<p dir="ltr">To kick off the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/2015/show/info.html">139th Annual Westminster Dog Show</a>, which opens at Madison Square Garden in New York City today, we've called up some favorite pictures of pooches from the National Geographic archives.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the photo above, a pair of dogs—viewed over the hood of a car—roam the Bushman village of Wit Draai in South Africa.</p> <p dir="ltr">Human companionship with dogs stretches back to the Stone Age. Although scientists still debate the exact origins of domestic canines, many think they evolved from a group of wolves that have since died out. Some believe humans adopted wolf pups, favoring the ones that were less aggressive.</p> <p dir="ltr">Today, about 80 million dogs live in households across the United States. While they're still our loyal companions, they have become our co-workers too. They keep guard, soothe patients through therapy, star on the big screen, and&nbsp;<a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/06/war-dogs/paterniti-text">march side-by-side into combat with soldiers</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><b></b><i>—Text by Jenna Turner, photo gallery by Kathy Moran</i></p>

Off the Leash

To kick off the 139th Annual Westminster Dog Show, which opens at Madison Square Garden in New York City today, we've called up some favorite pictures of pooches from the National Geographic archives.

In the photo above, a pair of dogs—viewed over the hood of a car—roam the Bushman village of Wit Draai in South Africa.

Human companionship with dogs stretches back to the Stone Age. Although scientists still debate the exact origins of domestic canines, many think they evolved from a group of wolves that have since died out. Some believe humans adopted wolf pups, favoring the ones that were less aggressive.

Today, about 80 million dogs live in households across the United States. While they're still our loyal companions, they have become our co-workers too. They keep guard, soothe patients through therapy, star on the big screen, and march side-by-side into combat with soldiers.

—Text by Jenna Turner, photo gallery by Kathy Moran

Photograph by Chris Johns

Man's Best Friend: Photos From Around the World

To kick off the Westminster Dog Show, we've called up some favorite photos from our archives.

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