Related topics: plos one

Gene mutation that makes dogs small existed in ancient wolves

Popular belief has been that small dogs, such as Pomeranians and Chihuahuas, exist because once dogs were domesticated, humans wanted small, cute companions. But in the journal Current Biology on January 27, researchers at ...

Overweight dogs respond well to high-protein, high-fiber diet

A study of overweight dogs fed a reduced calorie, high-protein, high-fiber diet for 24 weeks found that the dogs' body composition and inflammatory markers changed over time in ways that parallel the positive changes seen ...

Yes, your dog can understand what you're saying—to a point

Humans are unique in their ability to develop sophisticated language abilities. Language allows us to communicate with each other and live in complex societies. It is key to our advanced cognitive abilities and technological ...

Dog brains can distinguish between languages

Dog brains can detect speech and show different activity patterns to familiar and unfamiliar languages, according to a new brain imaging study by researchers from the Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary). ...

French bulldogs have higher risk of 20 common health disorders

French Bulldogs have significantly higher odds of being diagnosed with 20 common disorders compared to other dog breeds, reports a study published in the journal Canine Medicine and Genetics. To reduce the risks of breathing ...

Christmas can be hazardous for pets: What to look out for

Christmas is a wonderful time to relax with family and friends, both two and four legged. But it can be a scary and dangerous time for pets. Food, presents, decorations and even visitors to our homes can all become hazards. ...

Most dog breeds highly inbred

Dog breeds are often recognized for distinctive traits—the short legs of a dachshund, wrinkled face of a pug, spotted coat of a Dalmatian. Unfortunately, the genetics that give various breeds their particular attributes ...

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Dog

The dog (Canis lupus familiaris, pronounced /ˈkeɪ.nis ˈluːpəs fʌˈmɪliɛəris/) is a domesticated subspecies of the Gray Wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The domestic dog has been one of the most widely kept working and companion animals in human history. Amongst canine enthusiasts, the word "dog" may also mean the male of a canine species, as opposed to the word "bitch."

The dog quickly became ubiquitous across culture in all parts of the world, and was extremely valuable to early human settlements. For instance, it is believed that the successful emigration across the Bering Strait might not have been possible without sled dogs. Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, protection, and, more recently, assisting handicapped individuals. Currently, there are estimated to be 400 million dogs in the world.

Over the 15,000 year span that the dog had been domesticated, it diverged into only a handful of landraces, groups of similar animals whose morphology and behavior have been shaped by environmental factors and functional roles. As the modern understanding of genetics developed, humans began to intentionally breed dogs for a wide range of specific traits. Through this process, the dog has developed into hundreds of varied breeds, and shows more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal. For example, height measured to the withers ranges from a few inches in the Chihuahua to a few feet in the Irish Wolfhound; color varies from white through grays (usually called "blue'") to black, and browns from light (tan) to dark ("red" or "chocolate") in a wide variation of patterns; coats can be short or long, coarse-haired to wool-like, straight, curly, or smooth. It is common for most breeds to shed this coat, but non-shedding breeds are also popular.

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