Where did Europe’s original dogs go?

sheep dog
Image credit: Wikimedia

The first farmers to arrive in Europe from the Middle East brought their dogs along with them, effectively wiping out the original population of European canines, according to new research.

Starting around 11,000 years ago, Neolithic farmers who had established themselves in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East—what is now modern day Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq—began to migrate into Europe.

As new genetic evidence published [October 17] in Biology Letters indicates, these original European dogs, who lived with Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, gradually disappeared from the continent, replaced by the canines who arrived from the Fertile Crescent alongside their Neolithic masters.


The close connection between humans and dogs, this new research suggests, goes far back into time.

Related article:  Why your dog really can tell if you are sick

[T]he researchers conducted a genetic analysis of nearly 100 canine remains uncovered at 37 archaeological sites throughout Europe, from the early Mesolithic to the Bronze Age.

[P]rior to the arrival of Neolithic farmers, all dogs in Europe shared the same genetic lineage, dubbed haplogroup C. After the Neolithic farmers arrived, however, this haplogroup was steadily replaced by a different one, Hg D, or simply haplogroup D, “thus suggesting the introduction of non-indigenous domestic dogs,” the researchers write in their study.

Read full, original post: New Theory Explains Why Europe’s Original Dogs Vanished 

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