From the Wolf to the Chihuahua

For a lot of people like me, dogs are just a regular part of life. I grew up with at least two big dogs in the house at all times, and it just doesn’t feel like home without a big lovable slobber hound waiting for me when I walk in the door. Dogs are such a normal part of life here in America and all over the world, its easy to forget that these pooches all came from wolves. It is also very easy to forget that wild wolves are not dogs, something IWolf-Dog have to remind myself of when I find myself 30 minutes into YouTube searching of wolf dogs. (I mean come on, who wouldn’t want this) When I was thinking about this, I realized that I have absolutely no idea how we went from the mighty wolf to the Chihuahua, and I was extremely surprised to find out that it is actually because of us.

The way that most species evolve over generations is through mutations in offspring that prove to be advantageous in its current environment. This mutation either helps the animal survive or makes it less likely to. If it survives, it passes this gene down to its offspring, and so on. The case of wolves becoming dogs is a bit different though. It started out with a small genetic mutation, making some wolves less prone to running away from a human (or anything it perceives as a threat) at a closer distance. Because of this, wolves would hang around camps where humans have settled, and feed off of any left overs or thrown away food, where other wolves would not get so close to the humans. This began a symbiotic relationship between wolves and humans. Eventually, humans began to take in these wolves slowly, seeing their potential as hunting partners and as protection. They would then breed the ones that were friendlier and more loyal, while not breeding the less desirable (2) This kind of artificial selection allowed humans to pick what qualities they liked in the wolves, and which they didn’t. For example, if they breed ten wolves, they then raise the puppies but only breed the friendliest 10% of those puppies, and so on. This process speeds up evolution exponentially, quickly leading to many different types of wolves that were fitted for their specific environment. In colder harsher climates, wolves with thicker coats would be preferred, whereas in warmer areas, shorter haired dogs were more useful. Some dogs were bred specifically for hunting, aka what became the retrievers, some dogs were bred for protection, German Sheppards and Rottweilers, and some just for companionship or warmth, poodles and many small dogs.

Over thousands of years, as dogs spread out over the world with humans, they began to develop into all of the diverse breeds we see today as a result of the needs of the humans they were with.

1 thought on “From the Wolf to the Chihuahua

  1. Diego

    The title of this blog simply got my attention instantaneously. The research you used such as the one from the Institute for Creation Research and The New York Times, which are reliable, helped get this blog acquire more credibility, therefore making it more intriguing for the viewers. The way you developed this blogged was definitely pleasing to the eye. How you clearly structured this blog by first, introducing with a personal opinion which I as well as, I believe, many of the readers of this blog also had, and then how you moved on into the history of this evolution supporting your statements with credible sources of information, just made this blog one of the best I’ve read.
    It’s funny and at the same time outstandingly amusing how a wolf over thousands of year turned into the little, miniature, skinny Chihuahuas. The way you said tribes and ancient civilizations used to only breed the 10 percent of wolves’ puppies, creating an exponential growth on evolution from domestication, constructs a plausible explanation for this. It’s hard to completely agree with this mechanism without seeing the statistics though.
    Attention catcher began in the title and ended in the last sentence. I always wondered how dogs evolved from wolves exactly, and why there is to the present day more than 300 dog breeds, and you explained it fantastically in a brief and pleasant way. I wish I can encounter more well-done blogs like this one.

Comments are closed.