Mark Derr a wonderful doggie writer in my favorite area, the ancient history of dogs, has published a new book, “How the Dog Became the Dog“. This is better than the year “Women Who Run With the Wolves” came out. Or even “The Wolf” by David Mech, though no book has recently brought me back to David Mech as this one has.
First, I am happy to report my Pleistoscenic imagination is similar to Derr’s as witness my August article on where dogs came from. And I was just imagining what could have happened… Somehow, even the word neoteny, which was the only Coppingeresque idea I ever noticed, fell apart just as I realize his dump dog theory didn’t extend back into the Pleistocene when/where I always thought it all happened with wolves and men. In fact I am positive they were aware of each other as environmental factors before men were even men. I never noticed that dump dog debate much, and just as well. Poof. It’s gone.
Hey and I really like the brand newly coined word, “dogwolf”! That one word is worth the whole book. I am retired. And laid back. I may or may not get all my ideas out in this blog, but the infusion of the one word, dogwolf, is exciting. I’ll own it right this second. Before it gets all divided up and allocated – and some are “forbidden” to use it as happened to the word “wolfdog” when actual wolf hybrids took over the name and ruined it.
What exactly was a “dogwolf” back when? According to Derr, it was a (mostly? fully?) domesticated animal that still looked essentially like a wolf, but toned down in size, in teeth, in temperament. This dog to the right is about the size of a small African wolf. Maybe it is one, though very doglike with the white feet and muzzle; I can’t read the print…..
There are still a whole lot of dogs out there that are not beginner’s dogs, but are too curious and playful, adventurous, independent, with endless energy, for the average suburban family to keep in a yard. Some even still look pretty wolfy, ie, all the old sled dog types, basenjis, some Asian dogs like the Shiba Inu; but what they have in common is they did not arrive completely tamed at the AKC and still aren’t.