Friday, February 26, 2010

Where, Oh, Where Did Those Little Dogs Come From?

It's hard to believe but a new report indicates that scientists have pinpointed the origins of small dogs. The scientists believe that little dogs can trace their roots to the Middle East 12000 years ago!

Toy and small dogs are my particular interest even though I love all dogs (and cats, etc.) but I had believed conventional wisdom which indicated that most small dogs were bred down from large dogs. The irony in this that while Miniature Pinschers look like tiny Doberman Pinschers, the Miniature Pinscher is the older of the two breeds.

A new article in BMC Biology indicates that one gene is responsible for the size of dogs. Now, where I take exception to this is where the report indicates that they probably go back to the Middle Eastern grey wolf, which was smaller than other wolves, that those wolves were domesticated. However, dogs aren't wolves and wolves aren't dogs so that part of the equation would seem to be off.

It's a version of the gene 1GF1 that they believe determines the small size of dogs. Indeed, dogs did start out larger. Belgiam, Russia and and Germany would seem to be where the large dogs originated. It was thousands of years later that the smaller dogs appeared in the Middle East.

Confused yet? I'll be thinking about this for awhile...


Anonymous said...

Very interesting that small breeds may be a lot older than we have been led to believe.
Small Dog Training etc

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Lemur said...

Perhaps one of the oldest breeds (and they were huge but seem to have grown smaller over time) is the Tibetan Mastiff, possibly one of the closest relations to proto-dogs.

The CRITTER Project and Naked Without a Pen