Chinese Village Dogs are very special dogs. Originating in China, these dogs have some of the most ancient domestic dog ancestry around, going back over 15,000 years. Now, that’s quite the family tree.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
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Village dog populations from East Asian carry more mitochondrial haplotypes than any other village dog populations!
Village dogs – medium-sized dogs with pointy snouts that freely breed and live near people around the world – from present-day Nepal and Mongolia are direct descendants of the first domesticated dogs, which originated at least 15,000 years ago in the same region. Genetic studies observe a clear divergence between village dog populations in East Asia (Vietnam and Island Southeast Asia), Central Asia (Mongolia and Nepal), India, the Middle East (Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Turkey, and Afghanistan), and sub-Saharan Africa. Hong Kong and East Asian village dogs (like yours!) are some of the most genetically diverse dogs on earth, similar to their counterparts in Southeast and Central Asia.
Many years ago, when wolves began scavenging our hunting camps, they became gradually attuned to human life. Genetic changes in those wolves over time led to tameness, small body size and early age of first reproduction that soon after yielded what we see today in the Hong Kong village dogs.
Most modern breeds are less than 200 years old, and primarily derive from European dogs. As Embark gets more samples of Hong Kong village dogs like yours, we may be able to learn even more about their role in the history and evolution of the dog – like what were the pressures that led a wild population of dogs to hitch their futures to us – or – why were dogs the first animal to become domesticated by humans? Thanks to you, we’re even closer to advancing science enough to answer those questions.
Hong Kong Village Dogs on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Hong Kong Village Dog ancestry.