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.
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The incident took place on Sunday October 4th close to Marton Road in the town.
71-year-old Robert Howard was in jail at HMP Frankland and was due to give evidence at a re-ordered inquest in Belfast.