When did humans first have dogs?

Humans and dogs have shared a unique bond for thousands of years, with dogs serving as loyal companions, protectors, and even helpers in various tasks. But when did this special relationship between humans and dogs first begin? The origins of this partnership date back to ancient times, with some researchers suggesting that dogs were first domesticated by humans over 15,000 years ago. However, the exact timeline of when humans first had dogs remains a topic of debate among scientists and archaeologists.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of the human-dog relationship, delving into the various theories and evidence that shed light on when and how dogs were first domesticated. We will examine the archaeological and genetic evidence that supports the idea of early human-dog partnerships, as well as the cultural significance of dogs in ancient societies. Additionally, we will discuss the ways in which dogs have influenced human evolution and continue to play a vital role in our lives today. Join us on this journey through time as we unravel the mysteries of when humans first had dogs.


When Did Humans First Have Dogs?

Have you ever wondered about the history of the human-canine bond? The question “When did humans first have dogs?” has intrigued researchers for years. In order to fully understand this fascinating topic, we need to delve into the early connections between humans and dogs, exploring the timelines and evidence that have provided insights into this enduring relationship.

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Humans first began domesticating dogs tens of thousands of years ago, with estimates ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. This companionship between humans and dogs has evolved significantly over time, with dogs now playing various roles in our lives, such as pets, working animals, service animals, and even therapy animals.

Genetic Evidence

Research into the genetic history of dogs has shed light on when humans first started domesticating them. Studies have shown that the genetic divergence between wolves and dogs likely occurred around 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. This suggests that humans began domesticating dogs during this time period, although the exact date for this process is still debated among experts.

Archaeological Evidence

Archaeological evidence also supports the idea that humans and dogs have had a long history of companionship. For example, the remains of a human buried with a dog were discovered in Israel and dated to around 12,000 years ago. Similarly, a burial site in Germany dating back to 14,000 years ago contained the skeletons of a human and a dog buried together.

Cultural and Historical Depictions

Throughout history, there have been numerous depictions of humans with dogs, further highlighting the long-standing relationship between the two species. Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art often featured dogs alongside humans, showing the roles they played in society at that time.

Modern-Day Roles

Today, dogs continue to be an integral part of human society, serving as loyal companions, working animals in various fields such as herding, hunting, and search and rescue, as well as providing emotional support and therapy to those in need. The bond between humans and dogs has only strengthened over time, with the global pet dog population estimated to be over 470 million.

Overall, the history of humans and dogs is a fascinating journey that has spanned tens of thousands of years, shaping the way we view and interact with these beloved animals to this day.

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What is the earliest evidence of humans having dogs?

The earliest evidence of humans having dogs dates back to around 14,000 years ago in Europe.

How were early dogs different from modern dogs?

Early dogs were smaller in size and had different physical characteristics compared to modern dog breeds. They were likely more closely related to wolves.

Why did humans start domesticating dogs?

Humans started domesticating dogs for various reasons, including hunting assistance, protection, and companionship.

Where did humans first domesticate dogs?

Humans first domesticated dogs in different regions around the world, including Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Did all ancient civilizations have dogs?

Not all ancient civilizations had dogs, but many cultures throughout history have had a close relationship with dogs.

Were early dogs trained for specific tasks?

Early dogs were likely trained for specific tasks such as hunting, herding, and guarding livestock or property.

How did the relationship between humans and dogs evolve over time?

Over time, the relationship between humans and dogs evolved from one based on utilitarian purposes to one centered around companionship and emotional support.

Are there any theories about how humans first started having dogs?

There are several theories about how humans first started having dogs, including the scavenging theory and the mutual benefit theory.

Do all dog breeds have a common ancestor?

Yes, all dog breeds are believed to have a common ancestor in the domesticated wolf.

How has the breeding of dogs changed over time?

The breeding of dogs has changed over time to create the diverse range of dog breeds we have today, each bred for specific traits or purposes.


The relationship between humans and dogs dates back tens of thousands of years, with evidence suggesting that domestication began as early as 15,000 years ago in various regions of the world. The bond between humans and dogs has evolved over time, transitioning from a purely utilitarian relationship to one based on companionship and emotional support. The domestication of dogs has not only shaped human civilization but has also contributed to the unique bond between the two species.

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Furthermore, archaeological and genetic studies have provided valuable insights into the origins of the domestic dog and its importance to early human societies. The process of dog domestication has had a profound impact on both species, leading to a mutually beneficial relationship that has stood the test of time. Through collaboration and co-evolution, humans and dogs have forged a bond that continues to thrive today, demonstrating the enduring nature of one of the oldest interspecies relationships in history.