For over 12,000 years, dogs have been closely associated with man. Although the dog would have had to earn his keep by means of hunting and retrieving, guarding and scavenging skills, there is no doubt that even in those very early days, his relationship with man involved the qualities of mutual affection, trust and understanding.
Dogs are descended from wolves, although there is some debate as to whether man actually domesticated the wolf to form the dog or whether it was a more gradual and passive process, whereby the less timid wolves gradually came into close association with man.
The exact timing of domestication is also under debate. Although most people agree that dogs were living with man some 12,000 years ago, there are some suggestions that domestication may have occured as far back as 80,000 years ago.
This information is referenced from the Waltham website which can be located at www.waltham.com