The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris when considered a subspecies of the wolf or Canis familiaris when considered a distinct species)[5] is a member of the genus Canis (canines), which forms part of the wolf-like canids,[6] and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore.[7][8][9][10][11] The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa[12][13][14] as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated,[13][14] which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct.[15] The dog was the first species to be domesticated[14][16] and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.[17]

Unlike other domestic species which were primarily selected for production-related traits, dogs were initially selected for their behaviors.[96][97] 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[97][98] (i.e. selection for tameness), and emotional processing.[97] Dogs generally show reduced fear and aggression compared with wolves.[97][99] 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.[97] 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.[100][101][102]


In mythology, dogs often serve as pets or as watchdogs.[208] Stories of dogs guarding the gates of the underworld recur throughout Indo-European mythologies[210][211] and may originate from Proto-Indo-European religion.[210][211] In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed watchdog who guards the gates of Hades.[208] In Norse mythology, a bloody, four-eyed dog called Garmr guards Helheim.[208] In Persian mythology, two four-eyed dogs guard the Chinvat Bridge.[208] In Welsh mythology, Annwn is guarded by Cŵn Annwn.[208] 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.[212]

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]
Do you have a dog that you get groomed regularly? If you do, you’ve probably wondered how much — or even if — you’re supposed to tip your dog groomer. Treat your dog groomer as you would your own hair stylist. A 15 percent to 20 percent tip is an appropriate amount to show your appreciation for a dog grooming job well done. If your dog didn’t get clean or their nails didn’t get properly clipped, then you certainly don’t have to tip. But if you’re satisfied with the service, consider the tip part of the standard dog grooming price, and just plan it into your dog care budget so you’ll have a happy groomer and a well-groomed dog. Here are a few examples of when you should tip extra:
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The cost to trim a dog’s nails can vary based on whether the dog is at a doggy day care and has the service as an add-on, whether you bring your dog to a groomer’s business, or whether you have a mobile groomer provide nail trimming at your home. Nail trimming costs less than nail grinding, which usually is done with a Dremel or similar tool. Nail trimming should be a regular part of of your dog’s care, as overgrown nails can be painful and cause problems.
Decide if you need to clip your dog's coat. Many breeds have short hair and don't require regular clipping. However, if you have a shaggier breed of dog, he may require regular clipping as part of his health routine. Breeds that need regular coat trims include cocker spaniel, sheepdog, poodle, collie, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and chow chow, among others.[7]
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]
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]
The genetic divergence between dogs and wolves occurred between 40,000–20,000 years ago, just before or during the Last Glacial Maximum.[27][2] 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.[27][28] The domestication of animals commenced over 15,000 years ago, beginning with the grey wolf (Canis lupus) by nomadic hunter-gatherers.[27] 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.[2] 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.[27]

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.[14][26] 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.[14]


Long fur on the paws acts as a trap for grass seeds, grit, or even ice, so regular trimming is advisable. Use a pair of curved scissors with rounded tips. Work on one toe at a time and twirl the fur growing between two toes between your finger and thumb, and then snip the hair off at the base. Be careful never to pull on the fur, which elevates the skin and makes cutting it more likely. If you cannot see where the skin ends and the fur starts, then slide a comb through the fur at skin level, and using the scissors cut on the safe side of the comb. Repeat for each toe on each paw.
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]
As humans became more sophisticated, so did their dogs. Eventually, there emerged specific breeds of dogs, custom-bred to suit the breeders’ local needs and circumstances. The Greyhound, for instance, was the foundation type for the immense Irish Wolfhound and the dainty Italian Greyhound. All three have a distinct family resemblance, but you’d never mistake one for another.
Certain Pacific islands whose maritime settlers did not bring dogs, or where dogs died out after original settlement, notably: the Mariana Islands,[123] Palau,[124] Marshall Islands,[125] Gilbert Islands,[125] New Caledonia,[126] Vanuatu,[126][127] Tonga,[127] Marquesas,[127] Mangaia in the Cook Islands, Rapa Iti in French Polynesia, Easter Island,[127] Chatham Islands,[128] and Pitcairn Island (settled by the Bounty mutineers, who killed off their dogs in order to escape discovery by passing ships[129]).

^ vonHoldt, Bridgett M.; Shuldiner, Emily; Koch, Ilana Janowitz; Kartzinel, Rebecca Y.; Hogan, Andrew; Brubaker, Lauren; Wanser, Shelby; Stahler, Daniel; Wynne, Clive D.L.; Ostrander, Elaine A.; Sinsheimer, Janet S.; Udell, Monique A.R. (1 July 2017). "Structural variants in genes associated with human Williams-Beuren syndrome underlie stereotypical hypersociability in domestic dogs". Science Advances. 3 (7): e1700398. Bibcode:2017SciA....3E0398V. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700398. PMC 5517105. PMID 28776031.
^ Jump up to: a b Freedman, Adam H.; Gronau, Ilan; Schweizer, Rena M.; Ortega-Del Vecchyo, Diego; Han, Eunjung; Silva, Pedro M.; Galaverni, Marco; Fan, Zhenxin; Marx, Peter; Lorente-Galdos, Belen; Beale, Holly; Ramirez, Oscar; Hormozdiari, Farhad; Alkan, Can; Vilà, Carles; Squire, Kevin; Geffen, Eli; Kusak, Josip; Boyko, Adam R.; Parker, Heidi G.; Lee, Clarence; Tadigotla, Vasisht; Siepel, Adam; Bustamante, Carlos D.; Harkins, Timothy T.; Nelson, Stanley F.; Ostrander, Elaine A.; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; Wayne, Robert K.; Novembre, John (16 January 2014). "Genome Sequencing Highlights Genes Under Selection and the Dynamic Early History of Dogs". PLOS Genetics. 10 (1): e1004016. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004016. PMC 3894170. PMID 24453982.

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]

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.
Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.[17] Modern dog breeds show more variation in size, appearance, and behavior than any other domestic animal.[17] 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.
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.[152] 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.
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.
A dog groomer is a service professional who provides dog grooming and basic hygiene care for your dog. Dog groomers are typically animal lovers who are competent and comfortable working with a wide range of dog breeds and temperaments. Dog groomers are knowledgeable about the care needs for different kinds of dog coats. A poodle will have different haircut needs than a shih tzu, for example, so it pays to have a trained pro provide the proper cut. Good dog groomers know how to safely clean your dog’s teeth, bathe your dog, and cut their nails without going too short. They understand how to trim the hair from around your dog’s face, express anal glands, and clean your dog’s ears. Many people who choose dog grooming as a profession also pursue other dog services such as attending veterinary school, running a doggy day care center, working as a professional dog walker, and more.
Humans would also have derived enormous benefit from the dogs associated with their camps.[136] For instance, dogs would have improved sanitation by cleaning up food scraps.[136] 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.[136]
Dog grooming also includes hygiene services such as toothbrushing and ear cleaning. Clean teeth are important to the health of your dog, and the pros have the patience and proper technique to get it done. Regular dog grooming can stave off tear stains, those reddish stains below your dog’s eyes. Anal gland expression is something not many people want to do on their own, even if they love their dog. A dog groomer can safely and efficiently release any blocked anal gland fluid. Other dog grooming services include nail trimming and clipping. Nationally, dog grooming prices range from $60 to $80. Most dog groomers offer discounts to customers who purchase monthly packages or bundle multiple grooming services at one time.
In domestic dogs, sexual maturity happens around six to twelve months of age for both males and females,[17][68] 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.[17] 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.[17]

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.[84] 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.[85] In a study of boxer litters, 22% of puppies died before reaching 7 weeks of age.[86] Stillbirth was the most frequent cause of death, followed by infection. Mortality due to infection increased significantly with increases in inbreeding.[86]
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.[219]
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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).


The longest-lived breeds, including toy poodles, Japanese spitz, Border terriers, and Tibetan spaniels, have median longevities of 14 to 15 years.[64] 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.[62][63][64][65] The longest-lived dog was "Bluey", an Australian Cattle Dog who died in 1939 at 29.5 years of age.[66][67]
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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.
The price of dog grooming starts around $40 for a full grooming service for a small dog, and around $75 for a large dog. If you have more than one, prices can be significantly lower for the second and third dog. For mobile grooming, where groomers come to you, a full service of ears, nails, anal glands, bath, blow dry, and scissor finish is about $75 for average size dogs.
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