Dog History

Dogs have been domesticated for most of human history and have been a delight to many over the years. Stories have been told about brave dogs that served admirably in wars or that risked their lives to save persons in danger. When the Roman city of Pompeii was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, following the evacuation, searchers found evidence of a dog lying across a child, apparently trying to protect the youngster. Since dogs have been with humans since prehistoric times, over the years they have been invaluable friends and provided invaluable services to man. Dogs have pulled sleds through the Arctic, delivered messages, herded cattle and sheep and recued people that have been trapped or lost.

The dog is part of a family of similar animals that include wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals and wild hunting dogs such as the Dingo and African Wild Hunting Dog, who all share common characteristics. Many of these wild dogs have been claimed to be the domsetic dog’s wild ancestor but the exact origins of the dog are uncertain. Some believe that the ‘Miacis’, a weasel-like animal, is the ancestor of the ‘canids’ as well as other families such as bears, racoons, civets, hyenas and cats. From ‘Miacis’ evolved ‘Cynodictis’, a dog-like animal from which later evolved the dog family.


A breed of dog called the ‘Saluki’ appears on the ancient tombs of Egypt from around 2100 BC and is thought to be the dog mentioned in the Bible. Its body has often been found mummified along with the Egyptian Pharaohs in Pyramids. The ancient Greeks and Romans developed a number of breeds including the greyhound, mastiff and bloodhound. The Romans made sacrifices to the dog-like god Procyon.

Dog Trivia

Did you know this about Dogs!

    • A dogs whiskers have touch-sensitive hairs called ‘vibrissae’. They are found on the muzzle, above the eyes and below the jaws, and can actually sense tiny changes in airflow.

    • Dogs can hear sounds that are too faint for us to hear, and also can hear noises at a much higher frequency than we can. Their hearing is so good that they probably rely more on sound than on sight to navigate their world.

    • Dogs only sweat from the pads on the bottoms of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is from their tongues by panting. Dogs and wolves yawn as a sign of contentment and happiness.

    • Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears.

    • Every known dog except the chow has a pink tongue – the chows tongue is jet black.

    • Scientists have discovered that dogs can smell the presence of autism in children.

    • It was recently discovered that dogs DO see in colour, just not as vivid as the colour that humans see.

    • Giving dogs chocolate could be fatal for them, because theobromine, an ingredient of chocolate, stimulates the central nervous system and cardiac muscle. About 1.1 kilograms of milk chocolate or just 146 grams of cooking chocolate (which has more theobromine per gram) could kill a 22 kilogram dog.

    • Dogs have far fewer taste buds than people – probably fewer than 2,000. It is the smell that initially attracts them to a particular food.

    • The first guide dog was presented to a blind person on April 25, 1938.

    • A female dog is more likely to bite than a male dog.

    • The fastest dog is the greyhound dog which can reach speeds of around 44 miles per hour.

    • You must never stare directly at a dog because they see this as a challenge.

    • Did you know that two dogs actually survived the sinking of the Titanic.

  • Dalmation dogs are born pure white, they develop their spots as they grow older.

  • Prairie dogs are not dogs at all. They belong to the rodent family.

  • The traditional poodles strange haircut was initially to improve their swimming abilities. The pom poms were left in place to keep their joints warm.