Dog | Wikipedia audio article

The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris when
considered a subspecies of the wolf or Canis familiaris when considered a distinct species)
is a member of the genus Canis (canines), which forms part of the wolf-like canids,
and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister
taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated,
which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first species to be domesticated
and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities,
and physical attributes.Their long association with humans has led dogs to be uniquely attuned
to human behavior and they are able to thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate
for other canid species. Dogs vary widely in shape, size and colors. They perform many roles for humans, such as
hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship
and, more recently, aiding disabled people and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has given
them the sobriquet of “man’s best friend”.==Terminology==
The term dog typically is applied both to the species (or subspecies) as a whole, and
any adult male member of the same. An adult female is a bitch. An adult male capable of reproduction is a
stud. An adult female capable of reproduction is
a brood bitch, or brood mother. Immature males or females (that is, animals
that are incapable of reproduction) are pups or puppies. A group of pups from the same gestation period
is called a litter. The father of a litter is a sire. It is possible for one litter to have multiple
sires. The mother of a litter is a dam. A group of any three or more adults is a pack.==Taxonomy==In 1758, the Swedish botanist and zoologist
Carl Linnaeus published in his Systema Naturae the binomial nomenclature – or the two-word
naming – of species. Canis is the Latin word meaning “dog”, and
under this genus he listed the dog-like carnivores including domestic dogs, wolves, and jackals. He classified the domestic dog as Canis familiaris,
and on the next page he classified the wolf as Canis lupus. Linnaeus considered the dog to be a separate
species from the wolf because of its cauda recurvata – its upturning tail which is not
found in any other canid.In 1999, a study of mitochondrial DNA indicated that the domestic
dog may have originated from multiple grey wolf populations, with the dingo and New Guinea
singing dog “breeds” having developed at a time when human populations were more isolated
from each other. In the third edition of Mammal Species of
the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the
wolf Canis lupus its wild subspecies, and proposed two additional subspecies: “familiaris
Linneaus, 1758 [domestic dog]” and “dingo Meyer, 1793 [domestic dog]”. Wozencraft included hallstromi – the New
Guinea singing dog – as a taxonomic synonym for the dingo. Wozencraft referred to the mDNA study as one
of the guides in forming his decision. The inclusion of familiaris and dingo under
a “domestic dog” clade has been noted by other mammalogists. This classification by Wozencraft is debated
among zoologists.==Origin==The origin of the domestic dog includes the
dog’s evolutionary divergence from the wolf, its domestication, and its development into
dog types and dog breeds. The dog is a member of the genus Canis, which
forms part of the wolf-like canids, and was the first species and the only large carnivore
to have been domesticated. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister
taxa, as modern wolves are not closely related to the population of wolves that was first
domesticated.The genetic divergence between dogs and wolves occurred between 40,000–20,000
years ago, just before or during the Last Glacial Maximum. This timespan represents the upper time-limit
for the commencement of domestication because it is the time of divergence and not the time
of domestication, which occurred later. The domestication of animals commenced over
15,000 years ago, beginning with the grey wolf (Canis lupus) by nomadic hunter-gatherers. The archaeological record and genetic analysis
show the remains of the Bonn–Oberkassel dog buried beside humans 14,200 years ago
to be the first undisputed dog, with disputed remains occurring 36,000 years ago. It was not until 11,000 years ago that people
living in the Near East entered into relationships with wild populations of aurochs, boar, sheep,
and goats.Where the domestication of the dog took place remains debated, with the most
plausible proposals spanning Western Europe, Central Asia and East Asia. This has been made more complicated by the
recent proposal that an initial wolf population split into East and West Eurasian groups. These two groups, before going extinct, were
domesticated independently into two distinct dog populations between 14,000 and 6,400 years
ago. The Western Eurasian dog population was gradually
and partially replaced by East Asian dogs introduced by humans at least 6,400 years
ago. This proposal is also debated.==Biology=====
Anatomy===Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for
millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. Modern dog breeds show more variation in size,
appearance, and behavior than any other domestic animal. Dogs are predators and scavengers, and like
many other predatory mammals, the dog has powerful muscles, fused wrist bones, a cardiovascular
system that supports both sprinting and endurance, and teeth for catching and tearing.====Size and weight====
Dogs are highly variable in height and weight. The smallest known adult dog was a Yorkshire
Terrier, that stood only 6.3 cm (2.5 in) at the shoulder, 9.5 cm (3.7 in) in length along
the head-and-body, and weighed only 113 grams (4.0 oz). The largest known dog was an English Mastiff
which weighed 155.6 kg (343 lb) and was 250 cm (98 in) from the snout to the tail. The tallest dog is a Great Dane that stands
106.7 cm (42.0 in) at the shoulder.====Senses====The dog’s senses include vision, hearing,
sense of smell, sense of taste, touch and sensitivity to the earth’s magnetic field. Another study suggested that dogs can see
the earth’s magnetic field.====Coat====The coats of domestic dogs are of two varieties:
“double” being common with dogs (as well as wolves) originating from colder climates,
made up of a coarse guard hair and a soft down hair, or “single”, with the topcoat only. Breeds may have an occasional “blaze”, stripe,
or “star” of white fur on their chest or underside.Regarding coat appearance or health, the coat can be
maintained or affected by multiple nutrients present in the diet, see Coat (dog) for more
information. Premature graying can occur in dogs from as
early as one year of age. This has been shown to be associated with
impulsive behaviors, anxiety behaviors, fear of noise, and fear of unfamiliar people or
animals.====Tail====There are many different shapes for dog tails:
straight, straight up, sickle, curled, or cork-screw. As with many canids, one of the primary functions
of a dog’s tail is to communicate their emotional state, which can be important in getting along
with others. In some hunting dogs, however, the tail is
traditionally docked to avoid injuries. In some breeds, such as the Braque du Bourbonnais,
puppies can be born with a short tail or no tail at all.====Differences from wolves====Despite their close genetic relationship and
the ability to inter-breed, there are a number of diagnostic features to distinguish the
gray wolves from domestic dogs. Domesticated dogs are clearly distinguishable
from wolves by starch gel electrophoresis of red blood cell acid phosphatase. The tympanic bullae are large, convex and
almost spherical in gray wolves, while the bullae of dogs are smaller, compressed and
slightly crumpled. Compared with equally sized wolves, dogs tend
to have 20% smaller skulls and 30% smaller brains. The teeth of gray wolves are also proportionately
larger than those of dogs. Dogs have a more domed forehead and a distinctive
“stop” between forehead and nose. The temporalis muscle that closes the jaws
is more robust in wolves. Wolves do not have dewclaws on their back
legs, unless there has been admixture with dogs that had them. Most dogs lack a functioning pre-caudal gland
and enter estrus twice yearly, unlike gray wolves which only do so once a year. So-called primitive dogs such as dingoes and
Basenjis retain the yearly estrus cycle.Dogs generally have brown eyes and wolves almost
always have amber or light colored eyes. The skin of domestic dogs tends to be thicker
than that of wolves, with some Inuit tribes favoring the former for use as clothing due
to its greater resistance to wear and tear in harsh weather. The paws of a dog are half the size of those
of a wolf, and their tails tend to curl upwards, another trait not found in wolves. The dog has developed into hundreds of varied
breeds, and shows more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal.===Health===There are many household plants that are poisonous
to dogs (and other mammals) including begonia, Poinsettia and aloe vera.Some breeds of dogs
are prone to certain genetic ailments such as elbow and hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness,
pulmonic stenosis, cleft palate, and trick knees. Two serious medical conditions particularly
affecting dogs are pyometra, affecting unspayed females of all types and ages, and gastric
dilatation volvulus (bloat), which affects the larger breeds or deep-chested dogs. Both of these are acute conditions, and can
kill rapidly. Dogs are also susceptible to parasites such
as fleas, ticks, mites, hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and heartworms (roundworm species
that lives in the heart of dogs). A number of common human foods and household
ingestibles are toxic to dogs, including chocolate solids (theobromine poisoning), onion and
garlic (thiosulphate, sulfoxide or disulfide poisoning), grapes and raisins, macadamia
nuts, xylitol, as well as various plants and other potentially ingested materials. The nicotine in tobacco can also be dangerous. Dogs can be exposed to the substance by scavenging
through garbage bins or ashtrays and eating cigars and cigarettes. Signs can be vomiting of large amounts (e.g.,
from eating cigar butts) or diarrhea. Some other signs are abdominal pain, loss
of coordination, collapse, or death. Dogs are susceptible to theobromine poisoning,
typically from ingestion of chocolate. Theobromine is toxic to dogs because, although
the dog’s metabolism is capable of breaking down the chemical, the process is so slow
that for some dogs even small amounts of chocolate can be fatal, especially dark chocolate. Dogs are also vulnerable to some of the same
health conditions as humans, including diabetes, dental and heart disease, epilepsy, cancer,
hypothyroidism, and arthritis.====Lifespan====In 2013, a study found that mixed breeds live
on average 1.2 years longer than pure breeds, and that increasing body-weight was negatively
correlated with longevity (i.e. the heavier the dog the shorter its lifespan).The typical
lifespan of dogs varies widely among breeds, but for most the median longevity, the age
at which half the dogs in a population have died and half are still alive, ranges from
10 to 13 years. Individual dogs may live well beyond the median
of their breed. The breed with the shortest lifespan (among
breeds for which there is a questionnaire survey with a reasonable sample size) is the
Dogue de Bordeaux, with a median longevity of about 5.2 years, but several breeds, including
miniature bull terriers, bloodhounds, and Irish wolfhounds are nearly as short-lived,
with median longevities of 6 to 7 years.The longest-lived breeds, including toy poodles,
Japanese spitz, Border terriers, and Tibetan spaniels, have median longevities of 14 to
15 years. The median longevity of mixed-breed dogs,
taken as an average of all sizes, is one or more years longer than that of purebred dogs
when all breeds are averaged. The longest-lived dog was “Bluey”, an Australian
Cattle Dog who died in 1939 at 29.5 years of age.===Reproduction===In domestic dogs, sexual maturity happens
around six to twelve months of age for both males and females, although this can be delayed
until up to two years old for some large breeds. This is the time at which female dogs will
have their first estrous cycle. They will experience subsequent estrous cycles
semiannually, during which the body prepares for pregnancy. At the peak of the cycle, females will come
into estrus, being mentally and physically receptive to copulation. Because the ova survive and are capable of
being fertilized for a week after ovulation, it is possible for more than one male to sire
the same litter.Fertilization typically occurs 2–5 days after ovulation; 14–16 days after
ovulation, the embryo attaches to the uterus, and after 7-8 more days the heart beat is
detectable.Dogs bear their litters roughly 58 to 68 days after fertilization, with an
average of 63 days, although the length of gestation can vary. An average litter consists of about six puppies,
though this number may vary widely based on the breed of dog. In general, toy dogs produce from one to four
puppies in each litter, while much larger breeds may average as many as twelve. Some dog breeds have acquired traits through
selective breeding that interfere with reproduction. Male French Bulldogs, for instance, are incapable
of mounting the female. For many dogs of this breed, the female must
be artificially inseminated in order to reproduce.====Neutering====Neutering refers to the sterilization of animals,
usually by removal of the male’s testicles or the female’s ovaries and uterus, in order
to eliminate the ability to procreate and reduce sex drive. Because of the overpopulation of dogs in some
countries, many animal control agencies, such as the American Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), advise that dogs not intended for further breeding should
be neutered, so that they do not have undesired puppies that may later be euthanized.According
to the Humane Society of the United States, 3–4 million dogs and cats are euthanized
each year in the United States and many more are confined to cages in shelters because
there are many more animals than there are homes. Spaying or castrating dogs helps keep overpopulation
down. Local humane societies, SPCAs, and other animal
protection organizations urge people to neuter their pets and to adopt animals from shelters
instead of purchasing them. Neutering reduces problems caused by hypersexuality,
especially in male dogs. Spayed female dogs are less likely to develop
some forms of cancer, affecting mammary glands, ovaries, and other reproductive organs. However, neutering increases the risk of urinary
incontinence in female dogs, and prostate cancer in males, as well as osteosarcoma,
hemangiosarcoma, cruciate ligament rupture, obesity, and diabetes mellitus in either sex.===Inbreeding depression===
A common breeding practice for pet dogs is mating between close relatives (e.g. between
half- and full siblings). Inbreeding depression is considered to be
due largely to the expression of homozygous deleterious recessive mutations. Outcrossing between unrelated individuals,
including dogs of different breeds, results in the beneficial masking of deleterious recessive
mutations in progeny.In a study of seven breeds of dogs (Bernese mountain dog, basset hound,
Cairn terrier, Epagneul Breton, German Shepherd dog, Leonberger, and West Highland white terrier)
it was found that inbreeding decreases litter size and survival. Another analysis of data on 42,855 dachshund
litters found that as the inbreeding coefficient increased, litter size decreased and the percentage
of stillborn puppies increased, thus indicating inbreeding depression. In a study of boxer litters, 22% of puppies
died before reaching 7 weeks of age. Stillbirth was the most frequent cause of
death, followed by infection. Mortality due to infection increased significantly
with increases in inbreeding.==Intelligence, behavior, and communication
Intelligence===Dog intelligence is the ability of the dog
to perceive information and retain it as knowledge for applying to solve problems. Dogs have been shown to learn by inference. A study with Rico showed that he knew the
labels of over 200 different items. He inferred the names of novel items by exclusion
learning and correctly retrieved those novel items immediately and also 4 weeks after the
initial exposure. Dogs have advanced memory skills. A study documented the learning and memory
capabilities of a border collie, “Chaser”, who had learned the names and could associate
by verbal command over 1,000 words. Dogs are able to read and react appropriately
to human body language such as gesturing and pointing, and to understand human voice commands,
although a 2018 study on canine cognitive abilities found that dogs’ capabilities are
not more exceptional than those of other animals, such as horses, chimpanzees or cats.Dogs demonstrate
a theory of mind by engaging in deception. An experimental study showed compelling evidence
that Australian dingos can outperform domestic dogs in non-social problem-solving, indicating
that domestic dogs may have lost much of their original problem-solving abilities once they
joined humans. Another study indicated that after undergoing
training to solve a simple manipulation task, dogs that are faced with an insoluble version
of the same problem look at the human, while socialized wolves do not. Modern domestic dogs use humans to solve their
problems for them.===Behavior===Dog behavior is the internally coordinated
responses (actions or inactions) of the domestic dog (individuals or groups) to internal and/or
external stimuli. As the oldest domesticated species, with estimates
ranging from 9,000–30,000 years BCE, the minds of dogs inevitably have been shaped
by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution,
dogs, more than any other species, have acquired the ability to understand and communicate
with humans, and they are uniquely attuned to human behaviors. Behavioral scientists have uncovered a surprising
set of social-cognitive abilities in the domestic dog. These abilities are not possessed by the dog’s
closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent
mammals such as great apes but rather parallel some of the social-cognitive skills of human
children.Unlike other domestic species which were primarily selected for production-related
traits, dogs were initially selected for their behaviors. In 2016, a study found that there were only
11 fixed genes that showed variation between wolves and dogs. These gene variations were unlikely to have
been the result of natural evolution, and indicate selection on both morphology and
behavior during dog domestication. These genes have been shown to affect the
catecholamine synthesis pathway, with the majority of the genes affecting the fight-or-flight
response (i.e. selection for tameness), and emotional processing. Dogs generally show reduced fear and aggression
compared with wolves. Some of these genes have been associated with
aggression in some dog breeds, indicating their importance in both the initial domestication
and then later in breed formation. Traits of high sociability and lack of fear
in dogs may include genetic modifications related to Williams-Beuren syndrome in humans,
which cause hypersociability at the expense of problem solving ability.===Communication===Dog communication is how dogs convey information
to other dogs, how they understand messages from humans, and how humans translate the
information that dogs are transmitting. Communication behaviors of dogs include eye
gaze, facial expression, vocalization, body posture (including movements of bodies and
limbs) and gustatory communication (scents, pheromones and taste). Humans communicate to dogs by using vocalization,
hand signals and body posture.==Ecology=====
Population===In 2013, an estimate of the global dog population
was 987 million. Although it is said that the “dog is man’s
best friend”, this refers largely to the ~20% of dogs that live in developed countries. In the developing world, dogs are more commonly
feral or communally owned, with pet dogs uncommon. Most of these dogs live their lives as scavengers
and have never been owned by humans, with one study showing their most common response
when approached by strangers is to run away (52%) or respond aggressively (11%). Little is known about these dogs, or the dogs
in developed countries that are feral, stray or are in shelters, because the great majority
of modern research on dog cognition has focused on pet dogs living in human homes.===Competitors and predators===
Although dogs are the most abundant and widely distributed terrestrial carnivores, the potential
of feral and free-ranging dogs to compete with other large carnivores is limited by
their strong association with humans. For example, a review of the studies in the
competitive effects of dogs on sympatric carnivores did not mention any research on competition
between dogs and wolves. Although wolves are known to kill dogs, they
tend to live in pairs or in small packs in areas where they are highly persecuted, giving
them a disadvantage facing large dog groups.Wolves kill dogs wherever they are found together. One study reported that in Wisconsin in 1999
more compensation had been paid for losses due to wolves taking dogs than for wolves
taking livestock. In Wisconsin wolves will often kill hunting
dogs, possibly because the dogs are in the wolf’s territory. A strategy has been reported in Russia where
one wolf lures a dog into heavy brush where another wolf waits in ambush. In some instances, wolves have displayed an
uncharacteristic fearlessness of humans and buildings when attacking dogs, to the extent
that they have to be beaten off or killed. Although the numbers of dogs killed each year
are relatively low, it induces a fear of wolves entering villages and farmyards to take dogs,
and losses of dogs to wolves has led to demands for more liberal wolf hunting regulations.Coyotes
and big cats have also been known to attack dogs. Leopards in particular are known to have a
predilection for dogs, and have been recorded to kill and consume them regardless of their
size. Tigers in Manchuria, Indochina, Indonesia,
and Malaysia are also reported to kill dogs. Striped hyenas are known to kill dogs in Turkmenistan,
India, and the Caucasus.===Diet===Dogs have been described as carnivores or
omnivores. Compared to wolves, dogs have genes involved
in starch digestion that contribute to an increased ability to thrive on a starch-rich
diet. Based on metabolism and nutrition, many consider
the dog to be an omnivore. However, the dog is not simply an omnivore. More like the cat and less like other omnivores,
the dog can only produce bile acid with taurine, and it cannot produce vitamin D, which it
obtains from animal flesh. Also more like the cat, the dog requires arginine
to maintain its nitrogen balance. These nutritional requirements place the dog
part-way between carnivores and omnivores.===Range===
As a domesticated or semi-domesticated animal, the dog is nearly universal among human societies. Notable exceptions once included: Aboriginal Tasmanians, who were separated
from Australia before the arrival of dingos on that continent
The Andamanese, who were isolated when rising sea levels covered the land bridge to Myanmar
The natives of Tierra del Fuego, who instead domesticated the Fuegian dog, a different
canid species Certain Pacific islands whose maritime settlers
did not bring dogs, or where dogs died out after original settlement, notably: the Mariana
Islands, Palau, Marshall Islands, Gilbert Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tonga, Marquesas,
Mangaia in the Cook Islands, Rapa Iti in French Polynesia, Easter Island, Chatham Islands,
and Pitcairn Island (settled by the Bounty mutineers, who killed off their dogs in order
to escape discovery by passing ships).Dogs were introduced to Antarctica as sled dogs,
and some became nearly feral. Dogs became apex predators in Antarctica by
killing prey (largely penguins) and posing a risk of spreading contagious diseases to
seals before dogs were outlawed in Antarctica in accordance with an international agreement.==Breeds==The domestic dog is the first species, and
the only large carnivore, known to have been domesticated. Especially over the past 200 years, dogs have
undergone rapid phenotypic change and were formed into today’s modern dog breeds due
to artificial selection by humans. These breeds can vary in size and weight from
a 0.46 kg (1.0 lb) teacup poodle to a 90 kg (200 lb) giant mastiff. Phenotypic variation can include height measured
to the withers ranging from 15.2 centimetres (6.0 in) in the Chihuahua to 76 cm (30 in)
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. The skull, body, and limb proportions vary
significantly between breeds, with dogs displaying more phenotypic diversity than can be found
within the entire order of carnivores. Some breeds demonstrate outstanding skills
in herding, retrieving, scent detection, and guarding, which demonstrates the functional
and behavioral diversity of dogs. The first dogs were domesticated from shared
ancestors of modern wolves, however the phenotypic changes that coincided with the dog–wolf
genetic divergence are not known.==Roles with humans==Domestic dogs inherited complex behaviors,
such as bite inhibition, from their wolf ancestors, which would have been pack hunters with complex
body language. These sophisticated forms of social cognition
and communication may account for their trainability, playfulness, and ability to fit into human
households and social situations, and these attributes have given dogs a relationship
with humans that has enabled them to become one of the most successful species on the
planet today.The dogs’ value to early human hunter-gatherers led to them quickly becoming
ubiquitous across world cultures. Dogs perform many roles for people, such as
hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship,
and, more recently, aiding handicapped individuals. This influence on human society has given
them the nickname “man’s best friend” in the Western world. In some cultures, however, dogs are also a
source of meat.===Early roles===
Wolves, and their dog descendants, likely derived significant benefits from living in
human camps – more safety, more reliable food, lesser caloric needs, and more chance
to breed. They would have benefited from humans’ upright
gait that gives them larger range over which to see potential predators and prey, as well
as better color vision that, at least by day, gives humans better visual discrimination. Camp dogs would also have benefited from human
tool use, as in bringing down larger prey and controlling fire for a range of purposes.Humans
would also have derived enormous benefit from the dogs associated with their camps. For instance, dogs would have improved sanitation
by cleaning up food scraps. Dogs may have provided warmth, as referred
to in the Australian Aboriginal expression “three dog night” (an exceptionally cold night),
and they would have alerted the camp to the presence of predators or strangers, using
their acute hearing to provide an early warning.It has been suggested that the most significant
benefit would have been the use of dogs’ robust sense of smell to assist with the hunt. The relationship between the presence of a
dog and success in the hunt is often mentioned as a primary reason for the domestication
of the wolf, and a 2004 study of hunter groups with and without a dog gives quantitative
support to the hypothesis that the benefits of cooperative hunting was an important factor
in wolf domestication.The cohabitation of dogs and humans likely improved the chances
of survival for early human groups, and the domestication of dogs may have been one of
the key forces that led to human success.Human emigrants from Siberia that came across the
Bering land bridge into North America likely had dogs in their company. Although one writer even suggests that the
use of sled dogs may have been critical to the success of the waves that entered North
America roughly 12,000 years ago, the earliest archaeological evidence of dog-like canids
in North America dates from about 9,400 years ago. Dogs were an important part of life for the
Athabascan population in North America, and were their only domesticated animal. Dogs as pack animals may have contributed
migration of the Apache and Navajo tribes 1,400 years ago. This use of dogs in these cultures often persisted
after the introduction of the horse to North America.===As pets===It is estimated that three-quarters of the
world’s dog population lives in the developing world as feral, village, or community dogs,
with pet dogs uncommon.”The most widespread form of interspecies bonding occurs between
humans and dogs” and the keeping of dogs as companions, particularly by elites, has a
long history. (As a possible example, at the Natufian culture
site of Ain Mallaha in Israel, dated to 12,000 BC, the remains of an elderly human and a
four-to-five-month-old puppy were found buried together). However, pet dog populations grew significantly
after World War II as suburbanization increased. In the 1950s and 1960s, dogs were kept outside
more often than they tend to be today (using the expression “in the doghouse” to describe
exclusion from the group signifies the distance between the doghouse and the home) and were
still primarily functional, acting as a guard, children’s playmate, or walking companion. From the 1980s, there have been changes in
the role of the pet dog, such as the increased role of dogs in the emotional support of their
human guardians. People and dogs have become increasingly integrated
and implicated in each other’s lives, to the point where pet dogs actively shape the way
a family and home are experienced.There have been two major trends in the changing status
of pet dogs. The first has been the ‘commodification’ of
the dog, shaping it to conform to human expectations of personality and behaviour. The second has been the broadening of the
concept of the family and the home to include dogs-as-dogs within everyday routines and
practices.There are a vast range of commodity forms available to transform a pet dog into
an ideal companion. The list of goods, services and places available
is enormous: from dog perfumes, couture, furniture and housing, to dog groomers, therapists,
trainers and caretakers, dog cafes, spas, parks and beaches, and dog hotels, airlines
and cemeteries. While dog training as an organized activity
can be traced back to the 18th century, in the last decades of the 20th century it became
a high-profile issue as many normal dog behaviors such as barking, jumping up, digging, rolling
in dung, fighting, and urine marking (which dogs do to establish territory through scent),
became increasingly incompatible with the new role of a pet dog. Dog training books, classes and television
programs proliferated as the process of commodifying the pet dog continued.The majority of contemporary
dog owners describe their pet as part of the family, although some ambivalence about the
relationship is evident in the popular reconceptualization of the dog–human family as a pack. A dominance model of dog–human relationships
has been promoted by some dog trainers, such as on the television program Dog Whisperer. However it has been disputed that “trying
to achieve status” is characteristic of dog–human interactions. Pet dogs play an active role in family life;
for example, a study of conversations in dog–human families showed how family members use the
dog as a resource, talking to the dog, or talking through the dog, to mediate their
interactions with each other.Increasingly, human family members are engaging in activities
centered on the perceived needs and interests of the dog, or in which the dog is an integral
partner, such as dog dancing and dog yoga.According to statistics published by the American Pet
Products Manufacturers Association in the National Pet Owner Survey in 2009–2010,
it is estimated there are 77.5 million people with pet dogs in the United States. The same survey shows nearly 40% of American
households own at least one dog, of which 67% own just one dog, 25% two dogs and nearly
9% more than two dogs. There does not seem to be any gender preference
among dogs as pets, as the statistical data reveal an equal number of female and male
dog pets. Yet, although several programs are ongoing
to promote pet adoption, less than a fifth of the owned dogs come from a shelter. The latest study using magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) comparing humans and dogs showed that dogs have the same response to voices
and use the same parts of the brain as humans do. This gives dogs the ability to recognize emotional
human sounds, making them friendly social pets to humans.===Work===
Dogs have lived and worked with humans in many roles. In addition to dogs’ role as companion animals,
dogs have been bred for herding livestock (collies, sheepdogs), hunting (hounds, pointers),
and rodent control (terriers). Other types of working dogs include search
and rescue dogs, detection dogs trained to detect illicit drugs or chemical weapons;
guard dogs; dogs who assist fishermen with the use of nets; and dogs that pull loads. In 1957, the dog Laika became the first animal
to be launched into Earth orbit, aboard the Soviets’ Sputnik 2; she died during the flight.Various
kinds of service dogs and assistance dogs, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility
assistance dogs, and psychiatric service dogs provide assistance to individuals with disabilities. Some dogs owned by epileptics have been shown
to alert their handler when the handler shows signs of an impending seizure, sometimes well
in advance of onset, allowing the guardian to seek safety, medication, or medical care.===Sports and shows===People often enter their dogs in competitions
such as breed-conformation shows or sports, including racing, sledding and agility competitions. In conformation shows, also referred to as
breed shows, a judge familiar with the specific dog breed evaluates individual purebred dogs
for conformity with their established breed type as described in the breed standard. As the breed standard only deals with the
externally observable qualities of the dog (such as appearance, movement, and temperament),
separately tested qualities (such as ability or health) are not part of the judging in
conformation shows.===As food===Dog meat is consumed in some East Asian countries,
including Korea, China and Vietnam, a practice that dates back to antiquity. It is estimated that 13–16 million dogs
are killed and consumed in Asia every year. In China, debates have ensued over banning
the consumption of dog meat. Following the Sui and Tang dynasties of the
first millennium, however, people living on the plains of northern China began to eschew
eating dogs. This is likely due to the spread of Buddhism
and Islam, two religions that forbade the consumption of certain animals, including
dogs. As members of the upper classes shunned dog
meat, it gradually became a social taboo to eat it, despite the fact that the general
population continued to consume it for centuries afterward. Other cultures, such as Polynesia and pre-Columbian
Mexico, also consumed dog meat in their history. However, Western, South Asian, African, and
Middle Eastern cultures, in general, regard consumption of dog meat as taboo. In some places, however, such as in rural
areas of Poland, dog fat is believed to have medicinal properties – being good for the
lungs for instance. Dog meat is also consumed in some parts of
Switzerland. Proponents of eating dog meat have argued
that placing a distinction between livestock and dogs is western hypocrisy, and that there
is no difference with eating the meat of different animals.In Korea, the primary dog breed raised
for meat, the nureongi (누렁이), differs from those breeds raised for pets that Koreans
may keep in their homes.The most popular Korean dog dish is gaejang-guk (also called bosintang),
a spicy stew meant to balance the body’s heat during the summer months. Followers of the custom claim this is done
to ensure good health by balancing one’s gi, or vital energy of the body. A 19th century version of gaejang-guk explains
that the dish is prepared by boiling dog meat with scallions and chili powder. Variations of the dish contain chicken and
bamboo shoots. While the dishes are still popular in Korea
with a segment of the population, dog is not as widely consumed as beef, chicken, and pork.===Health risks to humans===In 2005, the WHO reported that 55,000 people
died in Asia and Africa from rabies, a disease for which dogs are the most important vector.Citing
a 2008 study, the U.S. Center for Disease Control estimated in 2015 that 4.5 million
people in the USA are bitten by dogs each year. A 2015 study estimated that 1.8% of the U.S.
population is bitten each year. In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17
fatalities per year, while since 2007 this has increased to an average of 31. 77% of dog bites are from the pet of family
or friends, and 50% of attacks occur on the property of the dog’s legal owner.A Colorado
study found bites in children were less severe than bites in adults. The incidence of dog bites in the US is 12.9
per 10,000 inhabitants, but for boys aged 5 to 9, the incidence rate is 60.7 per 10,000. Moreover, children have a much higher chance
to be bitten in the face or neck. Sharp claws with powerful muscles behind them
can lacerate flesh in a scratch that can lead to serious infections.In the UK between 2003
and 2004, there were 5,868 dog attacks on humans, resulting in 5,770 working days lost
in sick leave.In the United States, cats and dogs are a factor in more than 86,000 falls
each year. It has been estimated around 2% of dog-related
injuries treated in UK hospitals are domestic accidents. The same study found that while dog involvement
in road traffic accidents was difficult to quantify, dog-associated road accidents involving
injury more commonly involved two-wheeled vehicles.Toxocara canis (dog roundworm) eggs
in dog feces can cause toxocariasis. In the United States, about 10,000 cases of
Toxocara infection are reported in humans each year, and almost 14% of the U.S. population
is infected. In Great Britain, 24% of soil samples taken
from public parks contained T. canis eggs. Untreated toxocariasis can cause retinal damage
and decreased vision. Dog feces can also contain hookworms that
cause cutaneous larva migrans in humans.===Health benefits for humans===The scientific evidence is mixed as to whether
companionship of a dog can enhance human physical health and psychological wellbeing. Studies suggesting that there are benefits
to physical health and psychological wellbeing have been criticised for being poorly controlled,
and finding that “the health of elderly people is related to their health habits and social
supports but not to their ownership of, or attachment to, a companion animal.” Earlier studies have shown that people who
keep pet dogs or cats exhibit better mental and physical health than those who do not,
making fewer visits to the doctor and being less likely to be on medication than non-guardians.A
2005 paper states “recent research has failed to support earlier findings that pet ownership
is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a reduced use of general practitioner
services, or any psychological or physical benefits on health for community dwelling
older people. Research has, however, pointed to significantly
less absenteeism from school through sickness among children who live with pets.” In one study, new guardians reported a highly
significant reduction in minor health problems during the first month following pet acquisition,
and this effect was sustained in those with dogs through to the end of the study.In addition,
people with pet dogs took considerably more physical exercise than those with cats and
those without pets. The results provide evidence that keeping
pets may have positive effects on human health and behaviour, and that for guardians of dogs
these effects are relatively long-term. Pet guardianship has also been associated
with increased coronary artery disease survival, with human guardians being significantly less
likely to die within one year of an acute myocardial infarction than those who did not
own dogs.The health benefits of dogs can result from contact with dogs in general, and not
solely from having dogs as pets. For example, when in the presence of a pet
dog, people show reductions in cardiovascular, behavioral, and psychological indicators of
anxiety. Other health benefits are gained from exposure
to immune-stimulating microorganisms, which, according to the hygiene hypothesis, can protect
against allergies and autoimmune diseases. The benefits of contact with a dog also include
social support, as dogs are able to not only provide companionship and social support themselves,
but also to act as facilitators of social interactions between humans. One study indicated that wheelchair users
experience more positive social interactions with strangers when they are accompanied by
a dog than when they are not. In 2015, a study found that pet owners were
significantly more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood than non-pet owners.The
practice of using dogs and other animals as a part of therapy dates back to the late 18th
century, when animals were introduced into mental institutions to help socialize patients
with mental disorders. Animal-assisted intervention research has
shown that animal-assisted therapy with a dog can increase social behaviors, such as
smiling and laughing, among people with Alzheimer’s disease. One study demonstrated that children with
ADHD and conduct disorders who participated in an education program with dogs and other
animals showed increased attendance, increased knowledge and skill objectives, and decreased
antisocial and violent behavior compared with those who were not in an animal-assisted program.===Shelters===Every year, between 6 and 8 million dogs and
cats enter US animal shelters. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
estimates that approximately 3 to 4 million of those dogs and cats are euthanized yearly
in the United States. However, the percentage of dogs in US animal
shelters that are eventually adopted and removed from the shelters by their new legal owners
has increased since the mid-1990s from around 25% to a 2012 average of 40% among reporting
shelters (with many shelters reporting 60–75%).==Cultural depictions==In China, Korea, and Japan, dogs are viewed
as kind protectors.===Mythology and religion===
In ancient Mesopotamia, from the Old Babylonian period until the Neo-Babylonian, dogs were
the symbol of Ninisina, the goddess of healing and medicine, and her worshippers frequently
dedicated small models of seated dogs to her. In the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods,
dogs were used as emblems of magical protection.In mythology, dogs often serve as pets or as
watchdogs. Stories of dogs guarding the gates of the
underworld recur throughout Indo-European mythologies and may originate from Proto-Indo-European
religion. In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed
watchdog who guards the gates of Hades. In Norse mythology, a bloody, four-eyed dog
called Garmr guards Helheim. In Persian mythology, two four-eyed dogs guard
the Chinvat Bridge. In Welsh mythology, Annwn is guarded by Cŵn
Annwn. In Hindu mythology, Yama, the god of death,
owns two watch dogs who have four eyes. They are said to watch over the gates of Naraka. The hunter god Muthappan from North Malabar
region of Kerala has a hunting dog as his mount. Dogs are found in and out of the Muthappan
Temple and offerings at the shrine take the form of bronze dog figurines. In Philippine mythology, Kimat who is the
pet of Tadaklan, god of thunder, is responsible for lightning. The role of the dog in Chinese mythology includes
a position as one of the twelve animals which cyclically represent years (the zodiacal dog). Three of the 88 constellations in western
astronomy also represent dogs: Canis Major (the Great Dog, whose brightest star, Sirius,
is also called the Dog Star), Canis Minor (the Little Dog), and Canes Venatici (the
Hunting Dogs). In Christianity, dogs represent faithfulness. Within the Roman Catholic denomination specifically,
the iconography of Saint Dominic includes a dog, after the hallow’s mother dreamt of
a dog springing from her womb and becoming pregnant shortly thereafter. As such, the Dominican Order (Ecclesiastical
Latin: Dominicanus) means “dogs of the Lord” or “hounds of the Lord” (Ecclesiastical Latin:
domini canis). In Christian folklore, a church grim often
takes the form of a black dog to guard Christian churches and their churchyards from sacrilege.Jewish
law does not prohibit keeping dogs and other pets. Jewish law requires Jews to feed dogs (and
other animals that they own) before themselves, and make arrangements for feeding them before
obtaining them.The view on dogs in Islam is mixed, with some schools of thought viewing
it as unclean, although Khaled Abou El Fadl states that this view is based on “pre-Islamic
Arab mythology” and “a tradition to be falsely attributed to the Prophet”. Therefore, Sunni Malaki and Hanafi jurists
permit the trade of and keeping of dogs as pets.===Literature===
In Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey, when the disguised Odysseus returns home after 20 years
he is recognized only by his faithful dog, Argos, who has been waiting for his return.===Art===Cultural depictions of dogs in art extend
back thousands of years to when dogs were portrayed on the walls of caves. Representations of dogs became more elaborate
as individual breeds evolved and the relationships between human and canine developed. Hunting scenes were popular in the Middle
Ages and the Renaissance. Dogs were depicted to symbolize guidance,
protection, loyalty, fidelity, faithfulness, watchfulness, and love.===Education and appreciation===
The American Kennel Club reopened a museum called “Museum of the Dog” in Manhattan after
moving the attraction from outside of St. Louis. The museum contains ancient artifacts, fine
art, and educational opportunities for visitors.==See also=====
Lists===Lists of dogs
List of fictional dogs List of individual dogs

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