- Jun 5, 2003
Not by design, but by co-evolution. Humans and canids founded a partnership a very, very long time ago. And it wasn't domestication; the evidence is that canids were willing participants. A hunting pack of humans and dogs is far more effective than any other group of predators.Puppy dogs are by design supposed to be walking loyally by the side of a man, not wandering around alone in the wilderness.
Those canids were not wolves, but wolves and dogs have a common ancestor that wasn't quite like either of them. We evolved along with those early dogs so that we fit together in a partnership. It's likely that the proto-dogs realized that if they assisted humans in locating prey, there would be leftovers for them. In India we see jackals doing the same sort of thing with tigers.
In India, lone jackals expelled from their pack have been known to form commensal relationships with tigers. These solitary jackals, known as kol-bahl, will associate themselves with a particular tiger, trailing it at a safe distance to feed on the big cat's kills. A kol-bahl will even alert a tiger to prey with a loud "pheal". Tigers have been known to tolerate these jackals, with one report describing how a jackal confidently walked in and out between three tigers walking together.
It's why, for example, when you point at something, a dog gets it right away, but other
animals do not. A dog without a human is really not fully a dog. Sometimes I think that is true of humans as well. We have changed over the millennia, and while it is true that dogs often no longer work for a living, they remain important to us.