Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dingo may be world's oldest dog breed

THE dingo may be the oldest dog breed in the world, according to a new study. Only the New Guinea singing dog, so named because of its ability to modulate its howling, can match the dingo's longevity, the University of NSW's Dr Alan Wilton suggests.

His work, part of an international study tracing the DNA of modern domestic dogs from their wild wolf ancestry, may now help conserve the purity of the dingo breed.

The findings show it is likely dingoes, brought to Australia from Indonesia about 5000 years ago, developed separately from other canine breeds, mainly because of their physical isolation.

But their relatively recent cross-breeding with modern domesticated dogs is threatening the purity of the breed. "Most modern breeds of dogs originate from Europe over the last 100 years or so," said Dr Wilton, a genetics expert. "But there is another strand of more ancient breeds that we know originated in the Middle East and Asia.

"Dingoes originated in Asia and since they came to Australia they have largely been separated from other breeds. There was generally not the mixing we see with other, more modern dogs."

The dingo was now the dog with the closest genetic resemblance to the wild wolf. Other ancient breeds include the chow-chow, basenji, akita, Chinese shar-pei, Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute.

Dr Wilton speculates all of these also underwent separate domestication processes to most modern "European" breeds.

The study, collated at American universities Cornell and UCLA, is being published in the science journal Nature.

It has always been suspected that the dingo was among the oldest breeds in the world, but this is the first time it has been confirmed through scientific study.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

World’s oldest dog debated
7.22.10 - Fossil jaw may, or may not, come from oldest known example of man’s best friend