Dogs are the most popular mammal kept as a pet in the UK.
The dog has been used by humans for many years for hunting, protection and working with livestock.
Although hunting has been responsible for the development of many dog breeds, dogs were also used to aid humans in protecting and working with other domesticated animals kept by man and so guard dogs and herding dogs were developed. In addition breeds were also developed to aid humans in other activities such as sled dogs, war dogs, dogs of burden, guide and rescue dogs and toy dogs developed as small companion dogs.
As a result of the wide diversity of roles in which the dog has been selectively bred to perform over the years many different breeds of dog emerged throughout the world and exist today.
The domestic dog has been represented in art for many years with the earliest being sculptures of dogs found in Iraq and dating back to 6500 BC. Dog bones have been discovered dated at around 8300 BC in the USA, 7500 BC in the UK with similar finds in Czechoslovakia. One thing is certain, the domestic dog spread rapidly all over the world.
The dog’s natural hunting instincts have been used by humans over the years to hunt a variety of prey in different environments and this led to the development of different groups of dogs, and ultimately to different dog breeds.