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Dogs: loyal and true

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There is such a rich history behind just about anything you choose to explore. Take dogs for instance- did you know that dogs have been with us for at least one hundred and fifty centuries! By the time humanity hit their stride, and the agricultural revolution began, dogs had already become trusted members of our community. Personally I think this is absolutely awesome. When I see my friends four pack of chihuahuas running about, happy and carefree, it is hard to imagine their ancestral origins. Dogs, so fuzzy and loyal and always hungry. You just gotta’ love ’em!!

According to www.crystalinks.com the archaeological evidence for the oldest known domestication of our canine companions is as follows:



(The bulk of the scientific evidence for the evolution of the domestic dog stems from morphological studies of archaeological findings and mitochondrial DNA studies. The divergence date of roughly 15,000 years ago is based in part on archaeological evidence that demonstrates the domestication of dogs occurred more than 15,000 years ago, and some genetic evidence indicates the domestication of dogs from their wolf ancestors began in the late Upper Paleolithic close to the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary, between 17,000 and 14,000 years ago. But there is a wide range of other, contradictory findings that make this issue controversial. There are findings beginning currently at 33,000 years ago distinctly placing them as domesticated dogs evidenced not only by shortening of the muzzle but widening as well as crowding of teeth.)


 

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What I’d like to know is what type of breed was “in style” in the year 11050…BC!! Probably more wolf than dog by our standards. Human civilization had a rocky time of it while carving out a niche and calling it civilization. When our ancestors stopped their nomadic ways, planting crops and raising livestock, they began to settle in large groups .

If I was constantly in search of my next meal I’d be tempted to hang around a place that could provide me with meal after meal indefinitely. As a matter of fact that is a sure-fire way to get a dog to stick around… We really are best friends! We think alike. Often times the hotbed of activity that erupts along with a population increase creates social stress that had not been there before. Without getting all technical (because that’s a whole other topic) people sometimes fight when there are things to fight over.

This environment gave us more to fight over- and the long history of dogs in battle began; probably over the thigh bone of a moose or something.. who knows. You know what that eventually led to; war dogs, yeah- war dogs. While I do not like the idea of my pal Ruff going into battle, it is an historic fact.

According to www.wikipedia.org, war dogs have been used in a multitude of campaigns throughout history. From scouting missions to sentry positions they have been as loyal in warfare as anywhere else. Here is a tid-bit from their site;


 

A U.S. Air Force Belgian Malinois atop an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq in 2007.

History[edit]

War dogs were used by the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Sarmatians, Alans, Slavs, Britons, and the Romans.[1][2] The Molossus dog of the Molossia region of Epirus was the strongest known to the Romans, and was specifically trained for battle.[3] Among the Greeks and Romans, dogs served most often as sentries or patrols, though they were sometimes taken into battle.[4] The earliest use of war dogs in a battle recorded in classical sources was by Alyattes of Lydia against the Cimmerians around 600 BC. The Lydian dogs killed some invaders and routed others.[5]

Often war dogs would be sent into battle with large protective spiked metal collars and coats of mail armor.[citation needed]

During the Late Antiquity, Attila the Hun used giant Molosser dogs in his campaigns.[1] Gifts of war dog breeding stock between European royalty were seen as suitable tokens for exchange throughout the Middle Ages. Other civilizations used armored dogs to defend caravans or attack enemies. The Spanish conquistadors used armored dogs that had been trained to kill natives.[6]

In the Far East, Emperor Lê Lợi raised a pack of 100 hounds, this pack was tended and trained by Nguyễn Xí whose skills was impressive enough to promote him to the Commander of a shock troop regiment.

Later on, Frederick the Great used dogs as messengers during the Seven Years’ War with Russia. Napoleon also used dogs during his campaigns. Dogs were used up until 1770 to guard naval installations in France.[citation needed]

The first official use of dogs for military purposes in the United States was during the Seminole Wars.[1] Hounds were used in the American Civil War to protect, send messages, and guard prisoners[7] Dogs were also used as mascots in American World War I propaganda and recruiting posters.[citation needed])


 

I always knew there where some dogs I did not want to tussle with but geeze…. some of these dogs where wicked ferocious. As you may have already guessed war dogs where breed for size, strength, speed and of course intelligence. The most favored type was by far the Mastiff. You’ve probably seen a few in your day. They are lumbering giants- but gentle giants- sweet and cool as a cucumber just like any other dog that hasn’t been trained for war.

I am more than just a little bit happy that we do not have many dogs going into battle these days. They are beautiful creatures that just want a cuddle and a meal. Just like us!!! So next time you look at your pup, picture him in a suite of armor with a spiked collar and remember all the sacrifice his family has made for us over the millenia… after all they’ve done for us they deserve a treat or two!

 

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