From Wolf To Dog: A History Of Selective Dog Breeding



The first animal to be domesticated by man was the dog. Originating from wolves, our best of friends have been around for a far longer period of time than anyone previously thought. While the cow or the pig were domesticated some four or five thousand years ago, the dog has been a separate species, and around humans for more than 20,000 years. That’s 8,000 years more than when man first discovered agriculture or animal husbandry.

It’s not certain where people started domesticating wolves, and its believed that it started in several places around the globe. Going from wolf to dog is a long process. A process of many generations of selective breeding, where certain traits are sought for above others. This is how so many breeds of dog exist today, as people across the world have been looking for different qualities and attributes in their dogs. That’s why we today have dogs like the Great Danes or like Chihuahuas.

Now, depending on where these breeds emerged from, in which region of the world, they are descendants of different species of wolf. For example, mastiffs and terriers can trace their origins back to the European Gray Wolf, while Huskies and Malamutes to the North American Wolf. But regardless of which wolf species they originated from, they are all descendants of the Gray Wolves. Take a look at the infographic below and see for yourself where your dog originates from.

going from wolf to dog