Before the evolution of wolf into dog, it is posited that humans and wolves worked together hunting game. Wolves were the superior tracker but humans were the superior killer; thus wolves would lead humans to the prey and humans would leave some of the meat to the wolves. This working relationship eventually led to the evolution of dogs, though there is controversy as to the exact nature of that transition. Some say wolves evolved naturally into dogs, wherein the wolves that worked best with humans slowly began to assimilate and pass their domesticated genes down. Others say that humans took wolf pups and raised them to be domesticated. Either way, humans and dogs formed a working relationship.
In Homer's Odyssey (c. 8th century BC), upon Odysseus' return [after 20 years away], his beloved dog
It is said that giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas, accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the
Previous to the 19th century, dogs, other than lap dogs, were largely functional. Used for activities such as hunting, watching, and guarding, language describing the dog often reflected these positions within society. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “In the oldest proverbs and phrases dogs are rarely depicted as faithful or as man’s best friend, but as vicious, ravening, or watchful.” Beginning in the 18th century, multiplying in the 19th and flourishing in the 20th century, language and attitudes towards dogs began to shift. Possibly, this societal shift can be attributed to discovery of the rabies vaccine in 1869.
The statement that Dog is man's best friend was first recorded as being made by
The earliest citation in the
The faithful dog - why should I strive
Much earlier, however, Voltaire had written in his Dictionnaire philosophique of 1764:
Translated, this reads: