Synopses & Reviews
That the dog evolved from the wolf is an accepted fact of evolution and history, but the question of how wolf became dog has remained a mystery, obscured by myth and legend. How the Dog Became the Dog
posits that dog was an evolutionary inevitability in the nature of the wolf and its human soul mate.
The natural temperament and social structure of humans and wolves are so similar that as soon as they met on the trail they recognized themselves in each other. Both are highly social, accomplished generalists, and creatures of habit capable of adapting
"Reaching back into murky prehistory to determine just when, where, and how the wolf joined forces with early man to become the domesticated dog we know today has long proven difficult. With this informative account, Derr (Dog's Best Friend) takes on the challenge of untangling the limited, often contradictory findings available from archeological digs and genetic studies to seek the dog's origins. Rejecting the argument once prevalent among biologists, that dogs evolved from wolves that hung around prehistoric villages to scavenge, Derr delineates instead a past in which wolves and humans teamed up to bring down more game and to reap other advantages from each other's company, in a process made inevitable by the similarity of their social natures and pack hunting techniques. Sadly, Derr's envisioning of this ancient friendship falls prey to sentimentality: 'I can almost see through the occluded lens of time three wolves lazing outside the cave mouth,' begins one hazy scene. And the book's catalogue of prehistory and Neanderthal stomping grounds could do with a bit more focus: some chapters jump around desultorily or lose focus. Still, Derr's real affinity for canines comes through strongly, and the book should appeal to dog lovers with a curiosity about the origins of their favorite companion. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"In his latest book, renowned author and dog expert, Mark Derr, shows that one can be scientifically rigorous and still write a highly engaging and accessible account of how the dog became the dog. Derr shows how shared sociability and curiosity drew wolves and humans together resulting in a close and enduring relationship of mutual utility. If you have to decide which dog book to read among the many that are available, this clearly is the one to choose because of its scientific accuracy and easy-to-read style." Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals
"This fascinating book should be read by anyone who is interested in how
wolves became dogs. Mark Derr traces the development of dogs from the
distant past to the present." Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make us Human
"A transporting slice of dog/wolf thinking that will pique the interest of anyone with a dog in their orbit." Kirkus
"An essential read for dog lovers." Booklist
About the Author
Mark Derr is the author of Dog's Best Friend and A Dog's History of America. As an expert on the subject of dogs, he has appeared regularly on The Charlie Rose Show, and in documentaries for A&E and The Discovery Channel. He writes regularly for Atlantic Monthly, Natural History, Smithsonian and the New York Times. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida.