Prehistoric pooch: pet dogs may have existed thousands of years ago

Thursday, 14th February 2013

The old saying goes that dog is man's best friend, but it turns they could also be our oldest friend, with new research revealing just how far back the relationship between humans and canines goes.

Scientists at the University of Durham have been carrying out a study on the bones and DNA of dogs who lived many thousand years ago, and now believe the first domesticated hounds may have lived side by side with humans before the ice age.

This means man and dog have been co-existing for around 35,000 years, and unsurprisingly it all started with a love of food.

These days owners tend to feed their pets with dog food from a can, but back in the stone age canines and humans came together to help each other out as hunting companions, often sharing and eating the same prey.

While early dogs are thought to have been very similar to wolves, extensive breeding over the past few millennia have given rise to a wide variety of different dog breeds.