Evolution of Dogs? [timeline, History & Facts From 400,000 BC]

Scientists have long been curious in how wild wolves evolved into domesticated dogs. A recent research gives some answers, revealing that an early dog gene related with tameness was present but not in wolves.

The genomes of 12 wolves and 60 dogs from throughout the globe were examined in the research, which was published in the journal Science. The researchers discovered that a gene known as RENPEG3 is linked to tameness in dogs but not in wolves.

“This shows that early dogs were chosen for tameness, which may have aided their domestication,” said lead author Bridgett vonHoldt, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University.

The results provide light on one of the most significant episodes in human history: the domestication of dogs. Domestic dogs play an essential part in our lives today, and learning about their origins may help us better comprehend our own history and connection with them.

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History of Dogs Timeline
400,000 BC – First Century

  • 400,000 YEARS AGO – Man and wolf share the same hunting ground and habitat, as indicated by evidence discovered at the site of Boxgrove, Kent, UK.
  • 14,000 YEARS AGO – Earliest evidence of domestic dog (a mandible), at Bonn-Oberkassel, Germany.
  • 12,000 YEARS AGO – Skeletons found at the Natufian site of Ein Mallaha, northern Israel, provide evidence that a puppy and human were buried cradled together.
  • 10,000 YEARS AGO – Dog-wolf hybrids in North America: remains are discovered at the Agate Basin site in Wyoming, USA.
  • 8500 YEARS AGO – Three dogs are deliberately buried: skeletons are discoved at Koster, Illinois, USA.
  • 8000 YEARS AGO – Dog remains dating from this time are found at Tocibara in Japan, alongside remains of the now-extinct Japanese wolf Canis lupus hodophilax.
  • c. 6000—1500 BC – Rock paintings at Tassili N’Ajjer, Algeria, depict some of the earliest known images of the dog in art.
  • c. 5000-1000 BC – The magnificent limestone ‘Statue of a Dog’ is made in Mesopotamia.
  • c. 2000-1000 BC – Distinctly different types of dog emerge, identifiable from artworks, including the greyhound type, mastiff type and small, short-legged dog.
  • c. 3468 BC – Fo-Hi, mythical founder of Chinese dynasties, extols the virtues of the ‘sleeve dog’, small enough to fit in a garment’s wide sleeve.
  • c. 2600 BC – Images of the dog-god Anubis are frequent in Egyptian funerary art of this time; dog burial is practised; dog mummies from this time have been found.
  • 1200 BC – Clay dog models depicting small, rotund dogs are made in the Basin of Mexico at Tlatilco.
  • 800 BC – The Chinese Book of Rites, one of the earliest known taxonomies of dogs, describes hunting dogs, guard dogs and edible dogs.
  • c. EIGHTH CENTURY BC – Homer writes the Odyssey, which tells of Odysseus’ faithful hound, Argus.
  • c. 771 BC – The story of Romulus and Remus, founders of the city of Rome, who were nurtured by a she-wolf.
  • c. 668-626 BC – King Assurbanipal of Assyria keeps large packs of formidable hunting dogs.
  • 350 BC – Aristotle (384-322 BC) writes his History of Animals, in which he describes different types of dog, including the Epirotic, the Laconian hound and the Molossian.

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History of Dogs Timeline
First Century — Fifteenth Century

  • 100 BC-AD 300 – Lifelike half-seated earthenware dogs are made by the Colima culture in Mexico.
  • AD 77 – Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) writes his Natural History, including a chapter on dogs and their behaviour and characteristics.
  • AD 100 – Pompeii mosaics Dog on a Leash and Cave Canem are made.
  • AD 200 – A lifelike earthenware statue of a seated mastiff is made in China.
  • AD 476 – Fall of the Roman Empire in the West; a dark period ensues for dogs and art.
  • c. 490 – Clovis I, king of the Franks {c. 466-511), enforces laws protecting dogs, including one stating that a dog must be proved to have rabies before it can be put to death.
  • c. 727 – The St Hubert hound is named after St Hubert {c. 656-727), who developed the breed, the ancestor of the bloodhound.
  • c. 700-800 – Tradition of’blessing the hounds’ starts in France as priests come to the church doors to bless the noblemen waiting outside with their dogs.
  • c. 1001-1023 – According to a Norwegian tale, King Eystein (reigned 1001-1023) was run off his lands. He returned with troops and in disgust offered the people the choice of a dog or a slave to be their king. They chose the former and a dog called Saur took the throne for three years.
  • 1016 – In England, Canute enacts the Forest Laws: forests become royal hunting domains and all those living there fall under strict regulations concerning their dogs.
  • ELEVENTH CENTURY – In England, William the Conqueror (1028-1087) requires three toes to be amputated from any hound not from his pack and living in the vicinity of the royal forests.
  • 1066-82 – The Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Norman invasion of England includes some of the first embroidered dogs in art.
  • THIRTEENTH CENTURY – Louis IX of France (1215-1270), a great hunter, introduces the gaze hound (used for hunting gazelle) to Europe from the Holy Land.
  • 1388 – Jean, due de Berry (1340-1416) reputedly owns 1500 dogs.
  • c. 1389 – LeLivre de chasse, a hunting manual, is written by Gaston Phebus de Foix (1331-1391), giving detailed information on hunting and dogs.
  • c. 1406-13 – Spaniels are first mentioned in an English text, Master of the Game by Edward Plantagenet, 2nd Duke ofYork(i373-i4i5).
  • c. 1415 – Les Tres Riches Heures du due de Berry by the Limbourg brothers (active 1400-1416).
  • FIFTEENTH CENTURY – Louis XI of France (1423-1483) reputedly commissions a ruby-studded collar for his favourite hound.

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History of Dogs Timeline
Fifteenth Century – Nineteenth Century

  • 1434 – The ArnoIfini Marriage by Jan van Eyck (c. 1390-1441). The little griffon terrier is one of the earliest and most famous dogs in portraiture.
  • c. 1438-42 – The Vision of St Eustachius by Antonio Pisanello (1395-1455) includes several different types of dog, exquisitely rendered.
  • 1465-1474 – Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) paints Rubino, the favourite dog of Ludovico II Gonzaga of Mantua, sitting under its master’s chair.
  • 1468 – An inventory of the possessions of military leader Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417-1468) reveals that he owned numerous valuable dog collars studded with silver.
  • FIFTEENTH CENTURY – Charles VIII of France (1470-1498) reputedly allows his favourite hunting dogs to sleep in his bed.
  • c. 1495 – Satyr Mourning Over a Nymph by Piero di Cosimo (c. 1462-1521), which features one of the loveliest dogs in the art of the Renaissance.
  • END OF FIFTEENTH CENTURY – Spanish conquistadors introduce their fierce mastiffs and greyhounds to the Americas.
  • c. 1502 – Vision of St Augustine by Vittore Carpaccio (c. 1460/65-1523/26) depicts the sage dog of religious art.
  • SIXTEENTH CENTURY – Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) sends 400 mastiffs to Charles V of Spain (1500-1558) to aid in the war against France.
  • c. 1525-30 – Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua by Titian (c. 1488-1576), the master of dog painting.
  • 1538 (OR BEFORE) – Venus ofUrbino by Titian, with the spaniel type here in a symbolic role.
  • c. 1548-50 – Two Hunting Dogs Tied to a Tree Stump by Jacopo Bassano (c. 1510-1592), one of the first paintings with dogs as the subject.
  • 1570 – Johannes Caius (1533-1603) publishes De Canibus Britannicus, the first work solely on dogs.
  • 1572 – At the Battle of Hermigny, a pug saves the life of William I of Orange (1533-1584) by raising the alarm. Pugs become the official dog of the House of Orange, and wear an orange ribbon on their collars.
  • 1576 – Abraham Flemming(r. 1552-1607) publishes the English translation of Johannes Caius’s work, calling it Of English Dogges.
  • 1576 – Hare coursing, a sport in which greyhounds (and similar hounds) chase a hare, not necessarily with the aim of killing it, becomes popular in Europe. The 4th Duke of Norfolk (1558-1603) later draws up rules for coursing.
  • 1576 – George Turberville (c. 1540-1597) publishes The Noble Arte of Venerie or Hunting.
  • BY 1591 – Packs of hounds are kept to hunt fox exclusively. The specialized foxhound starts to develop.
  • MID-SEVENTEENTH CENTURY – English monarchs Charles I (1600-1649) and Charles II (1630-1685) are devoted to small spaniel-type dogs, later named the King Charles spaniel.
  • c. 1625 – A Dog Belonging to the Aldovrandi Family by Guercino (1591-1666), one of the finest dog paintings of the seventeenth century.
  • c. 1634-35 – James Stuart, 4th Duke of Lennox and 1st Duke of Richmond by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), a master of painting dogs.
  • c. 1650 – The pointer type of dog, descended from Spanish stock, and a recognizable type, starts to appear in England, and is used with greyhounds for coursing.
  • c. 1650-52 – A Watchdog Chained to his Kennel by Paulus Potter (1625-1654), an extraordinary image of a dog, painted with tremendous realism, so that it appears to be a living, breathing creature.
  • 1664 – Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke investigate the process of respiration by performing vivisection on a dog. Hooke later declares ‘never again’, owing to the suffering inflicted on the animal.
  • c. 1671-72 – Amsterdam Dog Market by Abraham Hondius (c. 1631-1691), an unusual image, depicting a wide variety of dogs and collars.
  • 1688 William III of Orange (1650-1702) and Mary (1662-1694) take their pugs with them when they travel to England to ascend the throne.
  • 1749 – Self-Portrait by William Hogarth (1697-1764) depicts the artist with his beloved pug called Trump. Hogarth also owned a pug called Pug.
  • 1752 – Bitch Nursing her Puppies by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755), a groundbreaking work showing an intimate, maternal moment, the dog being invested with clearly human emotion.
  • 1753 – Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon (1707-1788), publishes Histoire naturelle, in which he discusses his theories on the evolution of dogs, and other species.
  • FROM 1758 – George Washington (1732-1799) keeps detailed records of his prize foxhounds.
  • 1792 – Ringwood, a Brocklesby Foxhound’by George Stubbs (1724-1806).
  • 1812 – The borzoi, the Russian dog of the nobility, is first mentioned in English literature.

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History of Dogs Timeline
Nineteenth Century

  • 1814 – Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) publishes the novel Guy Mannering. The Dandie Dinmont terrier is later named after one of the characters in this book.
  • 1824 – The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is formed in England, and the first meeting is held at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House, St Martin’s Lane, London.
  • 1824 – Newfoundland Dog called Lion by Edwin Landseer (1802-1873). Later, the black-and-white type of Newfoundland was named the Landseer Newfoundland, after the artist.
  • 1825 – Edward Laverack (1800-1877), a breeder, is credited with ‘fixing’ the characteristics of the English setter breed (descended from spaniel and pointer blood).
  • 1826 – MadDogby Thomas Busby (active 1804-1821), a lighthearted depiction of a dog infected with the deadly rabies virus.
  • 1827 – Houndby the French Animalier Gregoire Giraud(i783-i836).
  • 1829 – Attachment by Edwin Landseer, based on the story of the death of Charles Gough, an artist who died following a fall in the Lake District and was attended by his faithful dog.
  • 1835 – In Britain, Princess Victoria (1819-1901) becomes patron of the SPCA; later the prefix ‘Royal’ is added to the organization’s name.
  • 1835 – Bull- and bear-baiting, sports popular since the time of King John (1199-1216), are banned in England.
  • 1836 – The Waterloo Cup is established, the most prestigious hare-coursing competition, likened to the Derby of the horse world.
  • 1836 – Dash by Edwin Landseer, depicting Princess Victoria’s beloved King Charles spaniel.
  • 1837 – Victoria becomes Queen of Great Britain; her love of dogs is legendary.
  • 1839 – The Dog Cart Nuisance Law is passed in England prohibiting dog carts from within fifteen miles (24 km) of London’s Charing Cross railway station.
  • 1841 – Queen Victoria’s main kennels are built at Home Park, Windsor Castle, near London.
  • 1841 – Eos by Edwin Landseer, depicting Prince Albert’s beloved greyhound.
  • 1849 – Iyan Pavlov, the Russian physiologist, is born. His experiments with dogs (especially on conditioned reflexes) will be famous, giving rise to the adjective ‘Pavlovian’.
  • c. 1850 – The Airedale terrier is developed in Yorkshire through otter-hound and terrier crosses.
  • c. 1850-52 – Rat-Catching at the Blue Anchor Tavern, depicting Tiny the Wonder, a champion rat-catching Manchester terrier.
  • 1855 – An Early Canine Meeting by R. Marshall, thought to be the first painting of a dog show.
  • 1855 – Cart dogs are banned in England but remain in active use on the European continent.
  • 1858-72 – For fourteen years Greyfriars Bobby, a little Skye terrier, waits by the grave of his late master, John Gray, in Edinburgh’s Greyfriars churchyard.
  • 1859 – England’s first recognized dog show is held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with fifty sporting-dog entries.
  • 1860 – British officers remove and return to England five Pekingese dogs from the Imperial Palace in China, as British and French forces take control of Beijing (Peking).
  • 1862 – The Maltese dog, the ancestry of which is ancient, first appears at English dog shows.
  • 1863 – France’s first recognized dog show is held at the Exposition Universelle des Races Canines in the Bois de Boulogne.
  • 1864 – Chacunpoursoi by Philippe Rousseau (1816-1887), an important dog-based painting of social commentary.
  • 1865 – The first field trial for sporting dogs takes place at Southill, Bedfordshire, England.
  • 1865 – The official studbook for foxhounds is established in Britain.
  • 1866 – George R. Jesse publishes Researches into the History of the British Dog, the first book to deal with different breeds in detail.
  • 1867 – Arnold Burgess publishes The American Kennel and Sporting Field, the first attempt at a studbook in North America.
  • 1870 – The Yorkshire terrier is named as a breed.
  • 1873 – The formation of the Kennel Club in Britain and publication of the British Kennel Club Studbook.
  • 1873 – The first dog show run by the Kennel Club is held at Crystal Palace, London, and has 975 entries.
  • 1874 – The black-and-tan terrier becomes known officially as the Manchester terrier.
  • 1874 – The first official American dog show is held in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1876 – The establishment of the Fox Terrier Club in Britain.
  • 1876 – The National American Kennel Club is formed and starts to develop a studbook for breeds.
  • 1877 – The American Westminster Kennel Club is founded and holds its first show in New York. It is still the most prestigious of its kind.
  • LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY – The Reverend John (Jack) Russell develops the feisty terrier that is named after him.
  • 1882 – The official studbook for greyhounds is established in Britain.
  • 1882 – The French Kennel Club is established.
  • 1882 – The Italian Kennel Club is formed.
  • 1882 – Portrait of Eugenie Graff by Claude Monet (1840-1926).
  • 1884 – The National American Kennel Club changes its name to the National Field Trial Club.
  • 1884 – The American Kennel Club is formed to take over the jurisdiction of dog shows and the studbook.
  • 1886 – Charles Cruft (1852-1938) organizes the first Crufts Dog Show, held at the Royal Aquarium in London.
  • 1888 – The chihuahua becomes popular in America.
  • LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY – In England, Princess Alexandra (1844-1925) is given a borzoi called Alex by her brother-in-law, Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and borzois become popular.
  • LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY – Tibetan spaniels are imported into Britain from Tibet by the Hon. Mrs McLaren Morrison, an expert on exotic dog breeds.
  • 1890 – The Ladies Kennel Club is formed in Britain.
  • 1895 – The Netherlands establishes the Dutch Kennel Club.

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History of Dogs Timeline
Twentieth Century – Twenty-First Century

  • 1900 – The Ladies Kennel Association of America is founded in New York.
  • 1900 – The Italian Greyhound Club is founded in England.
  • 1902 – The Pekingese Club is founded in England.
  • 1902 – Optician s Sign by Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904).
  • 1911 – The Spanish Kennel Club is founded.
  • 1912 – Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash by Giacomo Balla(i87i-i958).
  • 1914 – The first Norwich terrier arrives in America, where it becomes known as the Jones terrier.
  • 1916 – The first British military dog-training school is set up by Lieutenant Colonel E.H. Richardson in Essex.
  • 1920 – Major and Mrs G. Bell Murray and Miss Jean C. Manson import Afghan hounds into Scotland and start to breed them.
  • 1923 – The Saluki Breed Club is established in Britain.
  • 1925-34 – Every day, the Japanese Akita called Hachiko visits the subway station in Tokyo where his master died. A statue is erected in Hachiko’s honour.
  • c. 1925 – Kuppenheimer: Wolfhound by Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951).
  • 1927 – The first Morris and Essex Dog Show is held; the show is run annually by Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (1882-1973) until 1953.
  • 1929 – Mick the Miller (1926-1939), one of the first champion greyhounds in England, wins the Greyhound Derby; he wins it again in 1930.
  • 1933 – Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) publishes Flush, A Biography, a fictitious story based on the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel.
  • 1938 – The British author Eric Knight writes a short story called Lassie Come Home, based on an English collie. An instant success, the story is expanded into a book.
  • 1939 – Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge establishes the St Hubert’s Giralda Animal Shelter.
  • 1942 – The Army War Dog School is set up in England at the former Greyhound Racing Kennels at Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.
  • 1943 – Lassie Come Home is released as a film in October, just months after the death of the original book’s author, Eric Knight.
  • 1955 – Walt Disney produces the animated film Lady and the Tramp, the story of love between a cocker spaniel and a mutt.
  • 1957 – Laika, a Russian mongrel, is the first living thing to enter outer space, doing so aboard the Russian Sputnik 2. She dies several hours after launch.
  • 1961 – Walt Disney produces the animated film 101 Dalmatians, based on the novel by author Dodie Smith, written in 1956.
  • 1976 – Pom by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), one of a series of dog portraits undertaken by the artist that have an iconic appeal.
  • 1983 – Untitled by Keith Haring (1958-1990), a disturbing reinvention of ancient symbolism attached to the dog.
  • 1986-87 – Triple Portrait by Lucian Freud (born 1922), depicting the whippet Pluto. The artist also used the dog’s profile in his design for the Bella Freud clothing label.
  • 1990 – Dog by Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993), a moving depiction of the spiritual nature of the dog.
  • 2001 – PoodleIlby Bill Jacklin (born 1943), a modern interpretation of the traditional pure-bred dog portraits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
  • 2001 – Around 350 search and rescue dogs provide invaluable assistance in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks in New York City on 11 September.
  • 2007 – You’re a Head of Me by George Rodrigue (born 1944), part of his famous ‘Blue Dog’ series, in which the painted dog has taken on a character and life of its own.

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