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Where Dog Breeds Come From – Origins Of Breeds

Have you ever wondered where dog breeds come from?  Some breeds are evident as their name might imply an origin like the Irish Wolfhound, for example.  But not all dog breeds have such prominent names eluding to their roots. In this article, we’ll dive into the most popular breeds and where they come from.

Origin Of Dogs

Dogs have been around on Earth for as long as us, in one form or another that is.  If we consider wolves, foxes and other wild dog relatives around the world, it isn’t so hard to comprehend how our domesticated dogs have evolved over time.  

Humans befriended dogs or maybe it was the other way around. I’ve not been able to obtain evidence to suggest one way or another. The likelihood is that it was mankind who made the first moves to domesticate and take advantage of wolves’ natural hunting and fighting abilities.  Having a wolf at your side a few thousand years back could potentially have made all the difference in a person’s life.

Dogs Throughout History

If you take a good look at the historical evidence, you’ll find that there was an interaction between humans and dogs as long ago as 36,500 years ago.  According to JJ Marks, there was evidence discovered in a cave in Belgium. It supported the relationship between dogs and humans coexisting in harmony at that time.  I write about this in more detail in my article A History of Dogs and Humans Relationship by me, Farmer Jer.

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Common Wild Dog Relatives Of The World

As all dogs came from wild canine relatives, I thought it prudent to explore some of the areas where common relatives of dogs exist. The following is a collection of some of the more common wild relatives of our furry friends. I find it interesting when considering where dog breeds come from.

Gray Wolf 

Gray Wolf
Picture By:  Mas3cf – Own work,

Max Weight 43kg

Max height 92 cm


Map of Gray Wolf Range
Picture By: Mariomassone – Own work, [1], Public Domain 

Red Fox

Red Fox
Picture By: Airwolfhound from Hertfordshire, UK – Fox – British Wildlife Centre, CC BY-SA 2.0 

Max Weight 17 kg

Max Height 50 cm


Photo of map of the range of Red Fox.
Picture By Zoologist – Own work, based on IUCN Red List  (published in 2008) and Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals, and Dogs – 2004 Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, published in 2004), CC BY-SA 3.0


Picture By Yathin S Krishnappa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Max Weight: 34 kg 

Max height: 70 cm


Range of Coyote
Picture By, CC BY-SA 3.0 

Maned Wolf

Maned Wolf
Picture By: sarefo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Max Weight: 34 kg 

Max height: 107 cm


Range of Maned Wolf
Picture By IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, species assessors and the authors of the spatial data., CC BY-SA 3.0

African Painted Dog

African Painted Dog
Picture By Charles J Sharp – Own work, from Sharp Photography, CC BY-SA 4.0

Max Weight: 36 kg 

Max height: 75 cm


Range of African Painted Dog
Picture By Nrg800 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


Picture By Johan Spaedtke – Own work, CC0

Max Weight 25 kg

Max Height 56 cm


Dhole Range
Picture By TBjornstad – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Golden Jackal

Golden Jackal
Picture By [2] – [1], CC BY-SA 2.0

Max Weight: 31 lbs/14 kg

Max Height: 20 inches/50 cm

Range: South East Europe & Southern Asia


Mark, J. J. (2019, January 14). Dogs in the Ancient World. Ancient History Encyclopedia


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