Saturday, January 20, 2018


Rock art panel, Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah blog, public domain.

Hundreds of images of domesticated dogs have been found in rock art of the Arabian peninsula at the Shuwaymis and Jubbah sites in northwestern Saudia Arabia. "While documenting thousands of rock-art panels there, Maria Guagnin, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, counted 156 dogs at Shuwaymis and 193 at Jubbah." (Gannon 2017)

Shuwaymis rock art,
public domain.

"Etched into the rock walls of dried-out valleys and slopes in the Arabian peninsula, the 8,000-year-old hunting scenes even feature some dogs on leashes. Those images - the oldest archaeological evidence of dog leashes - suggest humans were controlling and training dogs even before they settled down into farming communities." (Gannon 2017) These dog petroglyphs, which may be the oldest dog images known in rock art, are beautifully done, with graceful lines. They suggest an appreciation of, even affection for, the subject.

Rock art and Canaan dog.,
public domain.

The canines portrayed look similar to the modern breed of Canaan dogs with "pricked ears, short snouts, and curled tails - and they look distinct from the hyenas and wolves depicted elsewhere in the rock-art panels." (Gannon 2017) In other words, they seem to be domesticated dogs, not wild canids.

Shuwaymis rock art panel, Saudi
public domain.

"The team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute report that the panels they found on the Arabian Peninsula are between 8,000 and 9,000 years old, which might make them the oldest dog images on record. That title currently  belongs to painted pottery from southwestern Iran that's also about 8,000 years old, so which is unequivocally the oldest is not yet clear." (Sloat 2017) It illustrates that man's best friend may also be his oldest, and documents a relationship between canine and human., public domain.

"The archaeological record shows the first undisputed dog remains buried beside humans 14,700 years ago, with disputed remains occurring 36,000 years ago - The dog was the first species to be domesticated." (Wikipedia) So, while these images are not the earliest evidence of domesticated dogs, they may well be the first images of domesticated dogs - until older ones are found.

NOTE: Images in this posting were retrieved from the internet after a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the originals at the sites listed below.


Gannon, Megan
2017 8,000-Year-Old Rock Art Includes the World's Oldest Images of Dogs, Live Science, November 20, 2017, https:/

Sloat, Sarah
2017 Earliest Known Images of Dogs Reveal Origins of Their Bond With Humans, November 17, 2017,

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