I don’t have dozens of friends I hang out with. I have my core group of 5, and just a few other people I talk to. My friends are all the same way. An experiment in the 1950’s in Russia was conducted to determine how long it would take to domesticate foxes taken from a fur farm. Each of the foxes were evaluated for certain traits, like curiosity and lack of fear around humans. The ones with the most curiosity and fearlessness were allowed to breed, and the same evaluation was made on their offspring. Within a number of generations, the succeeding generations began displaying a more dog-like behavior… Wagging tails, barks, and a genuine affection for human companionship. In addition, certain physical traits began appearing, like wide color variations, head spots and curled tails. About 10,000 years ago, groups of wolves that had somehow overcome their fear of man and had a degree of curiosity, began existing closer to human habitations. Whether for availability of food (either garbage or pests like mice and rats), or for some other reason is unknown. But the humans were likely quick to understand the benefit of having these animals in close proximity. Aside from the garbage and vermin removal, they would also make noises and defend themselves when other, potentially dangerous animals approached.
Eventually, humans would have taken these proto-domesticated wolves in and bred them for the traits they wanted. The wolves became more doglike, with an intense curiosity and a love of human companionship, and the humans provided food, affection and gained another set of eyes and ears, as well as a hunting companion. Dogs are only one of several species of animal that co-evolved with humans, but are unique in their relationship with us. Without man’s intervention, dogs wouldn’t exist. And humans have been breeding dogs for nearly the entire time wolves have shown an affinity for human company. It stands to reason that the relationship, much different than with the other animals humans have domesticated, has evolved into one of mutual friendship. Today, dogs provide the same benefits they did in the distant past. Many breeds have specialized to perform certain functions, like herding, finding game, smelling and transportation. They provided abilities to humans that gave them the edge needed to survive. But they’ve also evolved to become our friends and allies. Because they are social animals, they see their human family as their pack, and behave as they would in a wolf pack.