The comfort of having a dog as a pet and companion for man started over
more than ten thousand years ago. The earliest dog fossils, two
crania from Russia and a mandible from Germany, date from
13,000 to 17,000 years ago Their presence, with their unconditional
love, has allowed humans to feel a sense of security. Protecting our
homes and families dogs work with us and share our lives more
completely than any other animal.
Dogs have played a role of importance since man put markings on a wall.
In modern times we see dogs in story and song, as well as at our side
including service to the blind, and at our feet by the fireside. As we
acknowledge the significance of dogs in human life, we realize our role
has evolved to be their protector as well as our own. Our attention to
the aspects of the life of dogs is responsible for the higher
development of man’s social connection . This awareness has encouraged
enacting laws to create greater harmony between dogs and humans.
Relatives of Our Canines:
Coyotes live in North America, eat small animals, and hunt large
animals in packs. This highly adaptable animal is the only predator
that has increased its’ range since early man arrived in North America
living in every state.
The Dingo lives in Australia and is a domesticated animal. The Dingo
remains more close to its’ wild predecessor having a deep-chested
body made for long distance running. The larger head size pronounced
canine teeth further distinguish it from the domesticated dog.
The Fox has 21 species throughout the world. The fox hunts alone verses
packs and lives in small groups. The fox is one of the most distant
relatives of the dog.
The Jackal can be found in Africa, the Balkans, and Burma. The four
species use submissive to aggressive postures to communicate their
hierarchy in the pack. Similar to domestic dogs this social behavior
is common in both. The jackal uses hisses and yips to communicate to
each other and are both predator and scavenger.
The wild dog is an endangered species. This pack animal lives in
groups and is a communal hunter. The wild dog is found in Africa and
The gray wolf is a large dog-like animal found in North America. There
are many sub-species of wolves commonly found across Mexico, the
Arctic, and in Asia. Some areas of the United States support
reintroduction programs of the red wolf to avoid extinction.
The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic subspecies of the
wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order
Carnivora. The species was originally classified as Canis familiaris
by Linnaeus in 1758. In 1993, dogs were reclassified as a
subspecies of the gray wolf, Canis lupus, by the Smithsonian
Institution and the American Society of Mammalogists. “Dog” is
sometimes used to refer collectively to any mammal belonging to the
family Canidae , such as wolves, foxes, and coyotes. Some members of
the family have “dog” in their common names, such as the Racoon dog and
the African Wild Dog. A few animals have “dog” in their common names
but are not canids, such as the prairie dog. The term encompasses both
feral and pet varieties and is also sometimes used to describe wild
canids of other subspecies or species. The dog has developed into
hundreds of varied breeds. 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, and, coats can be very short to very long, from
coarse hair to wool-like, straight or curly, or smooth.
The English word dog might derive from the Old English docga, a
“powerful breed of canine”. The English word hound is a cognate
of German Hund, Dutch hond, common Scandinavian hund, Icelandic
hunrurwhich, though referring to a specific breed in English, means
“dog” in general in the other Germanic languages. Hound itself derives
from the Proto-Indo-European *kwon-, which is the direct root of
the Greek kuwv(kuon) and the indirect root of the Latin canis
through the variant form *kani-.
In breeding circles, a male canine is referred to as a dog, while a
female canine is called a bitch. The father of a litter is called the
sire, and the mother of a litter is called the dam. Offspring are
generally called pups or puppies until they are about a year old. A
group of offspring is a litter. The process of birth is whelping. Many
terms are used for dogs that are not purebred.
Based on DNA evidence, the wolf ancestors of modern dogs diverged from
other wolves about 100,000 years ago, and dogs were domesticated from
those wolf ancestors about 15,000 years ago. This date would make dogs
the first species to be domesticated by humans.Evidence shows that dogs
were first domesticated in East Asia, possibly China, and as people
migrated to North America they took dogs with them from Asia.As they
migrated around the planet a variety of dog forms migrated with them.
The agricultural revolution and subsequent urban revolution led to an
increase in the dog population and a demand for specialization. This
offered a great opportunity for breeders of all kind, from workig dogs
to show dogs, to pets.
Infectious diseases commonly associated with dogs:
Inherited diseases of dogs:
Elbow or hip dysplasia
Medial patellar luxation
Canines can get just about anything a human can get
(excluding many infections which are species specific) like
hypothyroidism, cancer, dental disease, heart disease, etc.
Two serious medical conditions affecting dogs are pyometra, affecting
unspayed females of all types and ages, and bloat, which affects the
larger breeds or deep chested dogs. Both of these are acute conditions,
and can kill rapidly; owners of dogs which may be at risk should learn
about such conditions as part of good animal care.
Common external parasites are various species of:
Internal parasites include:
CVBD (Canine Vector-Borne Diseases).CVBD – is a veterinarian term for diseases transferred to dogs by various parasitic vectors:
Anaplasma (eg., Anaplasma phagocytophilum)
Dirofilaria (i.e., heartworm)
Some breeds of dogs are also prone to certain genetic ailments, such as
hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, cleft palate, blindness, or deafness.
Dogs are also susceptible to the same ailments that humans are,
including diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, and arthritis. Gastric torsion
and bloat is a dangerous problem in some large-chested breeds.
Some foods commonly enjoyed by humans are dangerous to dogs, including
chocolate (Theobromine poisoning), onions, grapes and raisins, some
types of gum, certain sweeteners and Macadamia nuts
There are numerous dog breeds, with over 800 being recognized by
various kennel clubs worldwide
Dogs are predators and scavengers, possessing sharp teeth and strong
jaws for attacking, holding, and tearing their food.
Like most mammals, dogs are dichromats and have color vision equivalent
to red-green color blindness in humans
Dogs detect sounds as low as the 16 to 20 Hz frequency range (compared
to 20 to 70 Hz for humans) and above 45 kHz (compared to 13 to 20
kHz for humans), and in addition have a degree of ear mobility that
helps them to rapidly pinpoint the exact location of a sound
Dogs have nearly 220 million smell-sensitive cells over an area about
the size of a pocket handkerchief (compared to 5 million over an area
the size of a postage stamp for humans).
Domestic dogs often display the remnants of counter-shading, a common
natural camouflage pattern
Dogs can generate large amounts of energy for a short period of time. A
dog’s heart and lungs are oversized relative to its body and its normal
Dogs are highly social animals. This can account for their
trainability, playfulness, and ability to fit into human households and
In domestic dogs, sexual maturity (puberty) begins to happen around age
6 to 12 months for both males and females, although this can be delayed
until up to two years old for some large breeds.
Most female dogs have their first estrous cycle between 6 and 12
months, although some larger breeds delay until as late as 2 years.
Females experience estrous cycles biannually
Dogs bear their litters roughly 56 to 72 days after fertilization,
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.
Dogs differ from wolves and most other large canid species by the fact
that they do not regurgitate food for their young.
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
The typical lifespan of dogs varies widely among breeds. Based on
questionnaire surveys of owners in the UK, Denmark, and the USA/Canada,
the median longevity of most dog breeds is between 10 and 13 years.
Northern breeds: Are distinct from other groups in that their
similarities are geographic. They originate on different continents, but
they were all born of the north, evolved and bred for the harsh cold
climate of the Artic or near Artic.
Herding dogs: These dogs need sheep to herd or cattle to drive.
They are very active and must have a job to do or they will find one on
Gun Dogs: All of these dogs need lots of exercise. Many were
bred to work far from the hunter and may be independent minded and
prone to roaming.
Guardian Dogs:The guardian dogs are those dogs that were bred to
watch over persons, property, and/or livestock.
Scenthounds: Most scenthounds are fearless hunters that can be
very active and one-minded when it comes to tracking. Once they catch a
scent they will pursue it with no bounds, even in the face of danger or
Sighthounds and Pariahs: They were bred to hunt by sight and to
course prey. All the sighthounds look quite similar, elagant with long
narrow bodies and deep chest. The Pariah dogs are primitive dogs that
live at the peripheries of civilization.
Terriers:There are two distinct types of terriers, the
traditional terriers and the bull and terrier types. The name terrier
comes from the latin word Terra, for earth, and stems from their
traditional work of entering tunnels or dens to chase after small prey
Companion Dogs: All breeds were developed for a job, such as
hunting, guarding , herding and working in cold weather. Many companion
dogs are miniature versions of larger dogs.