The origin of the flock guard dogs

Dr. Kovács András prof. emeritus

The dog is the domesticated form of the wolf, however it is still not known where and which subspecies played a role in the process of domestication started maybe 135.000 years ago (Vila et al., 1997) and ended within the Old-World long before written history (Clutton-Brock, 1984; Kovács and Rózsáné Várszegi, 2015). Besides live or extinct Eurasian subspecies of the grey wolf (Canis lupus, L.) the role of the African golden wolf (Canis anthus, F. Cuvier 1820) might be also supposed (Kovács and Rózsáné Várszegi, 2015).

The place and time of the sheep domestication is exactly known, it happened 11.000 years ago in the territory of North-Iraq (Perkins, 1964 cit. Bökönyi, 1976). The domestication of the Bezoar Goat (Capra aegagrus) happened about 1.000 years later in Western Iran (Bökönyi, 1977). The excavated evidence is supported by the identical chromosome set of the Asiatic Mouflon and domestic sheep (2n=54), as the Argali and Urial wildsheep living eastwards have higher chromosome numbers (Nadler et al., 1973) and also different mitochondrial DNA (Hiendleder et al., 1998). The domestic dogs in the Middle-East before sheep domestication were of small sizes, such as the find from the Palegawra Cave, Iraq and dogs of the Natufian period, Israel (Braidwood and Howe, 1960; Clutton-Brock, 1984; Lawrence and Reed, 1983; Turnbull and Reed, 1974). Bones of larger dogs were found close to the area of sheep and goat domestication: Jarmo, North-Iraq, Suberde, Anatolia and Kermansah Valley, West-Iran (Braidwood and Howe, 1960; Clutton-Brock, 1984) are 9.000 years old. Domestic sheep reached Europe 7.000 years ago (Ryder, 1984) accompanied by the large flock guard dogs (Clutton-Brock, 1984; Kovács, 1988; Kovács and Rózsáné Várszegi, 2015).



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Kovács, A. 1988. The Kuvasz. Seminar, August 30., 1988 Toronto, Canada.  2014.09.15. 10.00h

Kovács, A. – Rózsáné Várszegi Zs. 2015: The origins of the nine Hungarian dog breeds. in: Kőrösi, A. – Szotyori-Nagy, Á. (eds.): Szürkék, Rackák, Mangalicák (Hungarian Grey, Racka, Mangalitsa). Magyar Mezőgazdasági Múzeum és Könyvtár (Museum and Library of Hungarian Agriculture).

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