Certain Pacific islands whose maritime settlers did not bring dogs, or where dogs died out after original settlement, notably: the Mariana Islands, Palau, Marshall Islands, Gilbert Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tonga, Marquesas, Mangaia in the Cook Islands, Rapa Iti in French Polynesia, Easter Island, Chatham Islands, and Pitcairn Island (settled by the Bounty mutineers, who killed off their dogs in order to escape discovery by passing ships).
Wolves kill dogs wherever they are found together. One study reported that in Wisconsin in 1999 more compensation had been paid for losses due to wolves taking dogs than for wolves taking livestock. In Wisconsin wolves will often kill hunting dogs, possibly because the dogs are in the wolf's territory. A strategy has been reported in Russia where one wolf lures a dog into heavy brush where another wolf waits in ambush. In some instances, wolves have displayed an uncharacteristic fearlessness of humans and buildings when attacking dogs, to the extent that they have to be beaten off or killed. Although the numbers of dogs killed each year are relatively low, it induces a fear of wolves entering villages and farmyards to take dogs, and losses of dogs to wolves has led to demands for more liberal wolf hunting regulations.
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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It has been suggested that the most significant benefit would have been the use of dogs' robust sense of smell to assist with the hunt. The relationship between the presence of a dog and success in the hunt is often mentioned as a primary reason for the domestication of the wolf, and a 2004 study of hunter groups with and without a dog gives quantitative support to the hypothesis that the benefits of cooperative hunting was an important factor in wolf domestication.
The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris when considered a subspecies of the wolf or Canis familiaris when considered a distinct species) is a member of the genus Canis (canines), which forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first species to be domesticated and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.
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", 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. 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.
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