Whether consciously or unconsciously, selective breeding has been going on for many thousands of years, resulting in the genetic engineering of as many as 400 distinct dog breeds worldwide. Most of these breeds have been bred with some specific intention in mind, frequently a practical function like hunting, shepherding, and guarding. The earliest known breeds appear in the historical record around 3000 BP in Egypt. They are of a greyhound type and were probably specialized hunting hounds used for coursing game. The Assyrians had developed a much larger mastiff-type dog useful for hunting in dense cover.
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