Dogs That Changed The World

Published on 20th September 2017 by

Dogs That Changed The World is a two part 2007 PBS documentary series which explores the history of the dog, from its very earliest evolution from wolf to domesticated animal all the way up to modern times when dogs have been radically changed by intentional selective breeding and many hundreds of distinct breeds which each have distinct physical attributes and a diverse range of temperaments. It is an astonishing evolution from the wild wolf to the domesticated pet and the transformation has taken just 15000 years.

Episode 1: The Rise of the Dog

The first episode explores the earliest years of evolution from wolf to dog and theories around how it happened, including the theory of biologist Raymond Coppinger that the transformation was natural and that it was the result of human food waste. The episode also looks at the genetic analysis of Peter Savolainen of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden whose research has placed the origins of the first dogs in East Asia, and examines the 14 modern day dog breeds that are most closely genetic related to the earliest dogs.

Episode 2: Dogs by Design

The second episode explores the different characteristics of modern day dog breeds, and how they have retained the character traits of their earlier feral ancestors, and how different breeds have retained different character traits which have made them useful to their human friends as working dogs. The episode also looks as the working dogs of today, they are herding, searching and saving lives.

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