About the series

Steve Leonard holding a Collie Copyrighted image Credit: Windfall Films Steve Leonard with a collie

It’s hard to believe that a Great Dane and a Chihuahua belong to the same species, yet they do. In The wonder of dogs we will celebrate and interrogate the dog in all its spectacularly different and unlikely forms. From ancient predator to household pet, the evolution of dogs is arguably the greatest success story in the animal kingdom. We’ll chart the remarkable journey of the domestic dog from one common ancestor to over 200 breeds we see in Britain today, and discover that hidden in their DNA are reflections of our own human history.

In this three part series we will take a snapshot of the dog population of a typical English village – Brightwell in Oxfordshire, and examine the huge range of breeds in one single place. Our presenters Kate Humble and Steve Leonard, together with leading experts, will put the village dogs through a range of tests and explore why there’s so much variety within a single species. Along the way, historian Ruth Goodman will also be unearthing the extraordinary stories behind some of the world’s most iconic breeds.