Q: Why isn't my dog more like a wolf?

June 28, 2010 | By Mary T. | 1 answer | Expired: 2035 days ago

Mary T.

It’s hard to believe dogs are originally descended from wolves, based on my mush of a German Shepherd. Why is my dog so un-wolf-like?

Chosen Answer

The DNA record of dogs doesn’t lie. Your pet’s genome shows some of the variations including those from the DNA of the ancient purebred wolves that were encouraged to follow human hunters 20,000 years ago.

Anthropologists and geneticists who study the domestication of animals try to guess why early humans selected certain wolves to join the human family. Ancient humans probably favored gregarious, adaptable wolves that were more likely to do their bidding. “Hang around camp and warn us if anything tries to sneak up,” the bargain might have been. “Promise not to eat our children and we’ll give you the table scraps.”

Indeed, two of the signature genetic variations — from the wolf genome to the modern dog — code for gregariousness and the ability to read human body language.

Be glad your dog is not a wolf.

Thanks to the vets at BluePearl Veterinary Partners (bluepearlvet.com) for this answer.

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