Now is the law of the jungle,
as old and as true as the sky.
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk,
the law runneth forward and back:
For the strength of the pack is the wolf,
and the strength of the wolf is the pack.
---- Rudyard Kipling
All domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are descended from their noble ancestor the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus). To this day all dogs share 99.8% of their genetic makeup with the Gray Wolf a mere difference of .2%.
“Thousands of years ago the “World of Man” and the “World of Wolf” somehow became intertwined. Both man and wolf lived in a “tribe”, hunted in groups, brought food home for the mothers with young. All the members of each “tribe” protected, cared for and taught their young of their ways, the “language” with which to communicate, what food to eat and how to obtain it as well as what plants to partake of for medicinal purposes. Man and wolf were very similar and equally different. Man’s weaknesses were wolf’s strengths. Their “tribal” territories overlapped and each was accustomed to the presence of the other. At some moment in a time long passed, for reasons we may never know for certain man had something to offer and wolf accepted.
Thus began the relationship between somewhat primitive man and wolf which over thousands of years has evolved into what can be observed today as the relationship between modern man and the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). At times in history man has forgotten how this relationship began and has demonized and persecuted this first friend. Perhaps man has forgotten how to speak to the members of wolf who have remained in the wild and does not remember that which he had originally offered. For man it is enough to “know” his “wolf in the parlor”, for wolf it may be regrettable and possibly he longs to converse again to remind man what it is to be a “first friend”
Researching the social biology of the non-captive Canis lupus and understanding his behaviors may be the first step on man’s path to the place of remembering that which has long been forgotten and to recognize that the domestic canine he now calls “dog” is not different from but actually is “wolf”.”
Excerpt from Diploma in Canine Science Module Two Report Marjanna Wornell
Wolves are highly intelligent; they live in packs (usually better understood as families). The pack generally consists of the Alpha pair (the mating pair), their offspring from one or more litters, and possibly an aunt or uncle depending on the family dynamic over time. Each wolf in the pack has a place in the Dominance Hierarchy, from the Alphas at the top down onto the Omega, the lowest ranking but not least important position at the bottom. All wolves in the pack play a roll in bringing up and caring for any young.
When we adopt a dog into our home whether we are a single person or living in some sort of “family” grouping we are in reality creating an interspecies pack/family. Thus it follows that each member has a place, and as the adoptive “parents” we need to be responsible in taking on the “alpha” position, the role of leadership.
If we as humans adopt a child from a different ethnicity than our own we will do our research into the culture and customs of their family of origin so that we can be sensitive to their social, mental and physical needs as they grow and develop. It is equally beneficial to understand the culture and customs of wolves, the “family” of origin of all dogs.
When pure breed dogs are evaluated in the show ring much emphasis is placed on appearance and physicality commonly referred to as confirmation of the breed. When a dog is evaluated for possible “adoption” into a human family the emphasis is placed on the temperament, personality and “energy” of the dog. Breed or mutt, rescued or purchased is less of a concern; however with purebred dogs or dogs of somewhat identifiable breed presence consideration can be given to breed specific traits, needs and requirements.
It is not just the dog who is evaluated but the potential adoptive family as well. It is not a judgment placed upon either the dog or the people it is rather a way to find the things both have in common, again temperament, personalities and energies are all viewed to facilitate the best possible match, and to provide understanding, support and guidance in the months to come for both the dog and the people embarking upon their journey together.
Whether you are a seasoned experienced person who has adopted dogs before, someone who may want to add an additional dog to their already established family or a first time dog owner we would be delighted to assist you in choosing the best possible match for both you and your new dog.