The wolf inside

How many times have you seen a dog; perhaps an Alaskan Malamute or a German shepherd and thought how close they must be in genetic makeup to a wolf. Well the fact is that the tiny little foo foo white toy poodle and the narly big Malamute are as closely related to the wolf. Seems impossible right? I myself have seen some dogs that really seem to be just generations away from the wolf but they are not.

With human manipulation we have taken the genetic material of a wolf, coyote and jackal and made our dogs of today. Once domesticated we humans started our transformation into what we considered the best dog to be. When you look at the vast differences physically in a pekingnese, Irish Wolfhound and the Shar Pei, one would think that they all had to come from different molds. But they are all from the same mold which was then tweaked by humans.

Humans pulled out traits that they found desirable, planning and molding our dogs of today. Many dogs are still being molded; take the "designer dogs," some humans are not content with the already hundreds of existing breeds and are working on new ones. When a new breed is in production there are alot of "purbred" breeders on the sidelines complaining about these mongrels that are being produced. All of our dogs are mongrels from way back, each breed is a compilation of what someone thought to be the perfect recipe. But each and everyone has related genes to the wolf, from the tiniest, longest to the tallest.

But make no mistake, a wolf is a much different animal from our dogs. Even wolves who are bred in zoos or reserves for many generations are not dogs. They may have very similar behaviors to our dogs but they are wild and the main difference is that you don't tell a wolf what to do. At one of the APDT seminars that I attended we were shown a video where Pat Goodman of Wolf Park was disciplining a wolf. She was quickly and accuately put in her place for attempting to discipline the wolf. It was not an overly aggressive behavior, just very matter of fact. A dog is not a wolf and a wolf is not a dog.

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