Dogs and humans have been the perfect match for tens of thousand of years. The story of this companionship starts with wolves when domesticated dogs didn’t exist. Naturalist Mark Derr predicts that our ancestors began their relationship with canines through hunting; the wolves led the hunt while the humans precisely killed their prey and gave their four-legged friends leftovers. As this relationship grew, wolves became more integrated into human life by acting as “alarm systems,
trackers, hunting aides, garbage disposal facilities, hot water bottles, and children’s guardians and playmates,” according to Colin Groves of the Australian National University. Groves goes as far as to say these furry creatures are partly responsible for our species success. Our ancestors likely relied on wolves to hear danger and sniff out prey.
The evolving relationship between wolves and humans caused physical changes and the wolf such as a smaller skeletal frame and a shortened jaw, as stated by Derr. The group of wolves with these physical features began traveling with humans resulting in inbreeding. This led to “genetic peculiarities…[that] became part of the population.” Humans kept the wolves with these abnormalities if they were aesthetically pleasing or useful. The chosen traits were then passed onto offspring. Along with this, wolves’ brains shrunk to about 80% of its original size as they became domesticated, according to Dr. Nigel Barber. Barber states that like other domesticated animals, dogs experienced “tissue loss in the cerebral hemispheres critical for learning and cognition.” This shows that dogs rely on humans for thinking.
Humans are responsible for the loyal, adorable, and loving dogs we have today. Over the years, we bred dogs to fit our needs, resulting in the “man’s best friend.” Many people consider their dogs to be a valued member of their family. Owners are able to develop strong bonds with their pet because of our long history with dogs.