The dogs of Siberia

An extensive research project led by palaeogeneticist Laurent Frantz from the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität Müchen determined that dogs from Siberia resulted from cross-breeding with dogs from Eurasian populations over 2000 years ago. His findings along with artifacts found at ancient sites, shows extensive trading. Dogs were an important trade item between the Siberian people and people from the Eurasian steppe and Europe.

For example, he goes on to say that although a large percent of the Samoyed genome can be traced to original Artic bloodlines, it also shows more Western influence than the husky. This finding helps to explain why the Samoyed can herd reindeer yet the husky does not. According to his findings the Samoyed as a breed has had little changes since the Middle Ages.

It is also interesting to note that according to Frantz, although there was an exchange and inbreeding of Siberian dogs, there was no indication that the people intermarried. The human genomes stayed very stable over the same period.    

New discovery about sled dogs

An interesting study has shown that sled dogs are much older than previously thought. Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, along with the research conducted in collaboration with the University of Greenland and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Barcelona did a study of sled dogs. By extracting the DNA from a 9,500-year-old dog from the Siberian island of Zhokhov, they have sequenced the oldest complete dog genome to date. The results show very early diversification of dogs into types of sled dogs. The results also show that the ancient dogs were crossed with an ancient wolf but not with the modern wolves.


What is important to note about this study is that the researchers found that the dietary needs of the sled dog are different from other dogs. Sled dogs do not have the same ability to use sugar and starch but do better with high-fat diets. This is similar to polar bears and Artic people. The researchers found that the Greenland husky is the purest with the least overlap with modern dogs.