The remains of an 18,000-year-old puppy might be those of a common ancestor of domestic dogs and modern gray wolves

18,000 year old puppy

A two-month-old puppy died 18,000 years ago, and it was preserved the permafrost near Yakutsk in Eastern Siberia.  I knew about this discovery a few weeks ago, but I was waiting DNA tests to see exactly what it was.  The late Pleistocene is when we start to see the beginnings of domestic dogs, and we do have some tantalizing subfossils of wolves with what might be exhibiting morphological characters suggesting domestication that date to even earlier than this puppy.  So it is an interesting find.

Indeed, any of these late Pleistocene gray wolves that are found in Eurasia could hold some mysteries about dog domestication.

But the initial DNA analysisrevealed that it does not match domestic dogs or extant gray wolves. This suggests that it might come from the ancestral population that leads to both.

Or it could mean that it is of a lineage of gray wolf that has since died out.

Of course, most media coverage of the discovery hint at this puppy being from the ancestral form, but it’s more likely that the latter is the disappointing answer.

More extensive genome analysis is going to be needed to determine what this gray wolf pup was.

Whatever it was, this puppy shows that these discoveries hold many mysteries in their DNA.

The puppy has been named “Dogor,” which means “friend” in the Yakutian language.  And he might have been just that– a friend to some band of Pleistocene hunters.

But for now, we can only speculate and wonder.

Natural History

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Is it a wolfdog?

dare wolfdog

One of the great controversies in the dog world is whether the German shepherd is a wolf dog. I will admit that I am agnostic on the subject. It might be, and one of the component regional German sheepdogs from which they were derived was rumored to have been crossed with wolves.

I have never been able to track down the exact truth of the wolf in the German shepherd, but I should note that lots of breeds have wolf in them and not all of them are as lupine in phenotype.  Several French griffon hounds, one of which was crossed into the otterhound, were mixed with wolf, because the French houndsmen believed such crosses were better hunters of wolves. The Plott hound is said to have at least one wolf crossed in at some point in its history, and various livestock guardian breeds, including those in Georgia and Turkey, are known to have wolf blood. And we know that Norwegian elkhounds and related Scandinavian spitzes have wolf ancestry, and some Russians have crossed their laikas with wolves, too.

In the annals of this blog, I have documented wolves being used in much the same way dogs have. I have documented wolf and dog crosses that proved useful as working and hunting animals.

So I am not at all unwilling to accept that German shepherds are wolfdogs. I just need proof. The GSDs that I have had tested with Embark have all come back with “low wolfiness” scores. “Wolfiness” is just the amount of ancient wolf DNA that a dog might possess, but it can also be indicative of some wolf crossed into the dog’s ancestry.

I have hear rumors that the original SV (Schäferhund Verein) studbooks do list wolves in foundational pedigrees of German shepherds, but I have not seen them.

I have come across this dog on Pedigree Database. The name “Wolf Rüde” translate as “Wolf Male Dog.”  Its pedigree is mysterious. The sire line is the typical tightly-bred sheepdog strains that are the basis of the breed. But the dam line is a mysterious creature called “Gerta Hündin.” The terms Hündin and Rüde mean “bitch” and “dog” in English. I cannot figure out who these dogs were, but the name of one of them is tantalizing in that it might be the name of an actual wolf in the foundational pedigree.

People have been breeding wolves to German shepherd ever since German shepherds became a breed. We have several off-shoot breeds that are wolf-German shepherd crosses. Only the Czechoslovakian wolfdog and the modern Russian Volksoby have shown any promise as being able to do the German shepherd’s job as a military dog. And they aren’t nearly as good at it.

I do know of a story of a first cross between a German shepherd and a wolf in Czechoslovakia that turned out to be a superior working animal. This dog apparently passed all requirements for breeding a German shepherd in that former country, and it even made it as a guide dog.  I have been unable to track down the full story of this dog, but it has always interested me in that this creature might be the hopeful monster that could have led to greater crossings between wolves and German shepherds in some working dog programs.

Also, we must tease apart some of the eighteenth and nineteenth century zoological ideas about sheepdogs and wolves. Buffon believed that sheepdogs of France were the closest to the wolf. I have even come across accounts of collies and what became border collies in which the author mentions how wolf-like the dogs are. In that sort of intellectual milieu, it is possible that someone might mis-translate or even get lost on a flight of fancy that these German herding dogs were wolves.

Further, it is one thing to have independent working dogs like scenthounds, hunting spitz, and livestock guardian dogs with wolf blood. It is quite another to breed a wolf to a herding dog, and it is even more to expect that herding dog with wolf ancestry to become an extremely biddable utilitarian working dog.

I will just say I want the evidence. I actually do want to believe that these dogs do have wolf in them, but the evidence is lacking– at least in English.

I am also fully aware that when the breed was introduced to the English-speaking world, there would have been a definite reason to downplay wolf ancestry in the dogs. Most of the English-speaking countries were major sheep producers, and in Australia and North America, wild canids were heavily hunted to make way for sheep husbandry.

So if anyone has the goods. Please let me know. I am certain that German shepherd blood has entered the wild wolf population in Europe. German shepherd makes up a large part of the street dog population in Eastern Europe, where there are still lots of packs of wolves.  We now know that the majority of Eurasian wolves have recent dog ancestry, and German shepherd blood course through the veins of some of these wolves.

It just isn’t clear to me that the introgression went the other way.

 

Natural History

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Festive Organic Cranberry Cucumber Vodka Spritzers

Cranberry Cucumber Vodka Spritzers

This post is sponsored by Prairie Organic Spirits, but all opinions are my own. 21+ Drink Responsibly.

Cranberry Cucumber Vodka Spritzers

Thanksgiving and the holiday season are upon us, my friends. I don’t like to rush things, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t visions of sugarplums dancing in my head pretty much the second the clock strikes midnight on Halloween night. And by sugarplums, I mean the sheer delights of the food and drink that accompany this time of year.

Last year, I came up with a festive cranberry vodka spritzer that became my go-to cocktail for Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining. This year, I decided to change it up a little and add an ingredient usually reserved for my summer beverages: Prairie Cucumber Flavored Organic Vodka from Prairie Organic Spirits. Maybe this sounds unusual, but adding the crisp taste of cucumber to a cocktail normally reserved for the colder months gives it a delicious freshness that takes the spritzer to a whole new level. And, the spritzer is almost entirely organic! Try it and I think you’ll agree it’s pretty incredible.

Organic Cranberry Cucumber Vodka Spritzer
Servings: 1

1.5 fluid ounces Prairie Cucumber Flavored Organic Vodka
4 fluid ounces organic cranberry juice, chilled
1 ounce simple syrup (equal parts parts sugar and water; instructions below)
Splash of soda/sparkling water, chilled
Ice
Organic cucumber slice (for garnish)
Organic orange slice (for garnish)
Fresh organic mint sprig (for garnish)
Organic cranberries (for garnish)

To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a medium sauce pan. (I recommend one cup of each so you have more on hand than enough for just one spritzer). Bring to a boil, stirring consistently until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

Combine Prairie Cucumber Flavored Organic Vodka, organic cranberry juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Fill a glass half way with ice cubes, and pour cocktail over ice. Top with a splash or two of soda. Garnish with a cucumber slice, an orange slice, a sprig of fresh mint, and few fresh cranberries. You can also easy quadruple this recipe to make a pitcher for guests.

It’s the combination of high quality, organic ingredients in this festive cocktail that make it exceptionally delicious, but the key ingredient for me is the the Prairie Cucumber Flavored Organic Vodka. You might already be familiar with my undying love for Prairie Organic Spirits from a yummy pineapple vodka refresher cocktail recipe I shared over the summer, but if not, allow me to gush for a minute. The company itself is fantastic for many reasons: they are Midwest made (in Minnesota), they have a passion for true craftsmanship and put great care into choosing their ingredients and making their spirits, they’re USDA certified organic, and they give 1% back to help more farmers go organic. And truly, their products speak for themselves. Prairie Cucumber Flavored Organic Vodka has a delightfully crisp taste that is refreshing, smooth, and distinctly delicious. (Did I mention that it’s gluten free?) I’m also a big fan of Prairie Organic Vodka and Prairie Organic Gin (makes the best martini you’ll ever have). It’s no wonder that Prairie Organic Spirits is the #1 Organic Spirit.

I can’t wait to hear what you guys think about this festive organic spritzer! Happy holiday sipping!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Sully Statue Premieres December 6th

From the Twitter feed of the George H.W. Bush Library: On Dec. 6, a bronze, life-size statue of Sully will be on display in the Fidelity corridor as a part of the memorial exhibit. Stop by and see the amazing work of Susan Bahary, provided by America’s VetDogs. @AmericasVetDogs In case you didn’t remember, Sully … Continue reading Sully Statue Premieres December 6th


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Review: GROOM Bathing Tablets

Holiday company is coming. Your dog has rolled in something unmentionable so a bath is order–but you don’t really have time. You don’t want to just mask the odor or bathe your dog…



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DogTipper

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Beginning e-collar conditioning

dare e-collar

I have started e-collar conditioning with Dare this week. This process is not cruel, and it involves no punishment.

What it does involve is her learning that very low static stimulation, which I can barely feel, can be turned off if she comes to my side. This process started on a long lead, and now she is doing it off-leash.  Eventually, this low level stimulation will be used to proof other obedience commands.

We are using the Einstein Mini Educator. Her working level, the level where she can feel the stimulation, is at a 6.  The stimulation levels go from 1 to 100.

People hate on these collars because they can definitely be used as a harsh aversive, and yes, they can be used to hurt the dog.  This way of using lower levels of stimulation to proof obedience, though, really isn’t more aversive than a gentle tug on a leash.

So hate these tools all you want. They are effective and are not abusive if used correctly.

 

 

Natural History

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Win GROOM Bathing Tablets!

This giveaway is sponsored by and fulfilled by GROOM Bathing Tablets. Pet store aisles are littered with hundreds of pet shampoos that make magical claims but often cause adverse reactions because of…



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DogTipper

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9 Perfect Throw Blankets for Autumn

9 Perfect Throw Blankets for Autumn
1. Bouclé Throw ($ 17.99)   |    2. Dark Beige Wool Blend Throw ($ 49.99)   |   3. Jacquard Wood Blend Throw ($ 59.99)   |   4.  Faux Fur Throw ($ 79.99)  |   5.  Textured Knit Throw ($ 79.99)   |   6. Beige and White Soft Throw ($ 34.99)  |   7.  Dark Grey Melange Wool Blend Throw ($ 49.99)   |   8. Chenille Throw ($ 49.99)   |   9. Fleece Throw with Fringe ($ 29.99)

It is 75 degrees as I’m typing this, but I am well aware that the inevitable cold Chicago weather is waiting, all sinister and sneaky, to jump upon us sooner than later. It’s funny, because I come from a family of cozy types (my mom is hygge personified), but snuggling up on the couch with a crackling fire in the fire place and snow falling outside makes me feel a panicked sense of flight where I just want to run full force to the tropics. There is, however, one exception to this, and that’s blankets. It can be mid-July and if I’m watching a movie or reading, I need a freaking throw blanket on me, and immediately. So whether you’re a weird, nonlogical blanket lover like me, or you love some good old fashion autumn coziness, I hope these pretty throw blankets I’m sharing today strike you fancy. I just ordered #2, but I’m eyeing #3 too.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Grain Free Dog Treat Recipes: 5 Easy Homemade Recipes

Are you looking for grain free dog treat recipes to make at home for your dog? Whether you have your dog on a grain-free diet or you’re just looking to cut back on the grains in his diet,…



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DogTipper

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Easy Halloween Pizzas

Easy Halloween Pizzas

I originally shared this recipe last year, but we’ve been making them nonstop around here this month, Halloween is in 3 weeks, so it only seemed right to share again. The original recipe I shared was for all plant-based, vegan products, but we have made them with regular cheese too, and I have updated the recipe to reflect this.

These are so easy to make and so much fun! My kids love them as an after school snack and for lunch on the weekends. They’d be perfect for a Halloween party too. They’re yummy food and a craft in one.

Vegan Mini Pizzas
Vegan Mini Halloween Pizzas

Easy Mini Halloween Pizzas
Makes 6 mini pizzas

INGREDIENTS

6 english muffins*, halved
3 cups shredded cheese or vegan cheese (we usually do a mix of mozzarella and cheddar)
1 cup jarred pizza sauce
black olives
green olives
green pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Placed halved english muffins cut side up on a baking sheet, and top each with pizza sauce until covered, then top with cheese shreds. (If you want to make a mummy pizza, use the cheese shreds to form “bandages”.) Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted. Then get creative! To make a jack-o-lantern, create a face with black olives and sliced green pepper, and a pumpkin stem from green pepper. To make a spider pizza, top with a vertically halved black olive for the body, a horizontally halved black olive for the head, and sliced black olives for the legs. To make a mummy pizza, use green olives to create eyes. To make a monster/Frankenstein pizza, top with a piece of sliced green pepper and small olive pieces.

Mini Halloween Pizzas
Vegan Halloween Pizzas
Mini Halloween Pizzas

Happy Halloween snacking!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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