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Hunting Dog Origins: Tracking Hunting Dog Evolution

The origin of the hunting dog dates back to 20,000 years ago, when Mesolithic man used the first dogs to search for food, shelter and clothing. Although only one sport was hunted now, and was rarely used in the Western world for sustenance, the life of a former hunter depended on his hunting success. However, 9,000 years ago the role of the dog changed; This is when the cattle were tamed and the dog transformed from hunter to protector and guardian. In the Bronze Age, 4,500 BC, there were five different types of dogs; pointers, shepherds, mastiffs, greyhounds and wolf breeds. The first cave paintings of this time show that dogs worked together with hunters, being bred for their specific work.

During this age, man really began to cultivate the canine species according to his needs. Dogs were bred for the specific environment and climate in which they lived and eventually to hunt certain species of prey. Today’s modern dog channels these ancient ancestors, and not only is that why the dog has the superior nose for tracking prey, but that is where its instinct to hunt comes from. With the dependence of man so heavily supported on the canine, this is the moment when man and dog began to develop a deep kinship bond. The development of the dog is closely related to the evolution of humanity.

Hunting dogs were bred for certain types of hunting; bird-dogs were meant to wash birds and some to retrieve them from the water. Some were bred for tree raccoons, others to hunt rodents. Every breed of dog has its own purpose. However, as society progressed and developed, less reliance was placed on hunting and the hunting dog. Hunting became a hobby, not a necessity, and the various breeds were used as pets, not work. However, many hunters take pride in this hunting dog ancestry, study the ancient ancestry of a breed, and strive to return these dogs to their former purpose and glory.

Today, there are hundreds of breeds whose genes can be traced back to these ancient hunters. Within each type there are more subcategories based on the specific characteristics of a dog. Hounds are divided on sight or olfactory hounds; Hunting dogs consist of retrievers, setters, spaniels, water dogs, and pointers. Curs and Lakeland terriers are subcategories of the terrier. However, what all these dogs have in common is their devotion to humanity for thousands of years.

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