Rocky’s Viewpoint

Rockys Viewpoint

A blog for people who treat their dogs better than family

How Old is Your Dog?

Recently there was an interesting article in the Orlando Sentinel about just how old domestic dogs are as a species with respect to their separation from wolves. Many people believe that dogs became domesticated fairly recently (in modern times), but as the article points out, a recent find of a 33,000 year old dog skull may offer more evidence to dispute that fact. 

It’s a mystery exactly when dogs really branched away from their ancestral routes and became domesticated.  An even bigger mystery may be why it happened. Most people believe that wolves are scavengers and were attracted to campsites and the corresponding waste left there. As a result, it became easier for wolves to work together with humans to find food. As the dog’s role changed, evolutionary changes also took place, such as reduction in overall size, changes in coat, shorter jaw, changes in teeth layout, and more. Then there’s the issue of the large number of different breeds of dogs, another distinct separation from the wolf lineage.

Today, there are marked differences between wolves and domestic canines. Wolves are wild animals, shy and fearful around humans, and generally not suited to live with people, whereas dogs are social and need to be around their people. Wolves have longer legs, wider feet and heads, teeth that are suited for hunting, and in general they are more powerful than dogs. As hunters they are very aware of their surroundings, something dogs have lost due to domestication. Wolves howl and can’t really bark, while dogs bark but can learn to howl.

Wolves are truly beautiful animals – seeing them from afar in their natural habitat is amazing. And as dog lovers, no matter when it happened, we are grateful some chose to take the step toward domestication, so now we can share our lives with an equally amazing being!





Category: Health Management