Evolution of the Dog-HUMAN Bond

Over the centuries, the relationship between dogs and humans has evolved. In many human societies, dogs that were once working and sleeping in the fields, transitioned to the backyard, and now find themselves in homes as members of the family.  These dog-human relationships are potentially mutually rewarding and beneficial.  The impacts of the bonds between people and dogs undoubtedly impacts contemporary views of dogs and our perceived obligations toward them. As dog-human relationships continue to evolve, views on what we owe dogs are changing accordingly.”

-C. Croney

dog [dawg, dog]


A domesticated canid, Canis familiaris, bred in many varieties. Any carnivore of the dog family Canidae, having prominent canine teeth and, in the wild state, a long and slender muzzle, a deep-chested muscular body, a bushy tail, and large, erect ears. See also canid, the male of such an animal. Any of various animals resembling a dog.

Dogs have been our companions for thousands of years. Experts speculate that the wolf ancestors of modern-day dogs may have begun associating with human groups 16,000 years ago, before the beginning of agriculture. The innate human attraction to infant-like features such as a large head, round face, and large eyes may have played a role in our affiliation with dogs who often show neoteny or retained juvenile physical and behavioral characteristics into adulthood. Domestication likely impacted dog social and communication behaviors, cooperation, hunting, nutrition, reproduction, and longevity.  The mechanisms for dog domestication are debated. However, the evolution of the species has resulted in a genetic propensity for success in human company.

Evolutionary history and domestication created biologically driven needs and behaviors still seen in dogs today and which must be met to achieve good welfare. Later, breed selection further influenced dog physical characters and behaviors, with current variations found across dog breeds, breed groups, and individuals.   Dogs are motivated to seek food, water, and a safe place to rest. They need to exercise, explore, and engage with their environment. As a social species, they require positive interactions with their own kind, but have also adapted to expand their social circles to include humans.  Dogs are sentient beings that experience feelings, engage in play, seek physical contact and attention, and show distress when isolated.

Evolution of the Human-Dog Bond Learning Library

Resources focused for the welfare needs of dogs living in breeding kennels, large or small scale.


Snacks – Videos, Websites, Books

High Value Treats – Handouts and Checklists

Kibble – Extension Papers

Food Puzzle Buffet – Scientific Journal Articles