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]

Dog behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or inactions) of the domestic dog (individuals or groups) to internal and/or external stimuli.[94] As the oldest domesticated species, with estimates ranging from 9,000–30,000 years BCE, the minds of dogs inevitably have been shaped by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution, dogs, more than any other species, have acquired the ability to understand and communicate with humans, and they are uniquely attuned to human behaviors.[18] Behavioral scientists have uncovered a surprising set of social-cognitive abilities in the domestic dog. These abilities are not possessed by the dog's closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent mammals such as great apes but rather parallel some of the social-cognitive skills of human children.[95]
In 1999, a study of mitochondrial DNA indicated that the domestic dog may have originated from multiple grey wolf populations, with the dingo and New Guinea singing dog "breeds" having developed at a time when human populations were more isolated from each other.[23] In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the wolf Canis lupus its wild subspecies, and proposed two additional subspecies: "familiaris Linneaus, 1758 [domestic dog]" and "dingo Meyer, 1793 [domestic dog]". Wozencraft included hallstromi – the New Guinea singing dog – as a taxonomic synonym for the dingo. Wozencraft referred to the mDNA study as one of the guides in forming his decision.[1] The inclusion of familiaris and dingo under a "domestic dog" clade has been noted by other mammalogists.[24] This classification by Wozencraft is debated among zoologists.[25]
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]

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]

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"While new to thumbtack, we have over 20 years of experience, a 5 star rating online & we're reasonably priced! Background: Our founder grew up around street dogs, aggressive dogs, and so-called dangerous breeds. And has been around dogs for more than 20 years and understands them (and other animals) better than he understands people. His core values, which are apart of the company are: Value, Respect, Compassion, Integrity & Love We can help you train your pup, exercise them, housebreak them and teach you basic tactics to overcome their basic behavioral issues. We have experience with rottweilers, German shepherds, pit-bulls and other large breeds. I believe there are no bad dogs, just bad manners trained into them by accident. We love playing with them, roughhousing with them and teaching them things. Here is a free pro-tip; dogs love being scratched where they can't reach. The favorite location is the back of their hind legs, base of the spine on their back (in between the shoulder blades), & the base of the tail... BUT, you have to scratch very, very hard. Be forewarned, they will forever greet you with their rear facing you. :)"

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]
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.
You may need to pluck ear hairs from time to time. Ask a veterinarian or professional groomer to show you how to pluck the hairs from your dog's ear safely and correctly. Ear powder makes the process easier and quicker by giving added gripping power to the slippery ear hairs. Be very careful when using hemostats as they may poke inside their ear if used incorrectly or when the dog jerks their head.
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 breed with the shortest lifespan (among breeds for which there is a questionnaire survey with a reasonable sample size) is the Dogue de Bordeaux, with a median longevity of about 5.2 years, but several breeds, including miniature bull terriers, bloodhounds, and Irish wolfhounds are nearly as short-lived, with median longevities of 6 to 7 years.[64]
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.
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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]).
Clean your dog's ears. It's normal for a clean ear to have some wax in it, but there shouldn't be any particular smell to it. To clean your dog's ears, apply some ear cleaning solution (bought at a pet supply store) to a cotton round. Not too much or it will drip into the ear while wiping. Wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear, but don't rub vigorously, as this might cause sores. Don't push too far into the ear, either. If your dog has drop ears like a bassett hound, wipe the inside of the ear flag as dirt collects there as well. The groomers rule of thumb is to clean only what you can see.