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Canine to King: The Evolutionary Trail of Man’s Best FriendBy Shane Addinall Aug 26, 2022Discover interesting historic facts about dogs as we delve into the origin of our pawsome pals. If they don’t already hold a special place in your heart, these details could tip the scales for you.
Dogs are an essential part of society, and many believe that we can learn valuable lessons from our fur friends believed to be wolf descendants. Evidence of the special bond between humans and dogs dates back centuries and the origin of the first domesticated K-9s remains somewhat of a mystery.
We celebrate International Dog Day on the 26th of August and as the global dog-lover communities commemorate our four-legged pals, we dive deeper into our intertwined existences. Were they always here and how did they become man’s best friend? From furry companions, they became movie stars, internet sensations, and the face of modern currencies.
Let’s discover interesting facts about these tail-wagging, ball-loving beings and if you feel the need for pooch companionship – adopt, don’t shop.
The Dog’s Evolution
Britannica describes dogs as ‘one of the two most ubiquitous domestic animals’ and their relationship with humans gradually evolved into what it is today, since approximately 12,000 years ago. Dogs are a subspecies of the grey wolf, with biological links to foxes and jackals. Although timelines vary from one scientific discipline to the next, it is generally accepted that domesticated dogs evolved over an extended period and originate from the Eurasia region.
Unlike their feline counterparts, dogs – referred to as canids by scientists – gradually domesticated themselves. That’s right! The wolf descendants wanted to be with humans. On a more basic level, they wanted the food that came along with the deal; the companionship was a bonus.
Palaeontologists discovered evidence that shows a gradual process of domestication as the original dogs followed humans around. They literally followed the food trail toward their domestication to eventually become our most loyal friends and companions in everyday life.
Fossil remains determine that there were five distinct breeds at the beginning of the Bronze age. These included mastiffs, wolf-type dogs, sight hounds – aka Saluki and greyhounds, pointing dogs, and herding dogs. Over the centuries their role and importance in society evolved, as did the number of breeds with the FCI recognising 360 breeds today.
Becoming Man’s Best Friend
Dogs appear a fair number of times in ancient history and their significance vary from one culture to the next until recently. In ancient Egypt, the god Anubis had a jackal, or dog, head, while in certain eastern cultures kept dogs as livestock. In our modern world, K-9s have evolved from guards and herders to service dogs and the most treasured fur family.
The first domesticated pooches from approximately 12,000 ago were mainly herding and hunting dogs and evidence exists to prove that their humans allowed them to join in on travels. Soon, their loving and loyal natures positioned them as essential companions.
Many moons would pass before they would step in as family pets, but modern society views canids as so much more than hunters and herders. The first family dogs were mainly smaller breeds as they were adorable playthings, perfect as lapdogs. Other breeds came into being to keep their owner’s surroundings safe by guarding the area or ridding it of vermin.
So Much More Than Lapdogs
Only later, in the 20th to 21st centuries, would canines jump into the forefront of society to become indelible family members, guardians of the vulnerable, and even celebrities. Although dogs have five senses like humans, some of their senses are highly developed. Their sense of smell and hearing allow them to accomplish wonderful things, and these led to the first tactical dogs and guide dogs.
Because dogs are highly lovable and trainable their capacity to help human beings became clear as science and psychology evolved. Today, service dogs that act as faithful companions to people with various disabilities are a common occurrence in some parts of the world. Their keen senses allow them to warn their human of oncoming seizures, dangerous blood-sugar levels, or the presence of allergens.
Apart from the work pups do as service dogs, they also fill voids when people choose to adopt a dog in the absence of children or a spouse. Human-dog relationships go much deeper than others and are the origin of unforgettable tales that make it onto the big screen.
Pop Culture and Pooches
With their undoubted importance in our lives, it is unsurprising that dogs are prevalent in most parts of society. They appear all over pop culture and have for decades.
✓ Hollywood Hounds
Whether it’s cartoons or real-life tales, dogs of all kinds have graced the silver screen as companions and main characters. Some of the greatest classics, dating back to the earliest movies have dogs in them and chances are that most people have heard about them.
Scooby-Doo, Snoopy, and Snowy all found their way into our hearts and these beloved children’s stories continue to add magic to society. Inspiring tales like Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Homeward Bound left eternal paw-prints on our souls. More recent four-legged celebs include Bruiser from Legally Blonde, Marley from Marley and Me, and Baxter as the only intelligent character in Anchorman.
✓ Social Media Stars
The transition from entertainment fame to internet fame was a natural evolution and today it is completely normal for a dog to have millions of followers on any social media platform. It only makes sense that if our use of SM platforms is as frequent, or rather constant, as it is that our love for dogs would transfer into these virtual worlds.
Dog influencers are not an unusual sight in 2022, and savvy owners have discovered how lucrative it is to show off their pooches’ comings and goings on Instagram, TikTok, and the likes. A pug named Doug, Maru the Shiba Inu, and Tuna with his memorable smile are only a few of the pups that took over the internet.
✓ Dog Coins
With cute and hilarious images of dogs flying across the net, their inclusion in memes was an obvious choice. What was not that obvious, was the appearance of dogs on modern currencies. They have come a long way from being wolves in the wild…
The first cryptocurrency that arrived with a dog icon was Dogecoin. Originally launched as a joke, it gave rise to the meme-coin movement and a league of dog coins on the blockchain. Developers of these lacked some imagination though as most dog coins have Inu breeds on them or refer to the breed in some way. Shiba Inus were labelled ‘The Most Memable Dog’ thanks to their adorable smiles and clearly, crypto developers think they are the most coinable too.
It has shown up many times in pop culture, although its fame goes all the way back to the early 20th century. A peculiar, and what some would call kitsch, painting with different dogs sitting around a table and playing poker made it onto many walls around the world. The artist of this unique, although strange, creation was Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, and he created more than one of these curious pieces of art.
Coolidge, the man responsible for the painting known as ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ unveiled his first iteration in the collection of oil paintings in 1894. His 9 poker pooch paintings all portrayed different poker scenarios and completed a collection of 16 paintings where dogs seem to portray humans. He eventually became a children’s book illustrator.
Pups on the Reels
Imaginative and talented igaming developers allow dog lovers to take their passion for Canids to the next level with these dog-themed slots.
✓ Doggy Riches Megaways by Red Tiger
Inspired by the age-old tradition of monarchs keeping adorable Welsh Corgis, Red Tiger introduced punters to their regal new online slot, Doggy Riches Megaways. The luxurious imagery, stellar design work, and adorable characters make this an extremely lovable slot game. Throw in the Megaways potential with a maximum win of 10,500x your stake and it is a recipe for igaming success.
Doggy Riches Megaways has rich colours with paying symbols comprising card-suit collar tags, steamy cuppas, banknotes, gloves, crowns, and lockets. With high volatility and an RTP of 96%, it presents exciting slot entertainment while a collection of bonus features puts this doggy-themed title a cut above the rest.
✓ The Dog House Megaways by Pragmatic Play
The talented team at Pragmatic Play introduce us to a quirky and cute video slot filled with adorable pups and exciting potential some time ago. More recently they upgraded the popular title to join the Megaways league and unveiled, The Dog House Megaways. This online slot has enjoyed a lot of success and ranks in the top 15 slot titles in Europe.
The revamped version remains true to the homey feel of the original, with the bonus of the massive grid and more ways to win. Cheerful music, barking pups, and the vibrant colour will lift your spirits, as will the possibility of winning 12,305x your stake. Sticky Wilds and Free Spins with a shower of Wilds make this tail-wagging slot game a classic choice for dog-loving punters.
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