The role of the dog in Chinese mythology includes a position as one of the twelve animals which cyclically represent years (the zodiacal dog). Three of the 88 constellations in western astronomy also represent dogs: Canis Major (the Great Dog, whose brightest star, Sirius, is also called the Dog Star), Canis Minor (the Little Dog), and Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs).

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]

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.

Soak your dog thoroughly. Make sure your dog's coat is completely wet before you start applying shampoo to it. If your dog isn't afraid, you can buy and use a hose and water pressurizer attachment for the faucet. This is especially helpful if you have a large dog or one with a double-coat. AVOID getting water in your dog's ears. Water in the ears can cause an infection. Please be sure to only spray water/rinse water up to the dog's neck. The head can be cleaned separately (see below for instructions).

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]


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.

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]

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.
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]).
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