The Descent of Dogs
Dogs have long been man's best friend, but no one has really been sure how long man and canine have been in association with each other.Scientists now think dogs are from Asia, and have been with us shorter than some people thought. Three teams, working separately on the problem of the origin of dogs, studied Old World dogs, New World dogs and doggy social cognition.
Originally, dogs were thought to have come from the Middle East, like goats, sheep and other livestock. Another theory said dogs were 'regionally' domesticated and came from several local canids around the world, causing the different looks to various types of dogs.
The genetic evidence brought together by two team studying Old and New World dogs points to only 3 founding females having come from Asia about 15,000 years ago and being responsible for 95% of modern dog stock. Intensive breeding by humans over the last 500 years, not different genetic origins, is responsible for the different looking modern dog breeds dogs.
Also studied was the dog's ability to judge human social cues, like facial expression and pointing. This was found to be better in all dogs, even young puppies, than in either wolves or chimpanzees, showing the human 'fingerprint' on dogs is more indelible than you might suppose.