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Genetics and the Evolution of Dog Breeds

The history of dog breeding:

  It is a large subject, and to deal with each separate breed would entail a volume in itself. Here I shall give only a brief outline of the history of research in genetics, with a few remarks on the evolution of some of the better-known breeds.

  To begin with, the dog goes far back into antiquity. Just where or when he first originated it would be impossible to say, but we do know that he is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. The quotation from Eccle-siastes, "A living dog is better than a dead lion," has become a proverb. Isaiah refers to "dumb dogs," while Solomon says, "The dog turneth to his own vomit again."

  In Biblical days the dog must have been much more dependent on his own physical prowess for his defense than is usual today. Solomon again speaks of one who mixes with trouble as being "like one that taketh a dog bv the ears." Even then, in those far-off days, the canine members of the community must have had their share of beating—and just in passing, anyone who takes a dog by the ears deserves all he gets! Did not Goliath the Philistine say to David, "Am I a dog that thou comest to me with staves?"

  In translating the Scriptures the word "dog" is used in various ways to represent different members of the canine family. In those days the dog was an honored member of the household, just as he is today, but frequently the word is also used to denote jackals and hyenas. When David said, "They return at evening; they make a noise like a dog, and go round the city,'' he must have been referring to hyenas, which haunted the towns and lived on the refuse which was thrown outside them. Likewise, "Deliver . . . from the power of the dog . . ." must not mean the dog as we understand it, but rather the wolf. The countryside was infested with these creatures, as is shown by the fact that shepherds were always set to keep guard. And they were savage animals, for they were frequently used as examples of cunning and ferocity.
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