Dogs have been man’s best friend since humans started roaming the earth. However, are any of these ancient dog breeds still around? According to a 2004 study that was published in the journal Science, there are 9 dog breeds that are still in existence that have genetic makeups that are very close to these ancient ancestral dogs. The study analyzed the genetic makeup of several domesticated dog breeds and compared these genetic makeups to that of wolves.
The study revealed 9 ancient dog breeds, which include the Shar Pei, Shiba Inu, Chow Chow, Akita Inu, Basenji, Siberian Huksy, Alaskan Malamute, Afghan Hound, and Saluki. Genetically speaking, these dog breeds are the closest to their ancient wolf-like ancestors, and many of them have been around with humans for thousands of years. All other existing dog breeds are more “modern.”
These 9 ancient dog breeds fit into one of 4 sub-groups: the Asian group, the African group, the Artic group, and the Middle Eastern group.
- Asian group: Shar Pei, Shiba Inu, Chow Chow, and Akita Inu
- African group: Basenji
- Artic: Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
- Middle Eastern group: Afghan Hound and Saluki
What is interesting is that the findings of this study suggest that ancient dogs originated in Asia and migrated with ancient humans (who were nomads at the time) to the Artic and Africa. Eventually people moved into Europe (where many of the “modern” dog breeds originated). Dogs have really been man’s best friend for thousands of years! How cool is that?! Here is a more in-depth look at the 9 ancient dog breeds:
This ancient dog originated in southern China, and it is estimated that they existed as far back as 200 BC.
The Shiba Inu is one of the oldest Japanese dog breeds and had been bred for hunting. This ancient breed almost went extinct during World War II.
The Chow Chow was originally from northern China, and it is estimated that this breed is over 2,00 years old!
This dog is another old Japanese breed, and it is a considered to be a natural treasure to the Japanese.
The Basenji is thought to have originated from wolves that came from Asia. Also, images of Basenji-like dogs have been found on ancient Egyptian pharaoh tombs. That’s how old this breed is!
The Siberian Husky is thought to have originated from northeastern Siberia and were used by ancient tribes as sled dogs.
This dog was originally bred as a working and hunting dog by the Inuit people in Alaska. Later, it was used as a sled dog.
There is much debate and speculation over the origin of this beautiful ancient breed. However, it was eventually brought to Britain in the 1920s as a gift from the Afghan Royal Family.
This elegant, ancient breed originated in the Fertile Crescent (aka the Cradle of Civilization; located near the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers as well as the Nile), and it was first mentioned in pre-Islamic Arabic writing.