[percussive music] - [Narrator] Thousands of years ago, the wolf stepped out of the forest and transformed, in an evolutionary blink of the eye, into the dog.
This remarkable animal followed us, and understood us, and we embraced him like no other creature.
From the descendants of ancient wild dogs in Papua New Guinea, to a hairless breed thought to have magical powers in Mexico, dogs have made a lasting impact on cultures and civilizations around the world.
They are healers, and skilled herders.
- Maybe we'd still be hunters and gatherers if it wasn't for dogs.
- [Narrator] They act as guardians and expert guides.
- Without them, we would've never survived.
Without them, we wouldn't be here.
- [Narrator] Now, a controversial theory suggests the birthplace of the dog can be narrowed down to one corner of the globe.
Through DNA evidence, scientists are trying to pinpoint that spot, the motherland of all dogs that would adapt and eventually change the world.
[ethereal music] At dawn, in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, a band of men set out to hunt.
Their village is desperate for meat.
The men believe the dogs they take with them have supernatural abilities to track down prey.
The Akepangi tribe affirm that their hunting dogs are descended from an ancient and mysterious wild dog that still roams the mountains of Papua New Guinea.
[dogs howling] The singing dog of New Guinea doesn't bark, but howls like a wolf.
[dogs howling] Heard here in a rare recording, the singing dog is seldom, if ever, seen today.
But the Akepangi believe it to be unchanged by time, and the mother of all dogs.
[insects trilling] The men are hunting for marsupial tree kangaroos, bandicoots, and possums, but it's the dogs that will find them.
[percussive music] [dogs barking and howling] - [Narrator] The dogs have detected the scent of a possum up in the canopy.
[dogs continue barking] [men chattering in foreign language] The men check that the possum's claws haven't cut the dogs' mouths.
These dogs are more valuable to them than their bows and arrows.
- [Interpreter] If I go to the forest without a dog, I just feel like I'm going there without anything, and I know that I will not be able to catch anything.
And when we go out into the bush, there are some forces of the spirits, so the dogs, they warn us, 'Don't go to that place because there are spirits there.'
And there tails will be stuck behind their back, and they will come and look scared, and that is a signal that there is something out there.
- [Narrator] Every culture has its story about the creation of these incredible animals.
But where do dogs really come from?
This is the story of how dogs first arrived on earth, in one of the most breathtaking evolutionary leaps ever made.
And the story of how the dog went on to change human life around the world in just 15,000 years.
[bright music] More than 750 million of us share our lives with dogs.
We love them.
We cherish them, and the feeling is mutual.
Our relationship with dogs is the most meaningful we have with any animal.
But why is this?
According to genetics, this most adored of animal companions was once the wild and savage wolf.
How did this transformation first take place?
For a long time, the accepted belief has been that ancient people took wolf puppies from the wild, adopted and tamed them.
But the idea that humans took the wolf and created the dog by adoption is being challenged.
There is a revolutionary idea that the wolf turned itself into a dog in the Stone Age, or Mesolithic times.
[inquisitive music] The dog may be man's best friend, but biologist Raymond Coppinger strongly disputes the idea that man was also its creator.
- The whole problem with adoption for me is that it's practically impossible.
You have to start thinking about, if you're adopting wolves, you have to be adopting them at 13 days.
And if you don't adopt them at 13 days, nobody has ever tamed wolf, nobody.
And so I just don't see Mesolithic people as having that kind of time to go around and raise little puppies on a bottle, you know, just impossible.
- [Narrator] So if people did not create the dog, what did cause the wolf to evolve into a new species?
Coppinger believes he has the answer.
15,000 years ago, humans began to live in permanent settlements for the first time.
Coppinger believes that studying the behavior of dogs drawn to feed at modern dumps can give us clues as to the surprising impact these early villages may have had.
- I think that the average person thinks that this is a mess, that it's a gigantic mess.
But for me, I mean, there's dogs everywhere, and it gives you a model for how the dog evolved, and what the dog's niche is, and how it lives and how it survives.
How it did survive in the past.
You know, this is ancient.
This is ageless.
This is all the way back to the beginning of humans living in permanent settlement.
There were probably places like this, and there were probably dogs in it.
And that's how it happened.
That's how it evolved.
- [Narrator] Coppinger believes that with the creation of the first Stone Age villages came a brand new ecological niche.
As rubbish such as animal carcasses and human waste accumulated, wild animals, including wolves, would have been drawn to feed on it.
- Now what happens is, once the wolves move into a place like this, then all of a sudden there's gonna be the same struggle between them for the available food.
So selection is going to take place, and who can occupy that niche?
Who can be most efficient in the dump?
- [Narrator] Which wolves would thrive in this new niche, and which would die, Coppinger believes, would come down to one thing.
- Wolves moving into some ancient settlement, or just foraging around an ancient settlement, have the characteristics of other mammals, is that if they perceive something as fearful, then they're gonna run.
It's called flight distance.
When do you start to run, and how far do you run?
Here I am in a Mesolithic village, and I'm bringing down something to throw in the dump.
And half a mile off, this wolf sees me coming, and he disappears.
Well, when I dump the stuff there, he doesn't have access to it.
But some other guy that does have a very short flight distance, sits just over there, watches, and the minute I go away, comes in and he gets the food.
That's the animal that's going to win.
That's the animal's gonna survive.
That's the wolf that's going to be part of this transformation into that beautiful thing we call dogs.
- [Narrator] Coppinger suspects that these ancient wolves divided into two genetic groups.
The ones with the shortest flight distance, able to feed around humans, began to transform.
14,000 year old remains show us that the new animal to emerge, known as protodog, was a very different beast from the wolf.
The wolf is a powerful hunting machine.
A highly intelligent animal, with a large brain and skull.
It's long, powerful jaws hold big molars and carnassial teeth at the back for cutting through bone and tearing flesh, and formidable canines at the front for gripping prey.
But the wolf changed dramatically when it became the protodog.
The brain and the skull shrank, probably because scavenging did not demand the same brain power as organized pack hunting.
Protodog didn't need the killing teeth of a predator.
The snout became shorter, the body reduced to become 2/3 the size of the wolf.
Protodog did not need to bring down large prey animals.
The wolf had transformed itself into a creature that looked very much like the dog of today.
But just how rapidly would this transformation have taken place?
- One of the big puzzling things to me as a scientist is how quickly it seems to have happened.
We all grew up believing it would take long periods of time, a slow process of evolution in order to evolve, in order to transform a wolf into a dog.
But boy, from the archeological records or whatever, it was an instant of time.
- [Narrator] How could it be possible for one species to evolve suddenly into another?
Clues were to emerge unexpectedly from an experiment conducted in the old Soviet Union.
- I really think that the Belyayev experiment was one of the most significant experiments in evolution that took place in the 20th century, and it affected my life and my thinking in so many ways.
- [Narrator] The experiment was begun in the 1950s at a fox farm in Siberia.
The foxes were being bred for their fur, but they were wild animals that were hard to handle, and often too stressed to breed.
Dmitry Belyayev, a geneticist, was taken on to see if he could develop foxes that would be easier to keep.
He began his experiment by breeding together those foxes with the least excitable temperaments.
Belyayev selected foxes by a simple method.
He extended a gloved hand into each animal's cage.
The foxes that attacked, cowered, or bit him were excluded from breeding.
[bright music] But those that showed tolerance or curiosity were mated together.
In effect, Belyayev was selecting the foxes for their flight distance.
The subsequent results were staggering.
The new generations of foxes were transformed, not just in behavior, but in their appearance.
Within just 10 years, the selected foxes showed new variety in their color.
Some were born with mottled coats or black and white patches.
Their ears became floppy.
They started to bark, vocalize.
They became highly playful, even into adulthood, and were no longer afraid of people.
Some of the foxes even began to answer to their names.
Belyayev had stumbled across the discovery that selecting for the quality of tameness alone could set off a cascade of other changes.
We can still see evidence of this quantum leap at the same research center today.
- Up to that point, we all kind of believed Darwin.
Darwin said nature does not go in leaps.
Things don't happen fast.
They happen gradually.
And the answer was, with Belyayev's experiment, he was wrong.
They do go in leaps.
And sometimes big leaps, things that you wouldn't expect.
The theory is here is that we're dealing with some underlying structure.
When we're dealing with tameness, we're dealing with a set of genetics that is producing a characteristic response.
- [Narrator] It is not a coincidence that many domesticated animals are black and white.
When selection is made for tameness, it impacts on the entire makeup of the animal.
Scientists have determined that adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone, and melanin, the skin and fur pigment, are chemically connected, so they change together.
As are the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline, which control behaviors.
Affect one system, and there is a domino effect from color to behaviors.
Coppinger's scavenging wolves may have undergone a similar transformation.
- When all of a sudden Belyayev did his experiment, it changed the way a lot of us began to think about dogs.
People talked about why did people select dogs to have this coat color or that coat color and so on.
Why did people select dogs to to bark?
And then all of a sudden we realized that those were a bunch of really silly questions because we could get all of that just by selecting for tameness.
- [Narrator] Belyayev had created foxes that looked and behaved like dogs.
His experiment suggested that the transformation of the wild wolf into the dog could have happened in the blink of an evolutionary eye.
The stage was set for the development of the dog into the incredible variety we have today.
[dogs barking] Here was an animal from the wilderness that actively sought out our presence and our friendship.
An animal that followed us, and understood our intentions.
The dog was the very first creature to be domesticated and live amongst us.
[water splashing] [dog barking] How did ancient people respond to the new creature that mysteriously had a foot in the animal world and a foot in our own?
[ethereal music] On the temple walls of this 1,500 year old pyramid, the dog takes its place amongst the sacred animals.
The dog had become a creature of magic.
This is the dog believed to feature in the mural, known as the Xoloitzcuintli, the dog of the god Xolotl, believed to have been used in ritual practices by the Chichimeca people.
The Xoloitzcuintli, though very rare, still exists in Mexico.
Its unique, hairless skin is believed to have given these dogs special significance for the Chichimecas.
The genetic mutation that causes these dogs to be born without hair also results in their missing certain teeth, making it unusually easy for archeologists to identify the dogs at their sacred burial sites.
The Xolo is not alone in its use as a ritual dog.
Humans have been sacrificing dogs for as long as 12,000 years.
On virtually every landmass, and in every major culture, dogs have been buried with people.
In Israel, archeologists have unearthed the 12,000 year old remains of a woman holding a puppy.
In Kazakhstan, dog skeletons have been discovered buried in the foundations of houses 6,000 years old, apparently as spiritual guardians of the homes.
What was it that first drew ancient people to bury their dead with dogs?
- I think if we're right, and that this process of a wolf turning into a dog happened very quickly, it seems to me that it probably happened within a human lifespan.
And if you can imagine being someone living in one of these first early settlements, and actually seeing with your own eyes this wolf turn into a dog, it really seems likely to me that you might think that a dog really had some kind of magical power.
So that being able to include a dog with a burial, especially of a revered person, an important person in the community, would have given this added protection to guard that spirit as they move along into the afterlife.
- [Narrator] Dogs are still believed to have magical powers in the far reaches of Mexico.
[classical guitar music] [rooster crows] Godalia Mindiata keeps Xolo dogs because she believes they have the power to heal illness and pain.
[speaking Spanish] [classical guitar music continues] After a lifetime of hard work as a clothes washer, Godalia has severe rheumatism in many of her joints.
Her solution is the healing power of her dogs, whose skin is hot to the touch, especially the puppies.
- [Interpreter] When they are small, I wash them really well, and then I place them so that they can get rid of my cramps.
You put them here like this, and then they burn from how hot they get.
If you have rheumatism, you put them wherever it hurts.
- [Narrator] We can begin to understand why the ancient Chichimeca might have felt these hairless dogs possessed something unique when we look at a Xolo puppy litter.
Many of the pups in the litter of a hairless dog will be born with fur because the genetic mutation that causes the bare skin will only be passed on to a few of her litter.
The hairless pups are very special.
[classical guitar music] When dogs joined our community thousands of years ago, it seems that we quickly embraced them as magical and spiritual companions.
But people were to discover that dogs could also offer us something else unique that could make or break the survival of our communities, their bark.
[dogs barking] In Staffordshire England, a man approaches an isolated country home.
With nobody around for miles, it's a perfect target for an intruder.
But this house has 24 hour protection.
[dogs barking] - It's a very intimidating kind of display, seeing these large dogs rushing up to the gate like that, producing these deafening barks.
It's the ultimate deterrent, if you like.
My stealth is gone.
Now everyone knows I'm here.
- [Narrator] With the permission of their owner, the guards allow zoologist James Serpell to enter their territory.
- [James] Hi dogs.
- [Narrator] A recent study in the United Kingdom showed that a barking dog is a stronger deterrent against burglars than a burglar alarm.
[percussive music] [dogs snarling] Guard dogs are larger than the first protodog.
The archeological records show that they emerged in Europe at least 4,000 years ago to protect people and property.
Dobermans are a popular choice of guard dog today.
They were originally developed in Germany in the 1870s by a tax collector called Louis Doberman, who wanted an intimidating, fearless dog to protect him on his rounds and encourage reluctant taxpayers to pay up.
Break-ins at this home were once a regular occurrence.
The Dobermans have put a stop to it.
The guarding instincts of dogs came from wolves, who are highly territorial.
James Serpell believes that we have relied on these instincts since the dog first came to us.
- In former times, there was constant warfare, constant competition between neighboring populations.
People would've felt very vulnerable because human sensory capacities aren't really that good.
We have reasonable vision, but our hearing and our sense of smell is very poor.
Once you introduce an animal like the dog into a situation like this, all of a sudden it's as if people have acquired new eyes, new ears, and new sense of smell that far exceeds what they have naturally.
- [Narrator] It's thought that a dog's sense of smell is at least a thousand times more sensitive than ours.
Their hearing is also formidable.
Noises that we can hear at a mile, they detect at four miles.
[wolf howling] Wolves, like guard dogs, patrol their territory regularly from as early as six months old.
[wolves howling] Howling keeps other wolves away from the pack's territory, and is their major vocal communication.
They don't guard their territory by barking, like dogs.
- Wolves certainly do bark, but they bark infrequently compared with dogs, and their bark is kind of a soft bark.
It's a woof kind of sound.
And what's happened clearly in the evolution of the dog is that people have selected for this type of behavior and accentuated it, so that it's become much more pronounced.
- [Narrator] So next time your neighbor's barking dog wakes you up, don't blame the dog.
It was humans who chose to exaggerate its bark thousands of years ago, and turned it to our advantage with far reaching results.
- I don't think people perhaps realize quite how much having guard dogs around has affected the evolution of human culture and civilization.
It's interesting that the spread of dogs through the human population of the world was extremely rapid.
I suspect a word got round very quickly that having these animals around gave you an edge over your neighbors.
It just enabled you to compete more successfully and protect your own people better.
- [Narrator] It seems everyone wanted a watch dog.
Our ancestors kept them close as they began to migrate across the earth.
- One of the ways that you can measure how valuable people must have felt dogs to be is that they took dogs with them everywhere they moved in the world.
So every new community, as they expanded around the world, even if they had to move in canoes, they took their dogs with them.
- [Narrator] Dogs can now be found everywhere in the world.
In Stockholm, at the Royal Institute of Technology, a project has begun to investigate exactly where they came from originally.
Their conclusions so far are highly unexpected.
Biologists originally believed dogs first evolved from different types of wolves in different places.
But geneticist Peter Savolainen's analysis of dogs' DNA paints another picture.
Savolainen believes that dogs started their global journey thousands of years ago from just one place on earth, a motherland for the entire species.
The project emerged from Savolainen's work as a forensic scientist, analyzing dog hairs found at crime scenes.
- It started when we did our earliest forensic work.
Then we collected Swedish dogs, but of course, of different breeds, also East Asian breeds.
And in this quite small sample, we anyway saw a tendency that the Chinese breeds like Chow Chow, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and so on, that they had a higher genetic variation than the European breeds.
- [Narrator] Savolainen realized that identifying genetic differences in breeds from around the world could shed new light on the question of where dogs come from.
This project is setting out to tell the genetic version of the story for the first time.
[gentle music] To do this, the team would need a huge database of DNA samples from dogs of every continent.
Samples have been gathered by local volunteers from Africa to Asia.
With 3,000 different dogs sampled to date, the collection is unique.
The project studies mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on unchanged from mother to offspring, allowing us to trace a lineage.
This same technique has also been used to tell the story of human origins, and the results are widely accepted.
- All people on the earth have mitochondrial DNA molecules that have a single origin from a single woman living in Africa around 100,000 years ago.
And then her offspring has accumulated a few mutations through time, which is why we today have different mitochondrial DNA types.
We can do like an evolutionary tree, and this shows us exactly how we are related to each other, all the way back to the first woman ancestor of all of us.
And exactly the same thing we are doing with our dog samples.
- [Narrator] The DNA samples have been mapped out.
The results are clear.
Much more variety can be found in one place on earth than anywhere else.
And although the genetics are complex, this strongly suggests that this one place is the homeland of all dogs.
- There seemed to be just a single geographic origin of dogs, and that this origin was somewhere in East Asia.
The next step for us is to try and say more specifically where in East Asia did this happen?
- [Narrator] He believes the domestication of the wolf took place in one small area, possibly China or Siberia.
But his findings are controversial.
- There is still some debate, I guess, but with our new data coming, we will get a much better case for what we believe.
- [Narrator] If the dog did first emerge from a small number of wolves in East Asia, the diverse range of environments this one species would go on to conquer is all the more remarkable.
One of the secrets of the dog's success would be a phenomenal ability to adapt to any climate it entered.
[ethereal music] 3,000 years ago, the Inuit people migrated into the harsh terrain of the Arctic for the first time.
When they made this epic journey, they were probably not alone.
In these frozen lands, man would come to rely on the skills of the dog as never before.
[dogs barking and howling] The first dogs to arrive here would originally have come from warmer climates in Asia.
Yet temperatures here can fall as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit, and these sled dogs will never sleep a night under a roof.
They exist on a diet of snow and seal blubber.
[dogs barking] In the Arctic, the dog had to become an endurance athlete.
Sled dogs are small enough to be capable of surviving on very little, but large enough to pull heavy weights.
The backbone of the sled dog is stiff, to transform muscle power from the legs into pulling power.
The pack runs with a rhythm, combining their strength to lighten the load.
One paw will remain on the ground at all times, maintaining their stability under the strain of the weight.
Sled dogs are capable of running the equivalent of five marathons a day.
Some sled dogs have run 1,000 miles in eight days, making them the fastest land animals in the world over long distances.
Like their ancestors, Inuit hunters Levi Palatuk and Jason Palid rely on the senses of their dogs to navigate this potentially treacherous land.
- Even in a blizzard, or a complete white out, where the ground or the snow seems to be the same as the sky, there's no edge in the horizon, they know how to get home.
- [Narrator] The dogs do not travel ahead of Levi and Jason simply to pull their gear.
The snow can cover splits in the ice, and the freezing water below can kill a man within seconds.
But the dogs can sense changes in the snow underfoot, and will stop if they detect danger.
- I've seen dogs falling through the ice where a human would not survive.
They fall in the water, and they seem to get out of it very easily and shake everything off, and it's okay for them.
- [Narrator] Inuit dogs, male and female, are intensely competitive for the top position.
The human sled driver must take the role of alpha wolf.
In this unpredictable environment, complete obedience is demanded.
The most dependable dog is harnessed as the lead dog.
Their job is to enforce the driver's commands and set the pace.
The lowest ranking dog in the pack falls at the back of the team.
He is known by the Inuit as least-respected dog, but he is one of the most hard working in the team, pulling the greatest load.
This is hot and heavy work, but in the Arctic, cooling down is no problem.
[airy music] [dogs yipping and barking] The team approaches the hunting grounds on the sea ice.
The dogs locate snow covered air holes used by seals, indicating to the men where to hang their nets.
As the hunters work, the dogs remain on constant watch for their greatest adversary.
There is no other animal on this arctic tundra that would take on the mighty polar bear.
- They really know how to fight the bear.
I've seen dogs go right under the bear and then go out the other end.
And I've seen dogs go right under the mouth, right under the neck, and go out the other end as well.
- [Narrator] Levi recalls a time when the Inuit people depended entirely on their dogs.
- Nowadays, we use them mainly to pull light loads.
But back when I was a child, my parents used to travel only by dog team, and my parents took absolutely everything with them on their sled.
They were transportation, they were protectors.
They found food for us.
They helped our people.
Without them, we would've never survived.
Without them, we wouldn't be here.
- [Narrator] Unparalleled adaptability and harsh natural selection is what lies behind the incredible resilience of these dog families.
The puppies are born onto the ice.
Double layered fur offers some protection to the pups, but in this environment, only the toughest will make it.
Inuit are no longer forced to rely on their dogs to get around, but many still choose to.
[snow crunching] [dogs panting] The dog has mastered this frozen land.
Would humans have done the same without them?
- There may be environments, for example, the Arctic areas, that would've really been too hostile for humans on their own to have been worth colonizing.
And that raises the interesting possibility that the only reason there are people living in those areas is because of dogs.
Because they had dogs.
- [Narrator] The rugged design of sled dogs recalls their ancestor, the wolf.
But after 15,000 years of evolution, dogs are now very different.
Uniquely, the dog has developed the ability to read human emotions and language in remarkable ways.
- [Speaker] Good boy. Sit.
[quirky music] Kenny speak. [dog barks] Speak. [dog barks] Speak. [dog barks] - [Narrator] Dogs are one of the few animals in the world that really seem to take an interest in us and understand our emotions and body language.
This allows us to work together like no other pair of animals.
- [Speaker] Good boy.
Crawl, crawl, down.
Circle. Good boy.
- [Narrator] It is this ability to communicate with dogs that has literally changed our lives over the millennia, and no more so than when we use these skills to ask dogs to carry out work we could not easily do.
[insects trilling] Joe Relph has lived and farmed in the Cambrian Fells all of his life.
He tends to 2,000 sheep across 2,000 acres of some of Britain's toughest farming terrain.
Neither man nor machine can move sheep down from these steep rugged hills.
Farming here would be impossible without his dogs, Liz, Eve, and Fly.
[Joe whistles] [uptempo acoustic music] His sheepdog, this one is Liz, must interpret Joe's commands carefully.
From the hundreds of sheep around, she must pinpoint exactly which ones to move.
- That'll do. Come on. [whistles] [uptempo acoustic music continues] - [Narrator] The dogs can follow Joe's commands from as far away as half a mile.
[Joe whistles commands] [uptempo acoustic music continues] If a straggler gets left behind, there's even a command for, 'Look back, you've missed one.'
The trust between shepherd and dog must be strong, because the work is potentially hazardous.
- If they're running after a sheep that's maybe on the edge of a 200 foot drop, they've got to be able to use their own brain as well to deal with that situation.
When you're gathering on the Fells, I mean, it's 90% dog and 10% tools, I would say.
I care deeply about them, you know, they're a great friend.
And we spend hours.
A lot of days you maybe spend most of the day with them.
And once they're retired, I would never part with them.
We always keep them till they die, you know, 'cause they're of part of the family.
- [Narrator] Joe's dogs are Border Collies, bred originally on the Scottish borders and refined over the centuries by selective breeding to move sheep with the control of a chess grand master.
Humans succeeded in doing this by harnessing killer instincts dogs inherited from the wolf.
[uptempo acoustic music] Wolves use a specific sequence of behavior when they see a meal.
First they eye the prey.
Then they stalk it.
When the moment is right, they chase.
Then they bite to kill.
Sheepdog handlers train their dogs to hold back from that final bite instinct.
- One of the most beautiful phenomenons in the dog world is a trained Border Collie.
Because what happens is the dog has the sequence, I stalk, chase, bite.
You can't teach him that.
You cannot teach any of those behaviors.
They're written in the brain.
When you watch them, he comes in in this classic stalk position, and the sheep recognize that as a hunting behavior.
And if an animal sees that, they say, 'Uh oh, I'm gonna end up as mutton at the end of this one.'
- [Narrator] The sheep respond to the threat by grouping together, making it easier for the dogs to control them.
- The fascinating thing about a Border Collie is that they're a nice balance between what we'd call innate behaviors, things that are under genetic control, and very precisely under genetic control, and learned behavior.
So people, when you buy a Border Collie, you buy that genetic set of behaviors, and then you train it the way you want to do it.
It's just unbelievable what you could do with that dog.
- [Narrator] People have been using dogs for herding for as long as 9,000 years.
Today, they are still used for herding sheep and goats, and even reindeer in different countries.
A dog is so vital to controlling these animals, we may wonder how people would've ever domesticated wild beasts without them.
- It's quite a big leap from hunting wild sheep and goats, say, to herding them.
And you have to ask, what made people decide that herding was an economically feasible thing to do?
To me, watching the shepherd here getting his sheep off this very rough ground, it's like saying, 'Well, how could he do this without those dogs?'
And the sort of ancestral terrain for sheep and goats is this kind of terrain.
So my argument would be people would never have embarked on that expedition, if you like, to domesticate sheep and goats, if they didn't have the help of dogs.
I think it was having the dog that precipitated that domestication.
Maybe it would never have happened.
Maybe we'd still be hunters and gatherers if it wasn't for dogs.
- [Narrator] Every day, across the world, from the plains of Argentina to the icy mountains of New Zealand, hundreds of thousands of herding dogs set out to fearlessly perform tasks that we could not achieve by ourselves.
[uptempo acoustic music] [dogs barking] [sheep bleating] [uptempo acoustic music continues] - [Narrator] When the wolf stepped out of the wild and transformed itself into a dog in East Asia up to 15,000 years ago, it changed human life forever.
If we understand the essential role these dogs have played in the history of the human world, as a hunter, to feed us.
As a guard, to protect us.
As a healing and spiritual companion.
As a herder, to give us mastery over other animals.
And as a guide into unknown territories, then we understand why dogs have earned a unique and fundamental place in the human heart.
[ethereal music] In the next episode, the dog's incredible journey of evolution becomes an explosion of breeds.
[percussive music] The five early types of working dog were to be shaped by the environment, and then by human hand, with dramatic results.
We discover how the Industrial Revolution and the dawn of the Victorian Age would transform the dog into the most varied species on earth.
- The show ring now is leading in the type of dogs that were being exhibited and therefore bred.
- [Narrator] We discover that 400 breeds of every imaginable shape and size were to be created.
We find out why the modern world is witnessing a crisis in our relationship with the dog.
And we look at amazing new ways in which the dog's sensory ability is helping the human world, when we meet the dog that is saving a child's life every day and night.