By Gregory McNamee, Illustrations by Angela Cockayne
All hounds are dogs. All dogs are not hounds, a fact for which dog trainers everywhere are no doubt grateful.
Every one of the world’s 400 dog breeds has its origins in Canis lupus, the wolf, domesticated on the trash middens of the ancient world, their archetype not the wolf but something like the ur-dogs that inhabit the landfills and industrial edgelands of the world today: small, scruffy, tan.
Humans and Canis lupus, in its familiaris form, have thus been together for thousands of years. In that time humans have tinkered, as they have with other plants and animals around them, to make dogs more useful. Five thousand–odd years ago, the Egyptians bred something like the greyhound. At about that time, far away on the islands recently separated from the European mainland by rising seas that inundated the aptly named Doggerland, ancestral Britons were breeding familiaris for guarding livestock and hunting.
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