- European scientists have proven that the Vikings went on raids accompanied by domestic animals - dogs, horses, etc. This was revealed as a result of the analysis of the cremated burials of the Vikings of the 9th century in British Derbyshire.

Then in this area the Great Army of the Vikings set up a parking lot.

The study showed that the chemical composition of the remains of animals buried with people differs from the composition of local animals of that era. 

Could the dogs that the Vikings transported with them already have a breed?

When and where did the first dog breeds originate?

- The first primitive breeds began to appear in the late Neolithic period, when a person began to single out the specialization of dogs and breed them in accordance with it.

Long before the advent of the Vikings, there were breeds of dogs similar to modern ones.

For example, basenji - they have not changed much over thousands of years, this has been shown by a study of the ancient mummies of these dogs.

As for the Vikings, it must be understood that they usually went on campaigns for military booty on deckless drakkars that were not suitable for transporting animals.

However, when the Vikings began to colonize other regions - Iceland, Greenland, England, they went on a campaign already accompanied by cargo ships.

On such ships, the Vikings could transport their pets, which they would need in a new place.

Viking dogs were not yet divided into standardized breeds in the modern sense.

However, they already had a specialization - hunting, shepherd dogs, so there was a certain breed diversity.

  • Viking burial monument in the form of a ship, Sweden

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  • © Audra Spangler / EyeEm

- Previously, scientists suggested that all modern dogs descended from the same ancestor, and were not domesticated through the domestication of "local" wolves in different parts of the world.

What do you think of it?

What could be the common ancestor of wolves and dogs?

- First of all, it should be noted that the modern wolf cannot be tamed and used as a hunting assistant or for protection.

Moreover, all attempts to breed domesticated wolf-dog hybrids have also failed.

Yes, there are such animals, they are even kept by individual people as exotic pets.

However, even a small admixture of wolf blood spoils dogs in terms of service qualities.

It is believed that the ancestor of the modern dog and the modern wolf is a paleo wolf (megafaunal wolf. -


), which was both a predator and a scavenger, and was highly adaptable.

It was smaller than those wolves that in our time live in the middle lane.

Most likely, once groups of such animals could follow detachments of people who hunted big game.

Ancient people did not have wagons to transport all the prey to the camp, they could throw some unnecessary parts on the spot.

They were picked up by predators, over time, some of them ceased to be afraid of a person and came closer to him, gradually becoming tamed.

The same individuals that continued to be afraid of humans became the ancestors of modern wolves.

At the same time, the remains of wolves are not found in ancient human camps - this means that a dog immediately became a companion of a person, animals close to it, but not wolves.

Obviously, the domestication of animals greatly influenced the development of man himself - thanks to new assistants, he had more free time.

There are breeds that often have health problems.

In particular, the husky has autoimmune disorders, the pug has vision loss, and the beagle has epilepsy.

Why did "problem" breeds appear?

Is this related to the history of crossbreeding dogs for their breeding?

And why has the exterior of many breeds changed so much, for example, the bull terrier, the English bulldog?

- In general, all dogs get sick, just some breeds have specific problems.

However, they are often exaggerated.

For example, now all over the world there is an almost information war against brachycephalic type dogs (pugs, bulldogs, etc.), it is alleged that they have big breathing problems.

Brachycephalic dogs are not necessarily short-muzzled dogs.

The brachycephalic type of head is determined not by the long head or muzzle, but by the relative width of the forehead.

However, there are breeds of short-faced dogs that do not experience such difficulties.

  • English bulldog

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  • © Banardi banardi / 500px

If people do not allow sick dogs to be bred, then the general population will gradually become healthier.

Health problems in entire breeds of dogs appear due to the accumulation of hereditary diseases, improper breeding.

It is necessary to carefully approach the selection of breeding producers.

In the old days, sick dogs were often simply disposed of, now the attitude towards dogs is being humanized, and all individuals are cared for.

But at the same time, not all owners understand that such dogs should not be bred.

People endow animals with human needs and feelings, although in fact dogs do not realize any need to continue their kind, they can do very well without it.

In dogs, the breeding season is once a year for wild and primitive breeds, and a maximum of two times for cultivated breeds.

- How are decisions made to change the standards of a particular breed, according to which dogs are judged at shows?

Are only external signs evaluated or are other qualities also evaluated?

- There is a standard for each breed, and it contains an indication of whether it has any working qualities.

If so, then the dog must have not only a characteristic appearance, but also characteristic special behaviors.

In general, in any case, if the dog at the exhibition demonstrates a beautiful exterior, but behaves ugly and ill-mannered, it will not receive a high score.

Each breed has not only zootechnical, but also cultural and historical significance, behind each there is a huge selection work done by our ancestors.

Therefore, each breed should be treated as a work of art.

There is a rule according to which only the country where the breed was bred can make changes to the standard.

No more than once every five years, breeders and judges may meet to decide whether any changes need to be made to the standards of a particular breed.

Recently, scientists have identified the smartest dog breeds.

Representatives of the Border Collie breed successfully completed most of the cognitive tests.

But in the end they lost nine points to the Belgian Malinois (Belgian Shepherd Dogs).

 How do the mental abilities, ingenuity and emotionality of animals depend on the breed?

- It is difficult to say how correct it is to compare breeds with each other, because different breeds are created for different types of activities.

A dog bred for hunting should not perform security functions, and vice versa.

Experiments on the study of the cognitive abilities of animals were carried out before, one of the most famous researchers in the world of the cognitive abilities of animals was L.V.


It was found that the abilities to a greater extent depend not on the breed, but on the hierarchical status of the individual - high-ranking ones cope with tasks better than low-ranking ones.

But in general, pack animals, which include dogs, cope with such tasks better than single animals.

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  • © Yellow Dog Productions Inc.

In general, a dog's cognitive abilities are evident from puppyhood.

So, usually the first puppy to leave the den is the puppy that has the best developed such abilities.

True, these qualities should not be called "mind" in the usual sense, especially since people usually consider smart animals that are ready to follow and obey them - convenient for humans.

It is not necessary to assume that more independent breeds are “sillier”, just more time needs to be spent on their upbringing and training.

— How is the cognitive abilities of animals tested?

- As a rule, some tasks are set before the animals.

For example, he needs to quickly overcome a maze of artificial obstacles.

The speed of execution depends on the speed of the animal's thinking.

However, I repeat, in everyday life, by the “mind” of a dog, we mean, first of all, its obedience.

To achieve obedience, you need to train with a dog for at least three months.

It is impossible to train a dog in a few days or weeks, as commercial advertisements sometimes promise.

- A few years ago, the media wrote that the oldest Greek dog, the Alopekis, was dying out.

Despite the fact that it has come down to our days since antiquity.

How many ancient breeds of dogs are now threatened with extinction?

— I think that our huskies are no less ancient than the shepherd dogs of Central Asia.

As for alopekis, it was described by Aristotle under a slightly different name.

This is a dog of a primitive type, the Alopekis is not recognized as a full-fledged breed by any cynological organization.

According to the information that is in open sources, she was not very popular even in her homeland.

Since people considered these dogs of little value, they were actively sterilized, which led to extinction.

Fashion for dog breeds is changeable.

For example, in the years of my youth there were a huge number of Airedale Terriers on the dog grounds, now you rarely see them.

Fashion has changed and nothing can be done about it.

But each breed, even out of mass fashion, can have its dog breeders.

If there is such a core of people devoted to the breed, then it will be preserved thanks to them.

Unfortunately, in domestic practice there were cases of disappearance of breeds.

Now, for example, the fate of the Horta greyhound is alarming - this is already a small breed.

  • Alopekis

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  • © WireStock

Are there any new dog breeds being developed these days?

And how long does it take?

— Yes, they are being withdrawn, it is a continuous process.

Another issue is that any breed must pass the test of time.

Because it's very easy to crossbreed different dogs and end up with a litter of unusual puppies.

But these will be just mestizos, whose descendants in the second generation will give offspring that are unlike themselves - genetic splitting will occur.

- Are new technologies used in dog breeding, as in cattle breeding, genetic selection, for example?

— Yes, genetic technologies are now widely used in dog breeding.

For example, there are tests for the prevention of genetic diseases - they allow you to remove from breeding dogs with genetic abnormalities.