Etched into the rock walls of dried-out valleys and slopes in the Arabian Peninsula, the 8,000-year-old hunting scenes even feature some dogs on leashes. Those images —the oldest archaeological evidence of dog leashes —suggest humans were controlling and training dogs even before they settled down into farming communities.

The dog carvings come from the rock-art sites of Shuwaymis and Jubbah in northwestern Saudi Arabia. While documenting thousands of rock-art panels there, Maria Guagnin, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, counted 156 dogs at Shuwaymis and 193 at Jubbah.

Similar to the modern Canaan breed in their appearance, the dogs in the engravings have pricked ears, short snouts and curled tails —and they look distinct from the hyenas and wolves depicted elsewhere in the rock-art panels, according to a study by Guagnin and her colleagues, published online Nov. 16 in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. [What Your Dog’s Breed Says About You] Read more