The history of dogs and humans

The secret life of the dog.

No, that subtitle is wrong. It should be: Science brings to light the wonderful history of dogs and humans!

Approximately seven years ago I published a series of posts. Each post was a segment of a BBC Horizon documentary entitled: The Secret Life of the Dog. Inevitably as so often happens when BBC programmes unofficially find their way on to YouTube those videos have long disappeared from sight.

So imagine the joy when Jean and I were browsing the web site Top Documentary Films to find that the full BBC Horizon episode was available.

The documentary is an hour long and is unmissable viewing for anyone who is interested in the history of mankind back in the days of hunting and gathering. If you are also a lover of dogs and you haven’t seen the programme then, in two words WATCH IT!

Here’s a clip from the Horizon episode. A deeply emotional and moving clip.

Now I can’t insert the Top Documentary video as I can with a YouTube video.

But I can link to it, and republish the written introduction.

Here it is: BBC Horizon: The Secret Life of the Dog


secret-life-dogWe have an extraordinary relationship with dogs – closer than with any other animal on the planet. But what makes the bond between us so special?

Research into dogs is gaining momentum, and scientists are investigating them like never before. From the latest fossil evidence, to the sequencing of the canine genome, to cognitive experiments, dogs are fast turning into the new chimps as a window into understanding ourselves.

Where does this relationship come from? In Siberia, a unique breeding experiment reveals the astonishing secret of how dogs evolved from wolves. Swedish scientists demonstrate how the human/dog bond is controlled by a powerful hormone also responsible for bonding mothers to their babies.

Why are dogs so good at reading our emotions? Horizon meets Betsy, reputedly the world’s most intelligent dog, and compares her incredible abilities to those of children. Man’s best friend has recently gone one step further – helping us identify genes responsible for causing human diseases.

Trust me, if you haven’t seen this documentary and you have dogs in your life it will change the way you appreciate and love your wonderful dogs.

I’m going to close this post with a photograph you have seen many times before, via the home page of this blog.

Simply because I know for thousands of you who have dogs in your lives there is nothing more special, nothing more intimate, nothing more magical than the eye-to-eye bond between your dog and you.

Pharaoh - just being a dog!


Knowing you is special beyond words!

23 thoughts on “The history of dogs and humans

  1. Yes, the tears started to fall when I watched this video. What a beautiful dog, Endel (sic) was and how helpful. Their bond was exceptionally close because Endel taught his companion how to feel emotion again after his accident. After viewing this, I gave Mags a hug. She has always been there for me through good times and bad. I can’t repay her enough. This was a great share, Paul.


    1. But, Laura, as the Horizon episode makes very clear our dogs have evolved as a direct result of the relationship. What is so wonderful, and not appreciated by many, is the modern dog is as worthy of our companionship as we are of them.


      1. Delighted to hear that. Oh, and do say to your daughter that if I can do anything to promote on LfD the work that she does with dogs I will do so in a heartbeat!


  2. I watched the full program first. What fascinating research is being done. Loved those tame foxes and cute faces 😉
    Then I came back to the video about Endel. Such a wonderful heart warming story.
    This is great post for the archives to keep coming back to Paul.
    Thank you xo


    1. It is an incredible documentary, isn’t it! What beautiful, astounding, gorgeous and loving creatures are our dogs. You are most welcome to share that post with your readers.


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