Table of Contents
ISRN Zoology
Volume 2013, Article ID 841734, 7 pages
Research Article

Out of Asia: An Allopatric Model for the Evolution of the Domestic Dog

1Biology Department, Washington University, Box 1137, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
2Anthropology Department, Physical Anthropology, City University New York, 535 East 80th Street, New York, NY 10075, USA

Received 29 June 2013; Accepted 28 August 2013

Academic Editors: A. Arslan, J. J. Gros-Louis, and M. Klautau

Copyright © 2013 Stan Braude and Justin Gladman. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The domestication of the dog has been a ripe area of evolutionary speculation for more than 150 years. A wolf ancestry and probable East Asian origin of domestication are now widely accepted. We offer a new allopatric hypothesis for the domestication of dogs that recognizes the importance of isolation in the speciation of the dog from the wolf. Although sympatric isolation during domestication of many other species would not have been problematic, it has always been difficult to keep dogs from breeding with wild canids. Furthermore, wild canids readily hybridize with one another. This would have made it very difficult for an early domestic dog lineage to diverge from the wolf and to evolve into the morphologically, developmentally, and behaviorally distinct species that we recognize today. Our allopatric model is consistent with two subhypotheses: isolation when tamer scavenger wolves followed humans south and away from hunting populations of wolves or isolation when climate forced humans and tamer scavenger wolves into isolated refugia.