Believe it or not, there was a time when the ancestors of modern humans and canines were in direct competition with one another, fighting over some of the same resources. Over time, however, one or both of these species figured out that forming a partnership might be a more beneficial survival technique, and thus, the domesticated dog was born. This change took place somewhere between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago, according to Smithsonian.com, as gray wolves and dogs split from a mutual ancestor. While scientists aren't clear whether humans managed to capture wolf pups and tame them, or if the canines themselves decided it would be wise to "adopt" a human, what is clear is that dog has been man's best friend for thousands of years.
Once this relationship was established, however, humans soon learned that breeding different types of dogs could lead to improved attributes. Today that might mean working to create miniature purse-sized versions of traditional breeds, or messing with genetics to make a dog look "cuter," but in the past, breeding was often about survival. It was intended to create working dogs that could guard the homestead, fend off poachers, protect the flock from wolves, herd cattle or pull a heavy cart to market. While many of the big dogs bred to do these jobs don't necessarily have to work so hard these days, these breeds are now so beloved that they live on as family pets or household watchdogs. Think you can name them all? Take our quiz to prove it!