1. The Origin of the Dog

 

2.The dog's evolution

 

3.The Origin of the Dog Revisited
1. The Odyssey of the Word "Molossus"

2. The Evolution of brachycephalic molossoid dogs

1. Man's relationship with animals

2. Dog and Human societe

3. The dog shows in Europe

1.The Vision in dogs

2. The hearing of the dog

3. The sense of smell in dog

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Dog and human society
by Perikles Kosmopoulos

The dog was the first animal domesticated by man. It’s treatment though, through the time, is marked by contradictions.

The dog lived with all classes of people and influenced kings, intellectuals, tycoons of wealth and beggars. The offer of the dog was praised by every form of human expression such as painting, sculpture, poetry, literature, songs, myths and fairy tales. Especially in theater, films and tv, where many dogs were celebrities.
On the other hand it was treated as dirty animal, dangerous germs body, hated symbol of social classes and diabolical creature. The howling of a dog, according to widespread prejudice, was considered to be a prediction of death and the animal was associated with the escort demons of Hades (Kerberus, etc.). Evil prediction was considered at the old times, the appearance of a dog in a dream. In the Dream Book of the 8th BC century, is refered that «Δηγμόςκυνώνδείκνυσινεχθρικήνβλάβην.» (Dog’s bite shows enemy act).
Man’s controversial attitude to the dog summed up in the two following disparate phrases:
"Man’s best friend" and "Son of a bitch."
The only way to understand better the meaning of these phrases, is to understand the animal itself. The dog.
And this can happen only through the knowledge offered by Paleontology, Biology, Medicine and History.
In the article "The origin of the dog", I tried to present to the readers, the view of paleontologists scientists that the dog and the wolf share a common ancestor and that the dog’s time on the planet is longer than that of the wolf and certainly longer than that of the human.
In this article I will try to explain with historical events and boundary situations of human history, the dog’s living with humans.
The approach o this issue, however, presents two characteristics or risks if you like. First, essentially there is a commentary for human societies, for which there are many different theories and secondly, many ideas about the origin of dog breeds are overturned. I respect these risks and I will try to overcome them with documented evidence.
"Neolithic Era"
Whether the canis familiaris approached the primitive man or the opposite happened, has not yet been fully clarified. Most possible is that both mammalian, two-legged and quadruped, were sharing the same hunting areas and their relationship was both competitive and complementary.
Competitive because both species were hunting the same preys and complementary since both species were fed on different parts of the same food.
The truth is that around 15,000 BC we have hunting cooperation scenes on rocks.
But can we say that we are talking about domestic dog?
Certainly not, since man and dog do not have a common permanent place of residence. This happened later, around 6500 BC, at a time when we have common burial findings of humans and dogs. The amazing is that, at the sketches on the rocks, we relatively easily recognize breeds of dog, as we mean them today. These sketches seem to confirm the view of scientists as Albert Heim (Switzerland) and many others, that different dog’s breeds are the result of natural evolution and adaptation and not human work. Society of humans does not exist yet, since the human species is at the level of gathering food by groups. The first formation of human society appears later.

"Egypt"
The first records of breeding domesticated dogs come to us from the land of the Pharaohs. From the empire of knowledge and science, but well hidden in the temples of God, by the almighty Pharaoh Priesthood. The dog is bred selectively, to improve the performance in the sport of the few, the hunt. The experiences gathered produce the first pedigree in history (3,000 BC Menes the 1st). The dog is deified (Annouvis) and divided into breeds, that are illustrated on lime-stone. And all depict hunting dogs. The guard dog, the pet dog and the dog of the common man are absent. Almost complete absence of dog in burial finds of ordinary people. In contrast, we find impressive in quality and quantity information in grave findings of the Pharaohs. The absolute specificity. The specific use of dogs and breeding for divine leaders, provide impressive stability in breeds of dogs that exist until today.
"Mesopotamia"
In vast areas from India to the shores of Asia Minor prevail, at different seasons, tough, war people. The Sumerians, Assyrians, Hittites, the Babylonians, Medes and Persians.
These peoples are developing another type of dog, suitable for hunting large animals, but also for war. An animal with a large muscle mass, hard and effective in hunting large herbivorous prey, to participate in the hunting of large carnivores and to spread terror among the enemies. The guard dog, as a concept, is born in Mesopotamia. Divided into two types, one heavy and one lighter, characterized by very large head and muscular body. The ancestor of all present Molossoid breeds. The sketches we have available, amaze with the amazing resemblance to today's St Bernard, Mastino, Rottweiler, etc.
They are known to the world as Indian dogs, through the descriptions of Herodotus.
The myths of "construction" of these breeds by Germans, Swiss and Italians, do not seem to be true.
"Greece"
In Greek mythology the dog emerges as an animal with great virtues as loyalty and devotion (Argos), capable hunting companion (Kalydonios Boar) and as a daemon (Kerberus).
In ancient Greece the dog is treated differently from neighboring empires. It belongs to everyone and not just the monarch or the few. A natural extension of the society which created the city-state and the institution of citizenship. The concept pet, as we understand it today, was born in Greece.
In Classical and Hellinistic times the dog has a scientific study, which gives the first breeds classification (Xenophon), the first biological study-writing of history (Aristotle), the first legislation on the abuse of dogs (the Thessalian laws) and finally the address of dogs with human names. Essentially the kynology and kynofilia were born in Greece.
"Rome"
The Roman world incorporates all ancient societies and cultures. Of course all the concepts about dogs. Under the Pax Romana coexists the hunting dog, the guard dog, the war dog, the pet and the arena dog is introduced.
Just this last use of dog, creates the dog-breeding occupation. They follow the diametrically opposite view from Aristotle "Do not mix the breeds" and “create” mixed dog breeds.
At the same time the Roman legions carry their dogs to the ends of the Empire. Intersections of these animals with local breeds create the ancestors of many existing breeds.
"Middle Ages"
Age of darkness, superstition and ignorance, with dire consequences to kynology. The knowledge stops and strange opinions appear (in 420 AD, Saint Augustine announces the theory of werewolves!). Some breeds survive simply because their abilities coincide with the customs of the time. Very few notable exceptions (in 560 AD St. Anthony proclaimed protector of dogs). At the same time is the time of migration of the Northern peoples (Vikings, Normans). Also the migration of their dogs (874 AD the Norwegian Buhund to Iceland, AD 1066 William the Conqueror brings the Bloodhound in England).
The conditions improved around the 14th century, because of some enlightened monarchs, but mainly thanks to the Franciscan monks. Earl Foie classifies dogs into two groups (Aristotle in seven) and defines the sheepdog..
"Renaissance"
The return of the Greek classical times values creates conditions of kynology recovery. Writers, painters and sculptors depict dogs in paintings, noble coats of arms and tombstones. With overseas travel people know and introduce breeds from the East (1682 AD Pug dog is coming to Europe from China. We also have ambitious breeding attempts which are recorded in Illustrated Hunting Handbook of Jacques du Fougias and classification into groups depending on performance.
The dog breeding, however, is a noble work and not common people work. The 17th century, however, was marked by the development of many of today's breeds.
"French Revolution"
The old world is “dying” and a new one rises up. The large feudal property is replaced by the small property in the city. The corvettes dogs of aristocrats which needed large areas to be developed, were replaced by the dogs of indeterminate breed of city bourgeois and farmers. The heavy type of guard dog, with smaller, lighter and less food requirements. The bourgeois established in power impose their own breeds of dogs which, combined with the widespread use of firearms for hunting, completely changed the map of the breeds. The new order of things they want to show their awards.
They create the first dog shows. In 1859 the first International Dog Show in England, in 1862 the second one in Paris. The shows create the type of show-dog and the profession of dog breeder. Simultaneously, the concept of nation imposes the national dog!.
The history conscripted by fragments to support the new breeds. Standard of breeds appear simultaneously with the first Kennel Clubs and the dog beauty salons.
"20th century"
The industrial revolution and the vertical home structure completely changed people's lives and of course their perceptions about the dog.
The dog enters into the livings of all people, by any means:
In the literature (1935-the Rascal by Penelope Delta, The hound of the Baskerville 1902, The call of the wild, etc.) and with insulin (manufactured until recently from the pancreas of the dog).
With the song (Hound dog-Elvis Prisley, One Eyed Hound-Genesis, etc.), but with the politics too (Roosevelt-terrier, Richard Nixon-cocker spaniel, Ronald Reagan-King Charles spaniel, etc.).
With the knowledge and organization (FCI, American Kennel Club, veterinary schools, etc.), but also with experiments (Laika, biological and chemical warfare).
Even with the movie (Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Bentzi, Beethoven, etc.) and the dog fights.
The dog itself becomes industry and advertising star.
But the contradictory behavior to the dog, which still exists, it swells. Less than in other times, but still it exists. The care of the dog sometimes reaches to hyperbole, but the brutal behavior also to the limits of barbarism.
But what characterizes the end of the 20th century is the professional breeding and the dog shows, as well as the creation of "new breeds”.
And this is the dangerous point for the future of the animal. Most of "new" breeds were "created" by people with administrative culture rather than knowledge of biology. Most of the new breeders aim to the trade of dog and have little to do like the naturalists of the last century, who studied the animal. Of course these new breeders recruited excerpts of "history", most often in order to advertise their product.
 Today a dog breeder is considered successful if he has won prizes in shows. Thus, the purpose of the dog breeder is to be in accordance with standards established for each breed. But in most cases standards were established 100 years ago and are based only to the visible parts of the animal, like color. Thus, the system tends to establish a preference for a feature that normally, according to today’s knowledge, should be considered abnormal. Even in the case of selection of an animal as winner by judges, an animal that looks perfectly okay, the result for the breed can be very regressive, since in many cases the initial group of dogs used to establish the standard was very small or derived from a specific small geographic area. Thus the gene pool of the breed is very small. Since the winners of the shows are sought after as stallions, their genes flood the market. Thus, physical peculiarities perpetuated by breeders, is possible to work against the animal's health, in long terms.
Fortunately, in the profession of breeder, especially after the 70s, there are some people with high knowledge, but unfortunately their small number do not justify optimism for the future.

"Epilogue"
Which then of the two phrases, in the beginning of the article, is valid today, after so many centuries of human and dog living together?
And how the animal itself is responsible for one of the two concepts?
The answer actually does not concern the animal. The dilemma was never raised by the animal, but by the human. And the dog was always treated accordingly to the form of human society.
For the people of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the dog was a tool of the ruling class and sees it accordingly. With awe and fear.
For Rome the dog is a parameter of the slave society.
For the aristocratsl of Middle Ages, a game and means of enforcement of their superiority.
For the bourgeoisie, a means of social certification.
For the Bolsheviks in the early 20th century and red guards of Mao bourzouazistiki perception, that’s why they had no mercy for the animal.
The human, since he created organized societies, behaved to the animal as to the nature. As a conqueror. And to confirm the notion of a conqueror he created myths such as:
- Man created the various breeds of dogs (such as God the world-so we are gods).
- The dog descended from the wolf and we have at the balcony or in our garden a tamed wolf.
- The dog is an animal with reduced intelligence and that’s why it needs the humans to survive.
- The dog is a carrier of disease.
But the principle of coexistence at the beginning of the human and the animal was different, as you can read in the article by Mr. Kourkoutas "Man and Dog."
With these two concepts the dog survived in the world of humans.
The only notable exceptions of human societies, where the dog was studied as an autonomous existence and this study yielded knowledge, which is still in use, is the ancient Greek world, the 17th - 18th century (the result of enlightenment) and the last 40 years with the development of veterinary medicine and biology. With this knowledge that we have today, the role of Laverak (English Seter), Stefanitz (German Shepherd), Skiantini (Mastino) etc. must now be redefined. Since the first one was an integral part of the Victorian era, the second of the Prussian culture and the third of the corresponding Italian era of the interwar period.
Today, unlike the past, these people should be treated as regenerators of breeds that existed and not as creators of new ones.
Perhaps the most striking example of this view is the scientific work of Albert Heim, which is now at the Natural History Museum of Bern. Many people regard him as one of the largest kynologists of all time. Yet Albert Heim was not a kynologist but a geologist who studied the geological evolution of the Alps. And through this, the adaptation of various mammals, and of course the dog, during the different stages of evolution of the alpine habitat.
With today's standards, results of scientific knowledge, the dog is neither the best friend of man nor the son of a bitch, but one other being on earth, as human. Unfortunately, this reality does not touch, adequately, the dog fancier organizations.
On the other hand, the dog offers in several cases such love and devotion to human and to such an extent, behavior that is considered as a dependency. So, in my opinion, even today, we do not have the knowledge and we can not understand the animal, so all these lead to a new Middle Ages regarding the human-dog relationship.

 

SOURCES:
THE BIG BOOK OF THE DOG
THE HISTORY OF SAINT BERNARD
MASTINO NAPOLETANO, MARIO ZACCHI
THE OFFICIAL BOOK OF THE NEAPOLITAN MASTIFF
ENZYKLOPADIE DER RASSE HUNDE, HANS RABER
PRADO  MUSEUM, Spain
EGYPTIAN MUSEUM, CAIRO
TIME LIFE-WORLD HISTORY
PERGAMOS MUSEUM, BERLIN

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