Germonpré, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and colleagues Martina Laznickova-Galetova and Mikhail Sablin, first studied the remains, focusing on the skulls, to see what animals they might be. In the fossil record, there is sometimes controversy over what is a wolf, dog or other canid.
"These skulls show clear signs of domestication," Germonpré said, explaining they are significantly shorter than those of fossil or modern wolves, have shorter snouts, and noticeably wider brain cases and palates than wolves do.
She described them as large, with an estimated body weight of just over 77 pounds. The shoulder height was at least 24 inches.
"The shape of their skull resembles that of a Siberian husky, but they were larger and heavier than the modern husky," she said.
The dogs died when they were between 4 and 8 years old. They had numerous broken teeth during their lifetimes.
Based on what is known of the human culture at the site, the researchers believe these dogs "were useful as beasts of burden for the hauling of meat, bones and tusks from mammoth kill sites and of firewood, and to help with the transport of equipment, limiting the carrying costs of the Předmostí people."