Related topics: dogs

Frontline heroes hailed in the war against devil cancers

Residents of Tasmania's D'Entrecasteaux Channel Peninsula, Kingborough and Huon Valley communities are being hailed as the frontline heroes in the war against two deadly transmissible cancers affecting Tasmanian devils—Devil ...

Joint hypermobility related to anxiety, also in animals

The relation between collagen laxity and anxiety in humans is widely known, but this relation has never been observed before in other species. A team of researchers led by professors Jaume Fatjó and Antoni Bulbena from the ...

Wolves more prosocial than pack dogs in touchscreen experiment

In a touchscreen-based task that allowed individual animals to provide food to others, wolves behaved more prosocially toward their fellow pack members than did pack dogs. Rachel Dale of the Wolf Science Center in Vienna, ...

Why abusive husbands kick dogs but angry neighbors poison them

Volunteering with animal rescue and shelter organizations in Detroit brought me face to face with many manifestations of animal cruelty: dogs left outside and frozen in their yards; dogs with chain link collars embedded in ...

DNA gives insight into prehistoric bonds between dogs and humans

Domestic dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but the animals we now regard as man's best friend may have originated from just two populations of wolves, research suggests. The findings, along with studies on other domesticated ...

Dingoes should remain a distinct species in Australia

Since the arrival of British settlers over 230 years ago, most Australians have assumed dingoes are a breed of wild dog. But 20 leading researchers have confirmed in a new study that the dingo is actually a unique, Australian ...

Foxes were domesticated by humans in the Bronze Age

In the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, between the third and second millennium BC, a widespread funeral practice consisted in burying humans with animals. Scientists have discovered that both foxes and dogs were domesticated, ...

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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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