Domestic Dogs Leave Genetic Pawprint on Wolves

We all know that our dogs are descended from wolves, but did you know that through continued interaction, domestic dogs have left a mark on the wild wolf population?

A recent international study of Eurasian grey wolves has found that 60% of these wolves carry some domestic dog DNA, proving that our pups have engaged in some amorous activity with their wild cousins over the centuries.

This intermingling of dog DNA in wolves is more common in Europe and Asia than in North America.

The researchers who conducted the study note that while wolf-dog interbreeding is a known phenomenon, the extent to which our dogs’ DNA has entered the wolf population is a bit of a surprise.

They say that our idea of what a “pure” wolf is needs to be revised, since so much hybridization has occurred.  A wolf that may look wild may actually be a hybrid with some dog DNA.

What have been the main causes of wolf-dog hybridization over the years?  Free-ranging (and unaltered) dogs, shrinking wolf population sizes, and unregulated hunting, say the experts.

Interested in learning more?  You can read the full article HERE.

 

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