Divergence of Wolves and Dogs

Topics: Dog Breeds

The divergence between wolves and dogs was caused because of artificial selection. Throughout many generations, dogs have developed obedience and temper. These two qualities were strengthened by a population bottleneck. Although there are countless physical and behavioral differences between dogs and wolves, these two animals still have analogous genomes. The main difference between the wolf and the dog is that genes in each animal are expressed in different ways due to artificial selection. If we were to perform a phylogenetic analysis of many dog breeds, there would be countless branching involved because artificial selection has given dogs coat color distinctions, condensed cranial size, and overall smaller body size.

Most of these characteristics are harmful if a dog is released into the wild because these physical traits are deleterious. Speciation and domestication are revealed in the physical characteristics and social behaviors of dogs and wolves. [11]

Additionally, there are specific dogs that are meant for hunter-gatherer societies. This was a vital role around 33,000 years ago when every family had a dog for protection.

Today, we have police and military dogs, as well as therapy dogs that are trained to perform a certain role. Service dogs help people who are unable to hear, see, have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), seizures, diabetes, or autism. There are also specific types of service dogs. A guide dog for example is trained to help its owner who is visually impaired. An autism service dog is one of the many service dogs that fascinate me. It is trained to let its owner know of their behaviors and gives the handler stability.

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The handler is stabilized due to the calming effect of the dog. Other service dogs include mobility dogs, hearing dogs, medical alert dogs, and psychiatric service dogs. [15]

Many canines are in charge of search and rescue missions. They have certain abilities such as tracking drugs and agriculture at airports as people cross the border. Search and Rescue dogs include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Bloodhounds. These dogs are strong, have a large body size, can control their temper, and above all are extremely intelligent. Other dog breeds such as the Belgian Malinois, German Shepard, and VIzsla work with the TSA, serving the United States as they track down explosive devices. Certain scientists trained Labrador Retrievers to detect cancer cells in patients. Since dogs have an incredible sense of smell, they can distinguish the smell of a healthy cell versus a cancer cell. Labrador Retrievers are more accurate than cancer tests! In a certain study, a Labrador detected cancer 98% of the time, while a cancer test detected it 10%. Service, Therapy, and Working Dogs are just like humans. They serve their country and are more than just a loving family pets. [15]

In a recent study, a baby wolf, named Kodie, was adopted into a home by Nick Battles and served as a protector of the family he was taken into. A few years later, Nick was diagnosed with diabetes. To remind Nick to take his insulin, Kodie licked Nick’s arm for 30 minutes before reminding Nick to take his insulin. Kodie was placed in a service dog course and became certified. Just like dogs, wolves can be service animals as well. [16]

Concluding Remarks: The differences between a Wolf, Wolfdog, or Dog?

So how can we distinguish a wolf from a dog? Well, they can be distinguished quite easily. DNA Testing, not every dog owner can test their pets’ DNA. Although, it is vital to know that any DNA test will examine only the mtDNA of the animals. mtDNA is mitochondrial DNA that can be inherited with no crossing over in mtDNA (nuclear DNA). mtDNA merely shows us if the animal is a dog or a wolf. No other information is provided by mtDNA testing. If the owner would like to find out if his dog had wolf genes, he would have to perform further genetic tests and examine DNA markers. [17]

Many myths come as we distinguish a wolf from a dog. As discussed previously, a wolf doesn’t usually bark. It is a myth when someone states that if an animal barks, it is most likely not a wolf. Wolves can learn to bark if taught properly. Their bark will be radiated as a panting sound. Although they will not produce bark, their panting will resemble a bark. It is often thought that wolves can only have curly tails. This is also a myth. Chow Chow’s or Malamute’s have curled tails but their ancestor the wolf, can hold its tail in any position. There are many other myths about wolves that are not true. Overall, since a dog is seen as a domesticated wolf. Its social behavior is seen as weakened and moderated wolf behavior. [17]

It is no question that there are people in our society that have wolves as pets. The reason for this is protection. Since wolves are highly defensive animals, they can protect their owners from any source of danger. Although it is important to have a sort of safe pet in the house it is important to train the wolf to understand that he or she lives in a safe environment with an owner that is their friend, not an enemy. To properly train their animal, the owner must be familiarized with the evolution of the wolf. If the owner is acquainted with the DNA of their pet as well as his or her social behavior, they will have more knowledge about their pet, which will provide them further safety. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, your Chow Chow has an ancestor that once howled. If that isn’t fascinating to you, I don’t know what is.

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Divergence of Wolves and Dogs. (2022, Jun 28). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/dogs-have-jobs/

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