Scientists tell us that dog breeding started about 9000 years ago. This is the time when people first domesticated the wild cat. You can see the huge disparity in the time during which the dog and the cat have been domesticated. This is the reason why cats are considered aloof and independent. They are barely domesticated in comparison to the dog. The first cat breeds were created in the middle of the 19th century less than 200 years ago.
As reported in The Sunday Times of June 4, 2017, scientists have found evidence that the people of a Siberian island (Zhokhov Island) used wolves to create “the first known working breeds”.
They were Stone Age polar bear hunters who domesticated wolves. The dogs that they bred would probably have resembled the Siberian Husky of today. They weigh around 35 to 55 pounds. Siberian wolves can weigh up to 130 pounds, which is too large to pull sledges because the animal becomes too hot. Apparently, the ideal weight for a dog pulling a sledge is around 50 pounds. This was the motivator for breeding smaller dogs from the Siberian wolves.
The people of Zhokhov hunted bears and reindeer and other animals. The area was inhabited by wolves.
Vladimir Pitulko, an archaeologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg said in an interview with Science, an academic journal:
“They were clearly shaping these animals to do something special,”
The scientists found fossil bones of 11 individual dogs. They extrapolated the size of the dogs from the bones. Ten of these dogs had a weight similar to that of the modern Siberian husky. The remaining animal was possibly a wolf-dog hybrid which weighed around 63 pounds. This dog may have been similar to an Alaskan malamute.
The reason why I have written this article is because, as mentioned in the opening sentences, it does throw light on the length of time that the domestic dog has been existence compared to the domestic cat. As I recall the domestication of the wolf is believed to have occured about 30,000 years ago which is three times that of the domestication of the North African wildcat.
We should not be surprised that our precious and loved domestic cats are a whisker away from their wild ancestor in terms of their character.
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