she definitely looked more like the boxer on the right!

I found this side-by-side photo's to illustrate your point.

And here's a 1950s era boxer. My Rosie was definitely a throwback to this era. Might be hard to see much of a difference, but the neck was longer and the body leaner.

dec 4, 2016, 8:31pm

What's happened to English Bulldogs may wipe out the breed. I loved dachshunds growing up, but not now, too many problems.

Here's a good summary that includes your boxer:

Redigeret: dec 4, 2016, 10:41pm

>75 PhaedraB: Yes, that's where I swiped the boxer photo. The past & present bulldog photos are thoroughly depressing.

dec 5, 2016, 12:07am

>76 clamairy: I think it was Smithsonian Magazine that had a long article about bulldogs a few years back. The breed is so messed up some people say that letting them breed is animal cruelty. They're never not uncomfortable to miserable.

dec 5, 2016, 11:14am

We only have shelter dogs and we always get dogs that are very, very mixed. We had DNA testing done on our current dog, who is tempermentally everything a dog owner could want in a dog, and found that he has markers from at least fifteen breeds or types. He's a gorgeous dog, weighs 45 lbs, long body, short legs, full snout, no dockings and no health issues. If you want a pet to impress others, or if you wish to work/hunt, then specific breeds are important, otherwise get a heinz 57 and train them well. They'll love you for it, and show their love in numerous ways.

dec 5, 2016, 12:59pm

>78 geneg: I'm sure that's a wonderful option for many people. It didn't work out so well for us, I'm afraid. We adopted a mixed breed five month old pup back in the summer of '04. He was fine for the first 6 months or so, and then became increasingly aggressive. In May of '05 he attacked my 10 year old son, ripping a a gash in his face. I was in the room at the time and the attack was totally unprovoked. I called the shelter I'd adopted him from hoping they would take him back and find him a home with no children. Not a chance. I had to have him euthanized. It was traumatic for all of us. So seven month later we opted for a very young boxer because we familiar with the breed and figured we knew exactly what we we getting. I have no regrets. Now that my kids are grown I would give a shelter dog another shot without hesitation, but I would insist on it being very young this time. Probably no older than 10 weeks.

dec 5, 2016, 1:59pm

>79 clamairy: You're better off getting a pup who's been with its mama for 12-16 weeks. Pups are socialized by their mamas and litter mates. The younger they are when separated, the larger the potential for problems. (I was housemate to a dog trainer/breeder for a time. Her pups stay with mama for 5-8 months.)

dec 5, 2016, 3:00pm

>80 PhaedraB: That's not a likely history for a shelter dog though, is it?

dec 5, 2016, 5:02pm

>81 clamairy: Probably not, but hard to say. I used to be a shelter volunteer. Critters wind up there for all sorts of strange reasons. But I don't recommend getting too young a puppy from anywhere.

Sometimes the younger pups are fostered, so they are at least in households with other dogs and possibly litter mates. Other dogs give lots of lessons on manners to young pups.

You can also look for shelters that have programs such as Dogs Playing for Life, which really help with socialization. My local shelter adopted that program and I was very impressed.


jul 19, 2017, 10:48am

I've just been reading this (after seeing a quite distorted version on the BBC News site) - https://www.nature.com/news/ancient-genomes-heat-up-dog-domestication-debate-1.2...

Something's puzzling me, though - I don't know if I'm missing something obvious - about these two sentences -

The researchers estimate that dogs and wolves diverged genetically between 36,900 and 41,500 years ago, and that eastern and western dogs split 17,500–23,900 years ago. Because domestication had to have happened between those events, the team puts it somewhere from 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Why does it have to have happened between those two events? I'd assumed that dogs diverged from the ancestral wolf either after they'd been domesticated or during the process.

Redigeret: jul 19, 2017, 11:23am

>83 alaudacorax: My guess would be that the researchers are postulating an intermediate stage where dogs have adapted as a species to living around humans but aren't quite domesticated. I presume that they have some technical definition of domesticated that is narrower than the common definition.

ETA: Also note that the earlier date they give for domestication lies within the range given for speciation so that last sentence about it happening between the two events must be an over-simplification of what they really think.

jul 19, 2017, 11:41am

>83 alaudacorax: >84 jjwilson61: Makes sense to me that genetic changes that followed the new dog-human relationship would come only over time. It wouldn't make sense that they came first, so the question would seem to be how long it took to see those genetic changes after the events that brought the wolf/protodog into a new way of living. Then then, as jjw says, we have to wonder exactly what is meant by domestication here. It seems to me more explanation was warranted in the article.

jul 20, 2017, 8:20am

And then there's this -


It makes sense, I suppose - if I'm understanding correctly, they are saying that ancient humans would have selected for dogs that obviously liked them - we all like being liked ...

jul 20, 2017, 1:06pm

That was fascinating. Gene modification in dogs occurs in the same gene set that in humans is involved in social/hypersocial behavior. Wow.

Also, while not new, on the topic of >83 alaudacorax::

"However, unlike previous research which suggests that, during the process of domestication, dogs were selected for a set of cognitive abilities, particularly an ability to discern gesture and voice, vonHoldt and Shuldiner’s research posits that dogs were instead selected for their tendency to seek human companionship."

Which speaks to the issue of what traits, and by extension what genes, were bred for after protodogs were coexisting with humans.

jul 20, 2017, 1:55pm

>87 stellarexplorer: re >83 alaudacorax: "Bred for" is perhaps getting ahead of things. You're talking about a semi-wild animal that hangs around with people because it kinda likes them. So the proto-dogs themselves would be selecting their breeding partners simply by who was in the vicinity. In an evolutionary sense, the proto-dog was filling an ecological niche.

The social aspect, being able to get social satisfaction from another species, creates its own isolated population. Those of their species who didn't like that niche ("People? Yuck!") self-selected out of the breeding group.

jul 20, 2017, 2:11pm

>88 PhaedraB: So to clarify, I used "bred for" as a shorthand for something we can speculate about but know very little about. It is not clear over what period and by what agency changes occurred. Nor whether we would call the dog experiencing selective pressure "semi-wild" or not. I suspect without proof that changes and selective pressures operated over a long period of time and at different stages of protodog and dog status, and along a emerging dimension of the developing dog/human relationship.