Canine Family Tree
All canines can trace their roots back to wolves, but it took several thousands of years for most breeds to appear as how we recognize them today. The story begins about 30,000 years ago, when all dogs ran wild and none were domesticated. Somewhere between 30,000 and 15,000 years ago some dogs began hanging around humans, most likely attracted by discarded bones and scraps. It is theorized that these might have been the more docile of the pack, as they would have become less likely over time to mate with territorial, pack-running wolves. Because of their somewhat selective mating, their appearance started to change. Fast forward to somewhere between 15,000 and 200 years ago, when farming was becoming more prevalent. Dogs become more domesticated and genetic mutations start to appear, such as the stumpy legs of present-day basset hounds. Terrier-sized dogs also make their first appearance between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago. 200 years ago, man began selectively breeding dogs to get the gene variants they wanted. It was during this time that the flat face of the bulldog first appeared, as well as the gene variants of the poodle. Today, dogs are still selectively bred for their personality, coat, or appearance. “Designer dogs” have started making an appearance, such as the Labradoodle (Labrador cross-bred with a poodle) or a puggle (pug bred with a beagle).
For a career that will give you up-close contact with a wide variety of dogs and maybe even an occasional wolf, consider becoming a veterinary technician. In two years you can complete vet technician school, which will also include many hours of clinical experience where you can practice what you have learned in the classroom. Upon graduation you can apply for a job at a veterinary clinic, a wildlife sanctuary, or even a zoo! Veterinary technicians choose their career path usually because they love animals and love to help them, although many vet techs also argue that you need to love people too, since you’ll be interacting with the animals’ owners as well. The duties of a vet tech are similar to the duties of a nurse in human care, and might include tasks such as drawing blood, administering medication, assisting in surgery, monitoring anesthesia, and educating owners on the care of their animals. Classes can be completed online, in person, or a combination of both.
Infograph from Dog Files