From wolf to dog: nutrition, strength and people

When is a dog a dog and not a wolf anymore? Scientists have come a little closer to answering the question of when and how the wolf was domesticated. Strength probably played an important role in the development from a wild wolf to a tamed four-legged friend. The loyal domestic dog developed from the ancestors of this wolf - Image: Shutterstock / Dennis Donohue

For a long time, the wolf had been driven out of the German lands, but little by little the news spread that the "wild dog" would be at home in Germany again. Wolf and dog will soon be "reunited". It was the man who almost wiped out the wolf for fear of chickens, cattle and his own life. A look back in time shows that the wolves that lived close to humans developed from wild animals to tame dogs.

However, this process took several thousand years of evolution. As experts now know, human skill in domesticating domestic animals was only part of the development. No less important was the starch that contained the food that the wolves could steal near humans.

Genetic changes through starch in food

Researchers at the Swedish university in Uppsala found that wolves that lived in close proximity to humans were more likely to eat vegetarian food. Waste from grain products in particular could have played a decisive role in the development from wolf to dog: Today's domesticated domestic dogs can use the starch contained therein much better than their wild relatives.

Such wolves, who at that time tolerated strength better than others, were no longer dependent solely on meat as a source of food. Accordingly, they were able to live in the presence of man. This took advantage of this and created the desired behavioral characteristics through breeding over the millennia. The interplay of starch in food and human breeding skills thus transformed the wolf into a loyal domestic dog.

History lesson: How the wolf became a dog

Our dogs today are known to be descended from the wolf. But how did it happen? Find out below ...

That distinguishes dog and wolf fundamentally

Today, wolf and dog are two completely different species. Even if a wolf were already domesticated as a puppy, it would not lose certain characteristics and behaviors. He remains a wild predator that shows little trust, but is shy and unpredictable. Even if wolves have a certain amount of trust in humans, this has nothing to do with the bond between the owner and the dog.

Researchers also found that the pups of the two genera differ greatly in their behavior. Wolf cubs go on their first explorations through their territory two weeks earlier than puppies - at an age when their vision and hearing systems are not yet fully developed. They rely entirely on their sense of smell. When the eyes and ears are mature a few days later, they are easily startled by the human voice.

Dogs, on the other hand, explore the environment a little later; namely when all three senses are mature. Words and gestures of humans are part of their first sensory impressions, they are familiar to them from an early age. Therefore they are not afraid. A prerequisite for the future relationship between fur nose and owner.