Archive for June, 2012

Black pugs were once considered a very distinct variety from the other colors. According to contemporary accounts, they were derived from more recent imports from China that were quite distinct from the pug that developed in England by the nineteenth century.

The conventional story on the origin of the pug goes as follows:

The Chinese, who were well-known for breeding brachycephalic dogs, had several types of brachcephalic dogs when European traders arrived, first from Portugal and then the Dutch.

The Dutch in particular were taken by the little brachycephalic dogs, usually referred to as “happa dogs,” which they brought back to Europe.

The Dutch then developed their own strains of smooth-coated, brachycephalic dogs that then contributed to the toy griffons of Belgium and the brachycephalic toy spaniels of England.

So much were the dogs associated with the Netherlands during the period of the Dutch Republic, that they are were called “Dutch pugs.”

It’s really not clear how much of this story is true.

Initial genetic studies that examined the differences between breeds didn’t find the pug to be that closely related to the shih-tzu or pekingese. This study looked at only 100 genetic markers, so the results could have been biased. However, at the time, it was a revolutionary study that examined the differences between breeds.

However, a genome-wide analysis that examined 48,000 SNP’s found that pugs were most closely related the Brussels griffon, whose Petit Brabancon variety looks very much like a small pug (when its ears and tail are left intact). However, the study found that pugs and Brussels griffons did share a common ancestor with the peke and shih-tzu.

This latter study appears to confirm the claims in the conventional history of the pug. The pug would be more closely related to the Brussels griffon because both breeds would have descended from happa dogs that were imported at an earlier date than the time in which pekes, which were crossed with contemporary happas and Japanese chin, and shih-tzus arrived in the West.

However, another genome-wide study, which unfortunately didn’t include  Brussels griffons, pekingeses or shih-tzus, found a close affinity between the pug and the Jack Russell terrier. This study examined an even broader sample of the genome than the earlier 48,000 SNP study. It looked at 170,000 SNP’s, which is the biggest sample of dog genetic material I’ve seen analyzed in any paper, but because it didn’t include pekes, shih-tzus, or Brussels griffons it’s pretty hard to say if Jack Russells and pugs are that closely related.

But it may be that the initial happa type came over in only limited numbers during the height of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, and Dutch and later English and Belgian breeders added small European breeds to the initial happa imports, increasing its leg length and creating the Brussels griffon.

Pugs originally came in many more colors than they do today, and it was only with the rise of the institutionalized British dog that the modern pug was developed, and it’s here that we can find accounts that are somewhat different from the official stories.

Rawdon Lee, the late nineteenth century dog expert, claimed that pugs were from “Holland,” which is a word that is sometimes used to refer to the Netherlands, even though Holland is only a region within the Netherlands. However, Lee also contended that the black pugs were from China.

On the origins of the non-black pug, Lee writes in his A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland (Non-sporting Division) (1894) that this type of pug was  most likely from Europe:

The pug has never been claimed in this country [the UK] as a native breed, but was supposed to have been a native of Holland, and even to this day is sometimes called the Dutch pug. As it happens, at present more of them are with us now than is the case in any other country on the Continent, although the pug has a wide range, extending pretty much from the east to the west of Europe. In France and Italy it is a favourite with the ladies, and at one period of its existence, but for a short time only, it was known in the former country as the Carlin, owing to its black mask or muzzle, a name given it in honour of a popular harlequin named Carlin. This, of course, was but a passing fancy, and prior to Carlin’s popularity they had been known as doguins or roquets, but afterwards they obtained the commoner, if less euphonious name of pugs (pg. 254)

On the black pug, which has its own section, Lee writes:

Here is a new variety, which has certainly appeared and obtained identity as such within the past two or three years, although we must go back a little further for the time when a few specimens were occasionally exhibited in our show rings; these being the property of the late Lady Brassey, and they were first shown at Maidstone in 1886. Perhaps to form a direct contrast to these early specimens, some kind of an attempt had been made to produce white pugs; but herein success was not achieved, the nearest approach thereto being one that a couple of years ago was shown in New York, and another sent to the Birmingham show in 1892, by Miss Dalziel, of Woking, but neither was of that snowy whiteness which one would require, and both I should take to be more “sports” than anything else. Still I do not see any reason why white pugs could not be produced by judicious crossing with the palest fawn specimens, with a slight dash of white bulldog or bull terrier to assist matters. However, this is digression.

It seems strange that with such a modern variety of dog there should be serious doubts about its origin, and there are certainly differences of opinion on the matter. On one side it is stated to have come from the North of China, and that Lady Brassey brought a specimen therefrom when she was touring round the world in her yacht, the ” Sunbeam.” Again it is said the breed first sprang up accidentally, it being a ” sport” produced in the north of London by one of the working fanciers in that locality, who had a particularly dark-coloured strain of the ordinary pug. Mrs. W. H. B. Warner, of Northallerton, at the close of 1893, showed a little black dog which she had brought from Japan, where it was said to be of a rare and choice breed. This is nothing else than a long-coated pug- i.e., pug in character and shape, but with a jacket such as is seen on a Pomeranian. But there is no reason to doubt that in the East there are as many varieties of the dog as we have here. However, it is only in place that this latest of importations should be mentioned here. In, however, suggesting that our black pugs may have come from some such dog as this, it must not be forgotten that they have very short and thin jackets, the antipodes of this little fellow of Mrs. Warner’s.

Personally, I believe there may be truth in both statements, that a black pug was accidentally produced, and at the same time a specimen or two had been brought from the East. Although Lady Brassey makes no allusion to a black pug in her published journals of the voyage of the “Sunbeam,” still I know as a fact that two or three similar dogs were on her yacht, but whether they were then called black pugs is another question. More likely they were known as Chinese pugs.

A writer in a recent number of Black and White says: “It is rather unfortunate that the late Lady Brassey should have allowed the origin of the new pug to remain a mystery, but there seems little doubt that it hailed from China, as in a weekly contemporary, only the other day, I saw a copy of an advertisement which had been appearing in the North China Daily News: ‘Lost, near the Hong Kong and Syezchen Roads, last evening, a small Peking Pug, black body and head, white paws. Anyone finding same will be rewarded on bringing it to Kelly and Walsh, Limited, Shanghai.’ The white paws were evidently uncommon, and were the lost dog’s distinguishing marks. I have also learned that a lady in the West End bought a black pug bitch from a sailor on one of the cargo ships just in the docks from China. Another lady at Willesden also bought one in the same way. This one was, however, unfortunately burnt in a fire, and before the purchaser had bred from her; but it is an undoubted fact that these pugs came off a Chinese vessel just arrived in port, and were sold to them as Chinese pugs. One lady describes hers as ‘very short in face, good curl tail, and a beautiful jet black’—a perfect pug in points. Again, I have heard of a ‘Chinese pug’ being bought at Portsmouth from a ship calling there.


The black pug is now a more cobbily and thickly-made dog than was the case three or four years ago; he is lower on the legs, and his head, face, and skull are more characteristic of our own pug dog, and he is likely in the future to breed quite as true to type as any other of our modern varieties; thus in due course he will popularise himself.

Although it was not until 1886 that black pugs first appeared at our shows, long before this time Lady Brassey had them at Normanhurst. A pair were given to a lady in Liverpool. Lord Londonderry was likewise presented with a specimen, and later I hear that Her Majesty the Queen took one, amongst her other canine companions, to Balmoral, on the usual royal visit to the Highlands. The royal pug, which bore the name of “Brassey” in honour of its donor, died at Windsor in 1891, and, so far as I can learn, not one of these four animals left any progeny behind (pg. 269-274).

Lee thought that the black pug was really quite distinct from the non-black variety. Not only was its origin in China rather than Europe, it was a very different in its constitution and health:

Mrs. Fifield and Miss “Mortivals”  both accord the black pugs excellent characters. They say they are hardier than the fawn, especially when past puppyhood, and even when young they are not much trouble to rear. Oily food suits them best, and Miss “Mortivals” gives hers linseed once a week, it improving their coats and making them appear smarter and cleanlier than they would without it.

Mrs. Fifield writes that “the black pugs differ materially from the fawns; firstly they are not so susceptible to cold. The prettiest sight I remember was seeing the delight of an exquisite litter of black puppies in their first snowstorm; they simply revelled in it. They are much more tenacious in affection, for, while the fawns freely make friends, no enticements will induce the blacks to leave their owners, and, although very timid, they are wonderfully intelligent and easily learn tricks. They are cleanly in their habits, but, whilst the fawns are proverbially greedy, the blacks are extremely dainty feeders. A combination of such excellent traits makes them the most perfect companions ladies can possibly wish for.”

I think I have produced sufficient evidence to satisfy carpers that no wrong has been done in introducing in this volume the Black Pug as a distinct variety. The evidence of those who keep him proves this, not only because the blacks are, even in disposition, unlike the fawns, but because the former breed equally true to type as the latter

So far as the points and description are concerned, excepting in colour the two should be alike, but whether by introducing the “fawn” strain one or two of the distinguishing traits in the blacks may be ultimately lost is a question upon which there may be two opinions. The blacker the black pug is the better; he should be free from white, and any brown or bronze tinge is a very severe handicap when being judged in the ring (pg. 277-278).

By Lee’s account, one could have made the case that the black pug should have become its own breed. However, there likely weren’t many of them in the UK at the time, and it may have been impossible to create a breeding program for them without having to include some “native” non-black dogs as outcrosses. Black is a dominant color, though, it would have been fairly easy to get it established within pugs with just a few crosses to these anomalous black dogs from China.

It’s very likely that these black dog do descend from animals brought over from China. They would have been of the happa type, though with longer legs and less extreme conformation than the European pug. These dogs likely were breeding with very little human intervention– and very little inbreeding– and it would not have been a surprise that they would have been a bit hardier than the show pugs in England at the time.

It would have been very interesting if the black pug had been established as its own breed. From what Lee suggests, it would have been fairly easy to make the case that these dogs were quite distinct from the European pugs of the time, and thus, they were in need of their own registry.

In the end, it seems fairly clear that the history of the pug involves dogs from both the East and the West.  The landrace of small brachycephalic dogs that is still quite common in parts of China was cleaved off through importation of some individuals into the West and then “improved” through the judicious addition of small European dogs. And then there was at least one other wave of later importation from the East, which introduced the black color into the breed.

In this way, the history of the pug most closely resembles that of Labrador retrievers, which were initially derived from smooth-coated St. John’s water dogs that were imported from Newfoundland. The strains that gave us the modern Labrador were kept by the Dukes of Buccleuch in Scotland and the Earls of Malmesbury in England through much of the nineteenth century. In the 1880’s, the two lines were merged and then augmented with more imports from Newfoundland.

Both of these breeds were refined in the UK, even though at least some of their ancestry could be traced to other parts of the world.

Indeed, the UK is the FCI patron country for both the pug and the Labrador retriever. If it had not been for British dog breeders, neither of these dogs would exist in its current form. Pugs would still be a variable type of dog in Europe, and the Chinese landrace of small brachycephalic dogs would still exist as it does today.

So the pug is a creation of the British dog fancy, even though it has origins in other parts of Europe and in China.


Some may think that my analogy that compared the pug to the Labrador retriever is incorrect.

The fairer comparison is the basenji.

Basenjis were imported from Central Africa in several waves, but it wasn’t until 1990, when the studbook accepted 14 imports from the Congo, that the brindle coloration was added to the breed.

The black pug, one might argue, is similar to the brindle basenji in that a color from the country of origin was added from a later import.

However, I think this is a false analogy.

Pugs, unlike basenjis, were not kept in closed registries when they were initially brought to Europe. They were heavily outcrossed to indigenous European breeds, which likely created the Brussels griffon as we know it today. It also could be a source for some of the brachcephaly that exists in English toy spaniels– which is a great historical irony.  The toy spaniel was associated with the Stuarts, who worked very hard for a more powerful monarchy in England, and the pug  was associated William of Orange, who overthrew the last Stuart king, James II,  to begin the Glorious Revolution. William of Orange was a Dutch statholder, and it was the Dutch who introduced pugs to England during this time period.

The pugs that existed in Europe from the seventeenth century to the late nineteenth century would have been very different from those in China– much more so than Western basenjis are from those in Africa.

So the pug is truly an invention of East and West, while the basenji is still African.


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Richard Dawkins shows how flatfish disprove intelligent design, and Sir David Attenborough shows how flatfish develop from normal-looking fry that have eyes on both side of their heads into fish that have eyes on only one side.


A really good transitional fossil was recently discovered that shows how these fish might have evolved their peculiar shape from “normal” fish.

I would love to know the genetic basis for how these fish develop.

They start out as typical fry, but then the code within their DNA causes them to develop into something quite bizarre.

Think about how strange these fist are.

Imagine if you bought a puppy with eyes on both sides of its head, and then as the puppy matured, one eye began to migrate over to the other side. And then the dog started crawling around on its side/

That’s about what happens with flatfish.

But as strange as is their adaptations are, they are quite successful. They have been around for 50 million years, and there are anywhere from 400 to 600 species of them living on the planet at this time.

An intelligent designer would have made the flatfish like rays and skates, which are actually flattened out sharks. Skates and rays born flattened out and move very efficiently in the water. Flatfish really don’t move so efficiently in the water, and they don’t move very far from the sand in which they normally bury themselves.  Although many rays do bury themselves in the sand, manta rays swim in open water for great distances. There is not a single fish in the flatfish lineage that has evolved to be anything like a manta ray.

It’s probably because of the historical legacy of having evolved this body type that flatfish will be stuck on the ocean floor.

If they could evolve greater efficiency as swimmers, they might be able to go a different route.

And one could imagine that someday there might be an efficiently swimming flatfish that is able to take to the water column in search of prey. It would likely still have the eyes on one side of its head, and it would truly be a bizarre creature to behold!


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These wome keep monkeys as their perpetual children, even when the monkeys bit their real children!

I don’t think monkeys make particularly good pets. The potential zoonoses alone should make one really think carefully before bringing a non-human primate into the home.

But to make one your ersatz child, that’s a somewhat–um– pathological.

And, as you’ll see, when the monkeys are bad, they call in the “monkey whisperer” to get them under control!

(See Part II and the rest here)

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The Answer.

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All black wolves that have been examined in modern times have been found to be dominant blacks. The dominant black mutation first originated in domestic dogs and was transmitted through crossbreeding between wolves and dogs. However, there is at least one record of a wolf that was carrying recessive black.

Recessive black is most commonly found in German and Belgian shepherds. It can also be found in pulik, Samoyeds, schipperkes. Shetland sheepdogs, and the so-called “American Eskimo dog,” which is actually an American variant of the German spitz.

It’s one of two ways that a dog can be solid black, but it’s far less common than dominant black.

The mutation that causes dominant black originated either in dogs or the wolf population that became dogs, because the mutation is older in domestic dog populations than in wolves. This black coloration wasthen transmitted to Italian and New World wolves through cross-breeding with domestic dogs.  All wolves that have been examined in North America thus far have turned out to be dominant blacks, as have those in Italy.

However, there was at least one case of a wolf carrying recessive black in the literature.

The Soviet zoologist and dog expert N.A. Iljin carried out several experiments crossing various dogs with wolves. In 1941, he reported on the progeny of a male wolf that was bred to a female mongrel sheepdog.  In the first litter, there were black and “zonar gray” (wild wolf gray puppies). If the dog in question were a dominant black, then the entire litter would have been black, but getting gray puppies suggested a very different conclusion.

After breeding from the offspring for several generations, Iljin discovered that the black was being inherited as a recessive allele, which means the dog in question was a recessive black– and the wolf was a carrier!

Now, results of Iljin’s study have been used to show that wolves carried recessive black from the beginning.

However, since the time of Iljin’s work, no one has found a recessive black wolf.  The team of geneticists at UCLA have found only dominant black in wolves.

So it’s possible that this wolf was not actually “pure,” and at some point, one of its ancestors was a recessive black dog. I would not be surprised if someone had crossed a recessive black German shepherd into captive Russian wolves at some point. Iljin himself was very much into breeding German shepherds to wolves, and his studies on wolf and German shepherd morphology are pretty much classic literature for those interested in wolves and dogs.

So maybe recessive black did exist in certain Old World wolves from the beginning, but it’s just not been confirmed in the genetic literature in the same way that dominant black has.

I don’t know of another species besides Canis lupus that has two separate genetic variants for melanism. Coyotes have inherited dominant black from breeding with either dogs or wolves, and golden jackals and Ethiopian wolves could also inherit both types of melanism through similar hybridization.

So it’s very interesting that we have this one case of a wolf carrying recessive black, but we need more information to see where this color came from.

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Golden retriever fetching logs in Minnesota.

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Two dogs killing a deer in Ohio.

(Source for images)

I’ve noticed that dog people like to view their animals through reductionist paradigms.  It’s really an easy way of trying to make sense of what is really a complex matter:   the relationship between humans and dogs. The relationship between our two species is as complex as it is ancient, and because it has both complexity and antiquity, it is mysterious.

But in order to explain this relationship, paradigms have developed to explain why dogs and people like each other. Inherent in trying to understand this relationship is trying to understand what a dog actually is. We also try to figure out ways in which it differs from its wild ancestor, which should give us some understanding of what its innate nature actually is.

Sadly, trying to answer these questions has resulted in the development of reductionist paradigms, which often ignore evidence that disputes the essential assumptions of the paradigm.

Two really problematic reductionist pardigms have developed in recent years. Both are in response to each other, and both have very big problems when actually applied to understanding what dogs are.

The first of these is dogs is the one that says dogs are not wolves.  Dogs never form packs, they say.  They are never capable of cooperative hunting because they are perpetually wolf pups.

Usually, someone throws in some of Raymond Coppinger’s neoteny theories, which say that all dogs are simply juvenilized wolves and that Western working breeds are juvenilized only so they exhibit stunted predatory motor patterns. Pointers are stuck making stalking behavior. Herding dogs can only chase and stalk. Andd retrievers can only catch prey and bring it back. Because these dogs are juvenilized wolves, they can never exhibit wolf cooperative hunting behavior.

Much of the acceptance of this claim comes from a reaction to the crackpot variants of what is called “dominance theory.” Dominance within ethology is a very specific term that refers only to an animal getting “priority access to limited resources.” Unfortunately, dominance has become a catch-all for some pseudo-dog experts. Some of these people claim that virtually any time a dog doesn’t obey instantly it’s being “dominant” to you, and the best thing you should do is put him back in his place in the hierarchy.

This paradigm comes largely from observing unrelated wolves that were kept in enclosures together. Trying to make assessments about how dogs ought to behave through observing stressed out, reactive wolves is a fool’s errand. Dogs are very happy to be in captivity– which is exactly what you’d expect from them being the oldest domestic animal. They are also much more tolerant of strangers of their own species than virtually all wolves are. Wolves often kill other wolves that wander onto their territories, and if dogs were as aggressive with strangers of their own species as wolves are, dog parks would be an impossibility. Further, dogs bond with and learn from people much more easily than wolves do, so one cannot understand how dog “ought” to behave without trying to understand how they interact with people.

This one doesn’t try to make a claim that dogs are wolves. It merely assumes that because we have studies on wolves that show this behavior that we should be able to apply it to dog and human interactions.  This is not a good assumption.

Virtually everyone who has read the literature and has also spent time with lots of dogs rejects the crackpot dominance paradigm.

However, some people have replaced it with the other paradigm, which is just as problematic.

The biggest problem is that domestic dogs can learn to form packs and hunt, kill, and consume large prey.

Ask any sheep producer about the problem of packs of stray dogs.  They will tell you that sheep are quite vulnerable to attacks from wandering bands of domestic dogs. Some dogs get very good at hunting sheep together, and they often surplus kill, which means that a couple of dogs can wipe out an entire flock in pretty short order.

Secondly, I’ve heard a great many stories of dogs killing deer. My grandfather was a foxhound enthusiast in the 50’s, and every year, the local foxhound club held a field trial. They’d buy a permit from the state DNR, and they turn out 60 foxhounds into the woods. The dogs got scored for scenting the fox and running it close for a long distance.

But a great many dogs were disposed toward deer chasing.  When you turn out that many dogs, it doesn’t take much encouragement for them to take off after a deer. Out of that 60 dogs, there might be 20 that take off after deer, and of these, about half will cooperatively run down the deer in exactly the same manner as one would expect from wolves.

He told me that one year, the dogs killed something like 3 or 4 deer. One they ran nearly ten miles before they killed it. They just so happened to have dropped the deer in the middle of a pasture, and the farmer who lived there was quite upset. There were about a half-dozen foxhounds eating on a deer carcass in his pasture, and he wanted the DNR to shoot the dogs. The local conservation officer said that he would not. The foxhound club had paid for the permit, and if the dogs killed a deer, it just was part of the game.

Now, when I read someone parroting the line that dogs never pack up to hunt prey, I am reminded of these stories about the old foxhound trials. Foxhounds may not be a particularly specialized breed in the way that Coppinger suggests.  He specifically says that scent hounds don’t have any real behavioral specialization at all.

But even the breeds that have specializations in their predatory behavior are capable of hunting in packs.

Take this story of a pack of retrievers killing a deer in Alaska:

A doe had to euthanized after it was attacked by four dogs at a Juneau wetlands.

Local resident Frank Rue called animal control officials Sunday morning to report the attack.

Rue said the dogs were two golden retrievers, a yellow Labrador retriever and a skinny black lab mix with a curly tail. The dogs appeared to be wearing collars.

“I found it very disturbing that people’s pets — and that’s the main thing, pets — would be running loose,” Rue said.

He spotted the dogs from his home about a quarter mile away and used his binoculars to see if there were any people with the animals, but saw none.

His wife then saw the doe. Rue believes the dogs chased the deer from Douglas Island.

“My reaction was, the deer looked like it was in trouble,” he said, “so I figured I would go out and see if I could catch a couple of the dogs, because I had some leashes, and find out who their owners were and get them away from the deer.”

It was low tide, so Rue walked across the wetlands and whistled to the dogs, who took off running.

Rue said the doe had a torn back leg and kept falling.

Authorities determined the deer had to be put down. The carcass was donated to the Juneau Raptor Center.

“When we examined the deer, all the injuries came from the dogs,” said Brian Weed with the Gastineau Humane Society animal control. “The deer didn’t seem to have any damage from anything else.”

At the scene, Weed and State Troopers Nick Massey and Shaun Kuzakin saw two golden retrievers running toward Douglas Island. They searched the area but couldn’t find the dogs.

Retrievers are supposed to have juvenilized predatory motor patterns, and thus, they would not be able to form a pack like these dogs did and inflict such injuries on a deer.

But they did.

Furthermore, these retrievers are all derived from ancestors on Newfoundland that had strong retrieving behavior but were also required to hunt for their own food at certain times of year. Free-roaming, “off-duty” water dogs in Newfoundland retarded the entire sheep industry on the island. The dogs were notorious sheep killers, even though they also were hard driving retrievers that would dive in to freezing water to fetch nets, lines, fish, seabirds, ducks, and even seals.

I happened to have owned a golden retriever that would retrieve anything with a soft mouth, including eggs. However, she learned from a Norwegian elkhound how to hunt, kill, and consume rabbits, and she would readily hunt rabbits for food. Her retrieving behavior did not keep her full hunting behavior stunted. It was like she had both behavior, and she knew when to use both– just as her ancestors in Newfoundland clearly did.

The other problem with the theory that dogs don’t hunt cooperatively is that they fall back on studies of street dogs from either urban areas or from developing countries.  Street dogs don’t get much of a chance to hunt because they live where there aren’t a lot of prey species. Further, they haven’t had any reason to learn how to hunt. Scavenging off the fat off human civilization is much easier. Dogs from developing countries also often have access to open garbage dumps, which are much easier feeding opportunities than what they’d get from hunting.

The only exception to these studies are the ones that look at stray and free roaming dogs in Italy, but then again, the dogs don’t have any reason to learn cooperative hunting. There are not many large game species in Italy, so even the wolves are forced to scavenge at garbage dumps. The dogs are more tolerant of each other than wolves are, so they are able to form huge packs around their garbage dumps and keep the wolves at bay. The dogs and wolves sometimes exchange genes, resulting in wolves with black coats and dew claws on the hind legs.

No one seems to get that there are dogs that evolved to live free of large garbage dumps.

We just don’t call them dogs.

They are better known as dingoes.

Dingoes are East Asian domestic dogs that went feral in the Australian bush.  They are not missing links between dogs and wolves. They are truly feral domestic dogs that are most closely related to street and village dogs in Indonesia. They form packs to hunt larger macropods, and they occasionally formed relationships with indigenous Australians in order to hunt cooperatively.

To debunk the crackpot dominance paradigm, some well-meaning people have attached themselves to a series of assertions that are just as problematic as what they are debunking.

People are trying to come up with hard and fast delineations between what separates a dog from a wolf. So far, I’ve come across only two that clearly separate them. Wolves have an active supracaudal gland. Dogs don’t. Dogs sweat through their feet. Wolves don’t. Well, at least northern wolves don’t. I would not be surprised to find out that southern wolves from the Middle East or the Indian subcontinent sweated through their feet. These are the subspecies most closely related to the domestic dog, and it would make sense that dogs and these wolves wold share this trait.

Clear delineations between dogs and wolves simply don’t exist.

The only really good way to understand dogs is to think of them as a subspecies of wolf that is specially adapted to living in a human environment.

The claim that dogs are just neotenous canids that never can hunt cooperatively in packs sounds very convincing on paper, but the real animals don’t read the books.

They are capable of learning many different behaviors from each other and from us.

If hunting together in a pack is something dogs obviously have learned to do, well, it sort of shoots the hole paradigm down.

And just as we reject the crackpot dominance theory, we have to reject the reactionary theory that came out in response to it.

Dogs are too complex for our attempts to simplify them.

That ought to be our rule whenever we try to consider them and their relationship with us.

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