Origin of Dogs – the Incredible Journey from the Wolf

Origin of the domestic Dog

The number of canine races is immense and come from the same ancestor, the Wolf, of which they have in common more than what differentiates them, according to the geneticists

How Wolf convert to Dog

From the little Chihuahua to the huge Great Dane. The number of dog breeds is immense; And varieties of size, coat or physical characteristics grow over time. However, all dogs belong to the same species and, in essence, are more similar than their physical appearance suggests. The variety of dog breeds intrigued scientists, who have studied why and how it is possible that there are so many different dogs and how the wolf has undergone two major transformations to become a dog, not one as previously believed. The results of his astounding research are explained below.

Werewolves wander into dogs!

The dog ( Canis lupus familiaris) is one of the most variable species in size, appearance, and even behavior. But from the shar-pei and its wrinkles to the mastiff, all the dogs come from a common species: the wolf. Dogs are extraordinary animals, have been among us longer than any other domestic species and have a variety of shapes and sizes astonishing, which has allowed them to occupy a large number of ecological niches,” says veterinarian James Serpell, editor Of ‘ The Domestic Dog: Evolution, Behavior, and Interaction with People ‘ (Cambridge University Press, 1995).

The exact moment when the first wolf was transformed into a can, also generate debate and has been the subject of interesting and numerous investigations. A recent DNA study reveals that dogs are descendants of the gray wolf, and their first canine trace goes back to China, about 33,000 years ago. “The origin and evolution of the domestic dog are still a controversial issue among the scientific community,” admits Swedish geneticist Peter Savolainen of the KTH Institute of Technology.

Wolf art design

The works of Savolainen try to clarify the canine mystery. To do this, he has analyzed the complete genome of 58 canids: 12 gray wolves (the distant cousins of the domestic dog), 27 primitive dogs from Asia and Africa and 19 other current domestic dogs of different breeds around the world. And surprise! According to the geneticist, there is not a single domestication, but two key moments that turned some wolves into the best friends of man, who are today the dogs.

“We have found that Southeast Asian dogs have a genetic variability far superior to that of other dog populations, and they are the group most closely related to the gray wolf, suggesting that the first group of dogs emerged in Asia 33,000 years, “explains this geneticist who has published the results of his research in Nature .

But here the journey of the transformation of some wolves into dogs does not end. Some 18,000 years after the appearance of these first ancestral dogs, a group began an essential journey to become the dogs they are today. ” 15,000 years ago, a group of these dogs migrated to the Middle East, Africa, coming to Europe about 10,000 years ago,” says Savolainen.

This study reveals the extraordinary journey of dogs around the world to become the best friend of men and women and in the bag of hairy mines with which almost three million Spaniards share more than their lives (six out of ten people Who live with dogs admit to sharing the sheets with their furry companions).

Journey from Wolf to dog

How many dog breeds are there in the world?

But the dog’s journey does not end here. Just take a look at the songs to realize they have a variety of amazing looks and sizes. The selection of some dogs for certain tasks explains the first great explosion of canine breeds. “In addition, each breed of dog specialized even more for its behavior,” adds Elaine Ostrander, a geneticist at the National Institute for Human Genome Research in the United States. Selective breeding has only increased these differences and, with each change, dogs have taken on an increasingly disparate appearance and behavior.

And how many different breeds of dogs are there in the world? This question may not be as simple to answer as it sounds. The first difficulty arises when tracing the different national canine federations and internationals in search of a response since not all varieties of dogs are accepted as differentiated races in all associations.

However, there is an international body recognized as a world reference institution in these dogs gene issues: the International Cynological Federation. This entity states that there is a total of 343 dog breeds and classifies them into ten groups: from shepherd dogs to greyhounds, through hounds and teckles.

But their differences are not as great as what they have in common. “There is a huge diversity of dogs that look very different, but their similarities are much greater than their differences,” says Ostrander. “We all think that dogs have important differences, but at the genetic level and their chromosomes, that is not true, they are very similar, they are all members of the same species, they have the same number of chromosomes organized in the same way, Same chromosomes in the same genes, “he adds. The enormous differences between races are nothing more than “small modifications in a subset of genes,” adds the geneticist.

Experts point out that the astonishing diversity that exists between a Chihuahua and a great Irish Dane can be explained by ” minor changes in only 12 genes .” “The external diversity of dogs and their breeds does not reveal a genetic diversity. What happens is that variations of a reduced number of genes have a dramatic effect on the appearance,” concludes the geneticist.