It is difficult to think back to a time where dogs were not domesticated animals and would fend for themselves. At one point in time, they would have been completely independent, and they were able to survive in the wild all by themselves.
This doesn’t seem all that likely when we look at our loving and dependable dogs today, but in the past, it was completely viable for a dog to survive in the wild.
When we look beyond the domesticated animals that we know and love today, we can explore the wild and untameable dogs that lived independently in the wild.
It is highly likely that your dog could even have ancestors that would have been wild, and if it wasn’t for human intervention, they still would be wild animals today.
The way that they acted and behaved is still wired into their core, and we see signs of this today, but most dogs now rely on us humans to survive.
In some countries, there are still wild dogs, but it isn’t as common as it once was. If you have ever wondered whether or not dogs could survive in the wild, you are about to find out the answers to your burning questions.
The History of Dogs in the Wild
Before dogs became domestic animals, they were animals that lived completely independently in the wild. We can actually trace the lineage of dogs far back enough to state that they descended from wolves.
Though not all dogs look the part today, this is due to evolutions and mixed breeding that led to some of the breeds that are around in a modern age that were not there before.
There is lots of controversy surrounding how and where dogs actually became domesticated. Genetic studies have pinpointed domesticated dogs in Europe, Mongolia, and southern China, and it is impossible to say where it happened first.
Some scientists argue that domestication took place up to 40,000 years ago, but others argue that it was much more recently, around 6000 to 7000 years ago.
There are many theories that aim to explain how dogs were domesticated, but again, it is impossible to confirm which of them is true. We will leave them here for you to think about among yourselves.
The first and perhaps most popular theory is that humans captured wolf pups and kept them as pets. In this theory, it is thought that these pups were gradually domesticated over a long period of time.
Another theory that has gained a large following is that the wolves had to adapt in order to survive. In turn, they domesticated themselves among hunters to get food and survive another day.
The Evolution of Dogs
Looking back through history, it is clear that dogs have changed over time through evolution. One study shows that through bonding with the human population, dogs lost their sense of pack mentality. In turn, this has made them become worse than ever at working together.
It is also interesting to note that dogs turn to humans to help them solve problems. There was a study between wolves and dogs in which they were given puzzles and games where they had to solve things like puzzle boxes.
The wolves would try many physical methods to try and open the box and get into it. If one method failed, they would move onto another. However, the domesticated dogs that were given the same puzzle would give up at the first sign of trouble.
They would often try one method, and upon realizing that it didn’t work, they would turn to their owner for guidance. This shows us that dogs have even lost some of their problem-solving abilities, and they rely on humans to do things for them.
They have become so used to our help that they now rely on it.
Signs That Your Dog Could Live in the Wild
It is clear that not all dogs are cut out for the world of independent living, but other dogs may still display signs of their previous ways of living.
If you find that your dog is pretty good at finding small bugs or animals, then it is more than likely that they have good hunting skills in the wild. They also have an excellent sense of smell and hearing to allow them to find and locate food sources outside.
Another sign that your dog could potentially live in the wild is if they are particularly territorial when it comes to keeping their own space. This is an indication that they would guard their space in the wild in order to protect themselves from any danger.
Signs of this could be by marking their territory on nearby objects outside like trees, or them being protective over their things or space. In the wild, they would mark their territory to warn off other animals; this is a habit that many dogs, especially males, have yet to break.
Your dog might also have a habit of burying toys, bones, or even food for later use. This is something that wild dogs would have done to protect what is theirs. Your dog may also show signs of food aggression.
This could be visible through growling or other protective behavior when a dog or person goes near their food. In the wild, they would have been protective over their food as the next meal was never guaranteed, and some dogs still show this behaviour today.
Most dogs have the natural ability to swim, and this is also something that they would have known from being in the wild. There wouldn’t have been anyone to teach them to swim then, and they don’t need teaching now. However, not all dogs still have this ability.
Can Dogs Survive in the Wild?
A long time ago, dogs were wild animals that did not appreciate the company of humans, As time went on, they adapted when they became domesticated animals, and though we don’t know the reasoning for this, there is clear evidence that this happened.
Different breeds will still show some of the traits that were needed for living in the wild, but not all do. This means that not all dogs would be able to cope by themselves in the wild, but it is likely that others would adapt to the situation.
If something were to happen to humans, and we were no longer around to help our furry friends, it would likely become a ‘survival of the fittest’ scenario. The strongest breeds would survive, and the weakest would not.
Over time, the breeds that are left would probably learn to adapt to living in the wild again. After all, their instincts are still there deep down.