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]

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.[74]
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 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",[21] 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.[3] 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.[22]
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Dogs bear their litters roughly 58 to 68 days after fertilization,[17][71] with an average of 63 days, although the length of gestation can vary. An average litter consists of about six puppies,[72] 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.

^ 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.
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.[174]
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]
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]
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 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 the United States, cats and dogs are a factor in more than 86,000 falls each year.[183] 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.[184]
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),[54] grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol,[55] as well as various plants and other potentially ingested materials.[56][57] 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.[58] 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.
The majority of contemporary dog owners describe their pet as part of the family,[146] although some ambivalence about the relationship is evident in the popular reconceptualization of the dog–human family as a pack.[146] 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.[150] 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.[151]
Comb out your dog first.[1] Combing your dog's coat daily or every other day will keep most mats at bay. Simply brushing, as most literature instructs, is not enough for dogs that can mat up: the brush will easily pass over at angles that a comb will get stuck on. A thorough combing should always be the first step of the grooming process because any mats will become tighter and less manageable once they dry. Begin on the head and move down the body. Be careful under the belly, as it is a sensitive area, and don't forget to comb the tail.
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