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Geographical Origin of the Domestic Dog

  1. Cornelya FC Klütsch,
  2. Peter Savolainen

Published Online: 15 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0022867

eLS

eLS

How to Cite

Klütsch, C. F. and Savolainen, P. 2011. Geographical Origin of the Domestic Dog. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. KTH-Royal Institute of Technology, Gene Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2011

Abstract

The domestic dog (Canis familiaris) is considered to be the oldest domestic animal in the world. World-wide mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (mtDNA) studies clearly indicate a single origin in time and place in Southeast Asia less than 16 000 years ago including a high number of female foundation wolves resulting in 10 subhaplogroups within three haplogroups. Later hybridisation events in East Asia, the Middle East, Scandinavia and possibly North America formed 3–4 small haplogroups. In contrast, the archaeological record, favours other, sometimes multiple, regions for dog domestication (mainly Europe and Middle East), but suffers from a lack of samples from Southeast Asia and is problematic, because of the difficulty of distinguishing between wolf and dog in fossil remains. Future studies including, for example, paternal markers such as the Y-chromosome, autosomal markers like SNPs, and ancient DNA samples of both wolves and dogs may give new insights into early domestication history and the dog's migration routes.

Key Concepts:

  • The dog is considered to be the oldest domestic animal species and it is widely accepted that its only ancestor is the wolf (Canis lupus).

  • Archaeological records of early potential dog remains are fragmentary and controversial as well as biased in their geographical coverage, focusing mainly on fossils found in Europe and the Middle East.

  • Recent genetic studies based on mtDNA suggest a single origin in Southeast Asia from numerous wolves less than 16 000 years ago as well as later hybridisation events in East Asia, the Middle East, Scandinavia and possibly North America.

  • New World dogs are likely to be descendants of Eurasian domesticated dogs, thereby ruling out North America as a centre of domestication.

  • The dingo is an ancient, originally domesticated, but now feral, dog which arrived to Australia about 5000 years before present (YBP).

  • Future studies may include ancient DNA approaches and additional markers such as Y-chromosome and genome-wide markers like SNPs to give additional insight into domestication history and migrations of early domestic dogs.

Keywords:

  • domestic dog;
  • domestication;
  • mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA);
  • control region;
  • Grey wolf;
  • Southeast Asia;
  • dingo;
  • Canis familiaris;
  • ancient DNA (aDNA);
  • archaeology