Why Dogs Are the Most Useful Animal to Humans

Topics: Dog, Assistance dog, Working dogs Pages: 13 (4937 words) Published: February 20, 2013
Why Dogs are the Most Useful Animal to Humans
For as long as anyone can remember dogs have been bred and used to help humans. Whether it be for hunting and gathering, companionship, to help with the disabled, or to help law enforcement officers do their jobs better, dogs are the most versatile and useful animals to humans.

Most scientists agree that dogs are descended from the Grey Wolf. Dr. Robert K. Wayne of UCLA has shown through DNA research that the Grey Wolf and common dog are so closely related that they can interbreed and produce fully viable offspring (Dog names, 2004). It is thought that a human hunting party came across a very young wolf cub and decided to take it with the members of the hunting group, and that was the beginning of the domestic dog. Wolf and man had a few important things in common as they were both hunters and hunted in packs. Remains of dogs have been found dating back 10 to 15 thousand years (Dog names, 2004). There are hundreds of breeds that have been developed by man throughout history. These different breeds were developed due to the changing requirements of man through history. (Dog names, 2004) Breeds of Dog

There are many different categories of dogs that have been developed through history, and they all had and have a specific purpose for the people who bred them at the time and continue to breed them today. Some different categories of dogs that were bred are sight hounds, scent hounds, working dogs, sporting dogs, terrier dogs, non-sporting breeds, and toy breeds (Dog names, 2004)

Breeds in the sight hound group include the Afghan Hound, Basenji, Irish Wolfhound, and the Greyhound. Sight hounds are called sight hounds essentially because they have excellent vision. They also have a long jaw and neck, which help them with catching their prey (Sight Hounds, 2004). Looking closer at the greyhound they have been bred for thousands of years to hunt and outrun their prey (History and evolution of dogs, n.d.)

Another group of dogs that people bred to fit their needs are scent hounds. Scent hounds use their sense of smell to seek out their prey. People bred scent hounds for endurance. They can travel long distances to seek out their prey (Dog names, 2004). Some common scent hounds are the Basset Hound, Beagle, Bloodhound, and Dachshund.

Working dog breeds have been successful in different jobs such as herding, droving, pulling, hauling, herding, rescuing, and guarding. Working dogs are generally large, intelligent, and protective of their owners. They have replaced larger animals such as horses when horses would not be readily available. Which proves to be very helpful to humans (Working breeds, 2004).

Terrier dogs were originally bred to hunt and kill vermin such as mice, rats and other animals such as foxes that might pose a threat to a farmer’s land. This required terriers to be energetic, brave, and determined. One trait that was encouraged by breeders was to have them “go to ground” or to dig up burrows and underground tunnels while barking, to frighten the inhabitants (Terrier dogs, 2004).

Toy breeds were bred for quite different reasons than the other dog breeds previously noted. Toy dog breeds were first bred to simply provide pleasure to their owners. At the time they were developed they were providing pleasure and joy to rich people. They were a status item with little purpose (Toy dogs, 2004)

These are some reasons that dogs were bred with specific traits, all for a purpose and to help humans. The act of breeding for specific traits continues today and dogs are used everyday to help humans. While a lot of dogs are simply house pets now, a lot of the same ideas from 12,000 years ago still pertain today, and people breed their dogs to assist them with different things in life. History of Other Domesticated Animals

The first animal to be domesticated as a source of food was the sheep. This was done in the Middle East. In Northern Iraq there was a large amount...
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