Europe is the cradle of many dog breeds which were formed from free-breeding village dogs living in Europe for many millenia. Some of these dogs eventually became the founders of many popular dog breeds today, though most village dogs just continued living on as free-breeding village dogs even after the formation of modern breeds.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
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While some Eastern European village dogs are within the 30-40 pound range, others are huge and look more like livestock guardian dogs. They may have the guardian instincts to go along with their looks!
After dogs were domesticated in Central Asia, they quickly followed humans to Europe. Once in Europe, they spread across the entire continent, managing to find a living eating scraps and trash everywhere they went. Over time, some of them adapted to roles helping humans hunt, tend and guard livestock, and guard homes. They also changed humans wherever they went, making dog lovers of many people. Some of our most enduring myths, like zombies and werewolves, trace to European village dogs (in those cases, rabid dogs specifically).
European village dogs in Scandinavia formed the initial stock for Spitz-type dogs, while some European dogs further south were bred in recent centuries into many of the breeds we know today. However, many village dogs remained just that: free-breeding, free-spirited dogs living on the margins of human society. They continue to live in Eastern Europe to this day.
Like village dogs everywhere, Eastern European village dogs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and temperaments; however, they are most often tan, around 30-40 pounds, and generally friendly after their initial shyness. They often have independent spirits, but they can make for very lovely pets. After all, humans have been living with them for over 10,000 years.
Eastern European Village Dogs on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Eastern European Village Dog ancestry.