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.[131] 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.[26]
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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A common breeding practice for pet dogs is mating between close relatives (e.g. between half- and full siblings).[81] Inbreeding depression is considered to be due largely to the expression of homozygous deleterious recessive mutations.[82] Outcrossing between unrelated individuals, including dogs of different breeds, results in the beneficial masking of deleterious recessive mutations in progeny.[83]
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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.[114] Tigers in Manchuria, Indochina, Indonesia, and Malaysia are also reported to kill dogs.[115] Striped hyenas are known to kill dogs in Turkmenistan, India, and the Caucasus.[116]
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.[41] The tympanic bullae are large, convex and almost spherical in gray wolves, while the bullae of dogs are smaller, compressed and slightly crumpled.[42] Compared with equally sized wolves, dogs tend to have 20% smaller skulls and 30% smaller brains.[43]:35 The teeth of gray wolves are also proportionately larger than those of dogs.[44] Dogs have a more domed forehead and a distinctive "stop" between forehead and nose.[45] The temporalis muscle that closes the jaws is more robust in wolves.[5]:p158 Wolves do not have dewclaws on their back legs, unless there has been admixture with dogs that had them.[46] Most dogs lack a functioning pre-caudal gland and enter estrus twice yearly, unlike gray wolves which only do so once a year.[47] So-called primitive dogs such as dingoes and Basenjis retain the yearly estrus cycle.[48]
Pets with special needs: Our salon safety protocol is maintained to the highest safety standards. Express service is available for pets who prefer to be hand dried only. For pets with flatter faces (also known as brachycephalic), your stylist will recommend this option as this will greatly decrease the amount of time your pet will spend in the grooming salon, and may be a better option for the health of certain breeds. Please note that we cannot accept wolf hybrids at this time, due to vaccination limitations.
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