It's hard to imagine a time when man's best friend wasn't man's best friend. In this Working Dog Spotlight, we take a look at the pursuit that brought the two sides together.
It's believed that the first time man and canine joined together for hunting was around 20,000 years ago; how this occurred exactly is unknown. It's thought that the early hunter-gatherer groups began domesticating wolves that were proficient in spotting and then flushing out targets.
Slowly, as humans evolved, the wolves evolved with them. Wolves who were more aggressive towards humans were cast out in favour of wolves who were more subservient.
The Egyptians are believed to have been one of the first groups of people that began breeding dogs specifically for hunting purposes. Egyptians valued the dogs for their highly refined skills in sourcing and sighting game across vast stretches of desert.
Types of Hunting Dogs
- Sight Hounds
- These dogs have excellent vision and are able to spot prey from extreme distances. They are typically very quick and can move in on prey in a flash.
- Sight hounds are tall and have large, sharp eyes. They are built more for speed than most other hunting dogs.
- These dogs are used specifically for retrieving birds that have landed in bodies of water. Their coats are water-repellent and their toes are webbed for quick, powerful swimming.
- Pointer dogs have been bred to locate and point out prey. These dogs have highly developed senses and are able to locate even the most disguised or hidden game.
- Scent Hounds
- These dogs are specialized in tracking and locating game using their heightened sense of smell. They are even able to follow a specific scent for several days without rest.
- They will normally have their bodies low to the ground and are equipped with long ears that funnel the prey's scent into their nose.
Check out the rest of our Working Dog Spotlight series:
“The History Behind Hunting With Dogs.” Hunting Dogs, 8 Dec. 2015, www.hunting-dog.net/the-history-behind-hunting-with-dogs/.
Team, Cuteness. “History and Characteristics of Hunting Dogs | Cuteness.” Cuteness.com, Cuteness, 9 Feb. 2017, www.cuteness.com/blog/content/history-and-characteristics-of-hunting-dogs.