The Dog Story
Gift any child a puppy, and his face will light up. Although children love dogs, not many know much about the history of man's best friend. Read on.
As you may have heard, dogs have evolved from wolves. Studies show that humans began selectively breeding wolves, and these domestic wolves evolved into dogs. Dogs are brothers under the skin to wolves and jackals, and they share several common characteristics including the howl. They belong to the dog family called canis. Foxes however do not belong to this family.
Long ago, somewhere in East Asia (possibly China), man tamed a few wild dogs. These dogs may have been wolf cubs. Or they may have been jackals or some other member of the wild dog family. Man found that these animals could be useful in a number of ways. He found that the dog was a good friend and a helpful guard for his home and cattle. As time passed different breeds of dogs were developed for special purposes such as hunting, herding, or guarding. Today, however, most dogs are kept chiefly for companionship.
Why do we choose dogs for friends? Early man was a wanderer. Eventually he gave up his nomadic life and started living in settlements. Wild dogs hovered around these settlements in search of leftovers. Man in turn began to depend on them as hunting partners. They found that dogs were not only reliable but also very intelligent.
Dogs like humans, are social animals. They form strong attachments with humans which no other animal can. They are playful and can be trained. They adapt to human homes and social situations very efficiently. By instinct they have a sense of loyalty and devotion that brings them emotionally closer to us. Like us, they understand feelings of obedience, love, friendship and companionship. That is why for most dog owners, dogs are not just pets, but are considered members of the household. This kind of bonding has not been seen in any other human-animal relationship. Dogs are therefore protected and admired by most societies all over the world.
Dogs on the other hand it is understood, consider us humans as one of their pack. They therefore like to accept us in their lives just as they would any fellow dog.
- You must have observed the difference in the looks and sizes of different breeds of dogs. Temperamentally also they are quite different. No other animal differs as much between species.
- Earlier, dogs were believed to be dichromatic i.e. seeing only black and white. New studies have proved that they see fewer colors than us but are not color blind. Their field of vision is 270o as compared to 180o for humans. This means they can see much further on either side of themselves than we do.
- They hear better than we do. The audible range for humans is 20 Hz to 20 KHz. For dogs it is 16 Hz to 100 KHz. Also they can locate the source of the sound better than us.
- You must have heard of 'sniffer' dogs. The sense of smell of dogs is far better than that of humans. On an average, they have 220 million smell sensitive cells and we have just 5 million. That is why dogs are able to follow scent trails in the air and on the ground.
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