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This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.
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.[7] 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.[108][109] 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.[108][110]
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.[38] In some breeds, such as the Braque du Bourbonnais, puppies can be born with a short tail or no tail at all.[39]

In 2013, an estimate of the global dog population was 987 million.[104] Although it is said that the "dog is man's best friend",[105] 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.[50] 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%).[106] 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.[107]
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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).
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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.[103]:xii 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.
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.
Dogs generally have brown eyes and wolves almost always have amber or light colored eyes.[49] 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.[50] 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.[51] The dog has developed into hundreds of varied breeds, and shows more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal.[52]
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.[38] In some breeds, such as the Braque du Bourbonnais, puppies can be born with a short tail or no tail at all.[39]
African village dogs Bandogs Bichons Bulldogs Crossbreed dogs Curs Dogos Feists Fighting dogs Pit bulls Guard dogs Gun dogs Pointers Retrievers Setters Water dogs Hairless dogs Hounds Scenthounds Sighthounds Laika Lap dogs Mastiffs Mongrels Mountain dogs Molossers Meat dogs Pastoral dogs Herding dogs Livestock guardian dogs Pinschers Purebred dogs Sled dogs Schnauzers Spaniels Spitz Street dogs Terriers Toy dogs Turnspit dogs Wolfdogs

Clear the dog's eyes. White-haired breeds or those with large eyes that water a lot (Pekingese, Pugs, Pomeranians, etc.) may need more maintenance in this area than others. Depending on your particular dog, this step may be a simple matter of wiping or pulling eye debris away from the corners of the eyes. Long-haired or white-haired dogs may need special attention to make sure that all gunk is out of the coat, as they may get tear stains. You can buy products made for removing "tear stains" from a white coat at a pet supply store.
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