History of Herding Dogs and Mastiffs

Thibet Mastiff c 1700Thibet Mastiff c 1700

In Eurasia (Asia + Europe) glaciers receded and gave way to fertile forests. Once large dinosaurs had disappeared, stag, wild boar, deer and animals that were the ancestors of today's sheep and goats became more prevalent. Domestication provided both man and dog with a more reliable food source. 'Pile dwellers' could then live in somewhat more permanent settlements like those in the "Fertile Crescent" with dog forming a convenient bond with man. These dogs were used for hunting, as well as guarding the developing settlements. As sheep and goats became domesticated so they formed flocks, these guard dogs were adapted as Livestock Guardians.

Wolf dogs of the Abruzzi

Early Livestock Guardian Dogs

The earliest evidence of domestication of sheep is from 9,000 B.C. The evolution of the Livestock Guardian Dogs we know today corresponds to the gradual migration of flocks of domestic sheep and goats across Europe from East Asia both geographically and in time. But this specialized role is only about 4,000 years old. So it appears that it took around ... »» Read more...

Dogs Grave Working Dogs 1800

Early Herding Dogs

The evolution of the herding dogs we know today evolved many centuries after the Livestock Guardian Dogs. By then flocks of domestic animals did not freely roam from place to place to find more fertile land. Instead, good pastures became fenced places. Then predators like the wolf became less of a threat. So instead of Livestock Guardian Dogs living within ... »» Read more...

Assyrian Mastiffs c 1200 BC

Early Mastiffs

During the first millennium BC, large hunting dogs spread across Europe through the early Eurasian trade routes from the Fertile Crescent. These dogs, pictured with hunters and their nets to catch prey, became the type of mastiff depicted in the ancient Assyrian sculptures so became known as the Assyrian Mastiff. »» Read more...


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