In Christianity, dogs represent faithfulness.[208] Within the Roman Catholic denomination specifically, the iconography of Saint Dominic includes a dog, after the hallow's mother dreamt of a dog springing from her womb and becoming pregnant shortly thereafter.[214] As such, the Dominican Order (Ecclesiastical Latin: Dominicanus) means "dogs of the Lord" or "hounds of the Lord" (Ecclesiastical Latin: domini canis).[214] In Christian folklore, a church grim often takes the form of a black dog to guard Christian churches and their churchyards from sacrilege.[215]


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.
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]
Dogs are highly variable in height and weight. The smallest known adult dog was a Yorkshire Terrier, that stood only 6.3 cm (2.5 in) at the shoulder, 9.5 cm (3.7 in) in length along the head-and-body, and weighed only 113 grams (4.0 oz). The largest known dog was an English Mastiff which weighed 155.6 kg (343 lb) and was 250 cm (98 in) from the snout to the tail.[31] The tallest dog is a Great Dane that stands 106.7 cm (42.0 in) at the shoulder.[32]
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]
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African village dogs Bandogs Bichons Bulldogs Crossbreed dogs Curs Dogos Feists Fighting dogs Pit bulls Guard dogs Gun dogs Pointers Retrievers Setters Water dogs Hairless dogs Hounds Scenthounds Sighthounds Laika Lap dogs Mastiffs Mongrels Mountain dogs Molossers Meat dogs Pastoral dogs Herding dogs Livestock guardian dogs Pinschers Purebred dogs Sled dogs Schnauzers Spaniels Spitz Street dogs Terriers Toy dogs Turnspit dogs Wolfdogs
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]
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 meat is consumed in some East Asian countries, including Korea, China[133] and Vietnam,[134] a practice that dates back to antiquity.[164] It is estimated that 13–16 million dogs are killed and consumed in Asia every year.[165] In China, debates have ensued over banning the consumption of dog meat.[166] Following the Sui and Tang dynasties of the first millennium, however, people living on the plains of northern China began to eschew eating dogs. This is likely due to the spread of Buddhism and Islam, two religions that forbade the consumption of certain animals, including dogs. As members of the upper classes shunned dog meat, it gradually became a social taboo to eat it, despite the fact that the general population continued to consume it for centuries afterward.[167] Other cultures, such as Polynesia and pre-Columbian Mexico, also consumed dog meat in their history. However, Western, South Asian, African, and Middle Eastern cultures, in general, regard consumption of dog meat as taboo. In some places, however, such as in rural areas of Poland, dog fat is believed to have medicinal properties – being good for the lungs for instance.[168] Dog meat is also consumed in some parts of Switzerland.[169] Proponents of eating dog meat have argued that placing a distinction between livestock and dogs is western hypocrisy, and that there is no difference with eating the meat of different animals.[170][171][172][173]
Yes, though it is usually better to use dog clippers if you can get them. Dog clippers are designed to cut dog's hair, which usually has a coarser top coat and a softer undercoat, but not every dog has this type of coat. For instance, Yorkies and similar breeds only have one type of hair, more like humans, and so it actually makes perfect sense to use human clippers on this kind of dog.
There are a vast range of commodity forms available to transform a pet dog into an ideal companion.[147] The list of goods, services and places available is enormous: from dog perfumes, couture, furniture and housing, to dog groomers, therapists, trainers and caretakers, dog cafes, spas, parks and beaches, and dog hotels, airlines and cemeteries.[147] While dog training as an organized activity can be traced back to the 18th century, in the last decades of the 20th century it became a high-profile issue as many normal dog behaviors such as barking, jumping up, digging, rolling in dung, fighting, and urine marking (which dogs do to establish territory through scent), became increasingly incompatible with the new role of a pet dog.[148] Dog training books, classes and television programs proliferated as the process of commodifying the pet dog continued.[149]
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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]


Avoid getting water in the ears and eyes. If water does somehow get in the ears, use a small cotton ball or cotton pad (not a Q-tip, as it could go too far in) and gently wipe pat the inside of your dog's ear. Your dog will likely shake his head to remove water as well (like after a swim). If your dog seems to be scratching his/her ear constantly after bathing, take them to a vet to address the problem.
Cut out mats that can't be brushed out. Severe matting can pull the skin every time the dog moves, making daily life painful for your pet. If you can't brush a mat out, you need to either cut or shave it off, depending on how close it is to the skin. Be extremely careful if you use scissors to avoid injuring yourself or your pet. Try to cut parallel to the growth of the hair to avoid a choppy look.
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