In Saudi Arabia, recently uncovered rock art depicts what could be dogs tethered to the waists of hunters. The carvings at Shuwaymis and Jubbah show animals being stalked by archers.
Dogs surround the men, appearing as medium-sized animals with erect ears, short noses, and curled tails. Possible ropes, drawn as simple lines, run from the dogs’ necks to nearby human hips. While the image of a leashed canine does not stand out, the oldest of its kind might.
The Arabian gallery is ancient. But there is no irrefutable way to date engravings, so researchers had to find another way to arrive at an estimate. They analyzed themes inside the scenes and compared them to known eras. The etchings included cattle and sheep, which meant that the dog owners belonged to a pastoral or herding community.