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 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 addition, people with pet dogs took considerably more physical exercise than those with cats and those without pets. The results provide evidence that keeping pets may have positive effects on human health and behaviour, and that for guardians of dogs these effects are relatively long-term.[195] Pet guardianship has also been associated with increased coronary artery disease survival, with human guardians being significantly less likely to die within one year of an acute myocardial infarction than those who did not own dogs.[196]
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]
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.
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.
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]
If you are shy about touching certain parts of your dog, get over it. If you are going to clean your dog, you must clean your dog's whole body. If there are any fleas or ticks on your dog, let them sit for ten minutes after working in the flea and tick treatment shampoo. When the bugs are dead, make sure to fully wash all of them off. If they are left on, these could give your dog a disease. To get the ticks off, get your hemostats latched on the ticks head and pull outward so the head doesn't break off and stay in the body. This would include scrubbing all over your dog's body, even areas you are not comfortable with. Never use hot water, and be especially careful to avoid warm water or medicated shampoos on the genital area. This area is sensitive.

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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.
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]
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.