6:56 pm, Tue 12 Feb 2013
We all know that they demand love, attention and a lifetime of companionship - but dogs may have been man's best friend for far longer than we thought.
Durham University has been given one million pounds to work out the date of the first pet dogs.
And as Dan Ashby reports, from wolves to poodles, our canine companions may have been there for us for more than thirty thousand years.
Watch his full report below.
11:23 am, Tue 12 Feb 2013
Scientists at Durham University are using a £950,000 NERC grant to find out when and where dogs first became domesticated. They are examining bones of wolves and dogs.
The earliest conclusive evidence showed dogs have been pets for about 14,000 years, but theories now suggest it could have been for as long as 35,000 years.
"Just about everything associated with domestication is really about the beginnings of farming. Except dogs.
"Dogs were domesticated by hunter-gatherers at least 3,000-5,000 years before agriculture and possibly tens of thousands of years earlier."
– Professor Keith Dobney, Sixth Century Chair of Human Palaeoecology at the University of Aberdeen
The three year project starts in October.
11:15 am, Tue 12 Feb 2013
Scientists at Durham University are trying to find out when dogs first became domesticated. They are examining bones from ancient remains of wolves and dogs. It's believed they could have been pets for as long as 35,000 years.