Canis familiaris Linnaeus, 1758
Montage showing the morphological variation of the dog.
The domestic dog (
Canis lupus familiaris or
Canis familiaris) 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
Their long association with humans has led dogs to be uniquely attuned
to human behavior and they are able to thrive on a starch-rich
diet that would be inadequate for other canid species. New
research seems to show that dogs have mutations to equivalent genetic
regions in humans where changes are known to trigger high sociability
and somewhat reduced intelligence. Dogs vary widely in shape,
size and colors. Dogs perform many roles for people, such as
hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and
military, companionship and, more recently, aiding handicapped
individuals and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has
given them the sobriquet "man's best friend".
5.1.1 Size and weight
5.1.5 Differences from wolves
5.4 Inbreeding depression
6 Intelligence, behavior and communication
7.1 Population and habitat
9 Roles with humans
9.1 Early roles
9.2 As pets
9.4 Sports and shows
9.5 As food
9.6 Health risks to humans
9.7 Health benefits for humans
9.8 Medical detection dogs
10 Cultural depictions
11 See also
15 Further reading
16 External links
The term "domestic dog" is generally used for both domesticated and
feral varieties. The English word dog comes from
Middle English dogge,
Old English docga, a "powerful dog breed". The term may
possibly derive from Proto-Germanic *dukkōn, represented in Old
English finger-docce ("finger-muscle"). The word also shows the
familiar petname diminutive -ga also seen in frogga "frog", picga
"pig", stagga "stag", wicga "beetle, worm", among others. Piotr
Gąsiorowski has suggested that
Old English *docga is actually derived
Old English colour adjective dox.
In 14th-century England, hound (from Old English: hund) was the
general word for all domestic canines, and dog referred to a subtype
of hound, a group including the mastiff. It is believed this "dog"
type was so common, it eventually became the prototype of the category
"hound". By the 16th century, dog had become the general word, and
hound had begun to refer only to types used for hunting. The word
"hound" is ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European word
*kwon-, "dog". This semantic shift may be compared with in German,
where the corresponding words Dogge and Hund kept their original
meanings. The term *ḱwon- may ultimately derive from the earliest
layer of Proto-Indo-European vocabulary.
A male canine is referred to as a "dog", while a female is
traditionally called a "bitch" (derived from
Middle English bicche,
Old English bicce, ultimately from Old Norse bikkja. Since the
word "bitch" has taken on derogatory connotations, nowadays it is less
commonly used to refer to dogs). The father of a
litter is called the sire, and the mother is called the dam. The
process of birth is "whelping", from the
Old English word hwelp; the
modern English word "whelp" is an alternative term for puppy. A
litter refers to the multiple offspring at one birth which are called
puppies or pups from the French poupée, "doll", which has mostly
replaced the older term "whelp".
The term dog typically is applied both to the species (or subspecies)
as a whole, and any adult male member of the same.
An adult female is a bitch.
An adult male capable of reproduction is a stud.
An adult female capable of reproduction is a brood bitch, or brood
Immature males or females (that is, animals that are incapable of
reproduction) are pups or puppies.
A group of pups from the same gestation period is a litter.
The father of a litter is a sire. It is possible for one litter to
have multiple sires.
The mother of a litter is a dam.
A group of any three or more adults is a pack.
In 1758, the taxonomist Linnaeus published in his Systema Naturae the
classification of species.
Canis is a 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 (Linnaeus, 1758) and on the next page as a separate species
he classified the wolf as
Canis lupus (Linnaeus, 1758). In 1926,
International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) ruled
in Opinion 91 that the domestic dog
Canis familiaris (Linnaeus, 1758)
be placed on its official list. In 1957, the ICZN ruled in Opinion
Canis dingo (Meyer, 1793) was the name to be used for the
dingo and that this be placed on its official list. These are the
scientific names for the dog and dingo that appear on the Official
Lists and Indexes of Names in Zoology of the ICZN.
In 1978, a review to minimize the number species listed under genus
Canis proposed that "
Canis dingo is now generally regarded as a
distinctive feral domestic dog.
Canis familiaris is used for domestic
dogs, although taxonomically it should probably be synonymous with
Canis lupus." In 1982, the first edition of
Species of the
World included a note under
Canis lupus with the comment: "Probably
ancestor of and conspecific with the domestic dog, familiaris. Canis
familiaris has page priority over
Canis lupus, but both were published
simultaneously in Linnaeus (1758), and
Canis lupus has been
universally used for this species". In the same year, an
application was made to the ICZN to reclassify the dingo to Canis
lupus dingo because it was proposed that the wolf (
Canis lupus) was
the ancestor of dogs and dingoes, however the application was
In 2003, the ICZN ruled in its
Opinion 2027 that the "name of a wild
species...is not invalid by virtue of being predated by the name based
on a domestic form." Additionally, the ICZN placed the taxon Canis
lupus as a conserved name on the official list under this opinion.
In the third edition of
Species of the World published in 2005,
the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the wolf Canis
lupus what he proposed to be two subspecies: "familiaris Linneaus,
1758 [domestic dog]" and "dingo Meyer, 1793 [domestic dog]",[a] with
the comment "Includes the domestic dog as a subspecies, with the dingo
provisionally separate – artificial variants created by
domestication and selective breeding. Although this may stretch the
subspecies concept, it retains the correct allocation of synonyms."
Although the earliest use of the name "dingo" was
dingo (Blumenbach, 1780), Wozencraft attributed it to Meyer from
1793 without comment.
This classification by Wozencraft is hotly debated by zoologists.
Mathew Crowther, Stephen Jackson and
Colin Groves disagree with
Wozencraft and argue that based on ICZN Opinion 2027, the implication
is that a domestic animal cannot be a subspecies. Crowther,
Juliet Clutton-Brock and others argue that because the dingo differs
from wolves by behavior, morphology, and that the dingo and dog do not
fall genetically within any extant wolf clade, that the dingo should
be considered the distinct taxon
Canis dingo. Jackson and
Groves regard the dog
Canis familiaris as a taxonomic synonym for the
Canis lupus with them both equally ranked at the species level.
They also disagree with Crowther, based on the overlap between dogs
and dingoes in their morphology, in their ability to easily hybridize
with each other, and that they show the signs of domestication by both
having a cranium of smaller capacity than their progenitor, the wolf.
Canis familiaris (Linnaeus, 1758) has date priority over
Canis dingo (Meyer, 1793), they regard the dingo as a junior taxonomic
synonym for the dog
Gheorghe Benga and others
support the dingo as a subspecies of the dog from the earlier Canis
familiaris dingo (Blumenbach, 1780). Xiaoming Wang and
Richard H. Tedford
Richard H. Tedford proposed that the dog should be classified as Canis
lupus familiaris under the Biological
Species Concept and Canis
familiaris under the Evolutionary
Main article: Origin of the domestic dog
The origin of the domestic dog is not clear. It is known that the dog
was the first domesticated species. The domestic dog 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 closest living relative of the dog is
the gray wolf and there is no evidence of any other canine
contributing to its genetic lineage. The dog and the
extant gray wolf form two sister clades, with modern
wolves not closely related to the wolves that were first
domesticated. The archaeological record shows the first
undisputed dog remains buried beside humans 14,700 years ago, with
disputed remains occurring 36,000 years ago. These dates imply
that the earliest dogs arose in the time of human hunter-gatherers and
Where the genetic divergence of dog and wolf took place remains
controversial, with the most plausible proposals spanning Western
Europe, Central Asia, and East Asia. This has
been made more complicated by the most recent proposal that fits the
available evidence, which is that an initial wolf population split
into East and West Eurasian wolves, these were then domesticated
independently before going extinct into two distinct dog populations
between 14,000-6,400 years ago, and then the Western Eurasian dog
population was partially and gradually replaced by
East Asian dogs
that were brought by humans at least 6,400 years ago.
Lateral view of skeleton.
"Five different types of dogs," c. 1547.
Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various
behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. Modern
dog breeds show more variation in size, appearance, and behavior than
any other domestic animal. 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.
Size and weight
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. The tallest dog is a
Great Dane that stands 106.7 cm
(42.0 in) at the shoulder.
The dog's senses include vision, hearing, sense of smell, sense of
taste, touch and sensitivity to the earth's magnetic field. Another
study suggested that dogs can see the earth's magnetic field.
Main article: Coat (dog)
Montage showing the coat variation of the dog.
Golden Retriever with a golden shade of coat. Shades of coat colors
can vary within breeds of dogs. For example, some Golden Retrievers
have light, almost cream colored coats, and others may have dark,
brownish shades of coat.
The coats of domestic dogs are of two varieties: "double" being common
with dogs (as well as wolves) originating from colder climates, made
up of a coarse guard hair and a soft down hair, or "single", with the
Domestic dogs often display the remnants of countershading, a common
natural camouflage pattern. A countershaded animal will have dark
coloring on its upper surfaces and light coloring below, which
reduces its general visibility. Thus, many breeds will have an
occasional "blaze", stripe, or "star" of white fur on their chest or
Regarding coat appearance or health, the coat can be maintained or
affected by multiple nutrients present in the diet, see
Coat (dog) for
See also: Docking
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.
In some breeds, such as the Braque du Bourbonnais, puppies can be born
with a short tail or no tail at all.
Differences from wolves
Saarloos wolfdog carries more gray wolf DNA than any other dog
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. The tympanic bullae are large, convex and
almost spherical in gray wolves, while the bullae of dogs are smaller,
compressed and slightly crumpled. Compared with equally sized
wolves, dogs tend to have 20% smaller skulls and 30% smaller
brains.:35 The teeth of gray wolves are also proportionately
larger than those of dogs. Dogs have a more domed forehead and a
distinctive "stop" between forehead and nose. The temporalis
muscle that closes the jaws is more robust in wolves.:p158 Wolves
do not have dewclaws on their back legs, unless there has been
admixture with dogs that had them. Most dogs lack a functioning
pre-caudal gland and enter estrus twice yearly, unlike gray wolves
which only do so once a year. So-called primitive dogs such as
Dingoes and Basenjis retain the yearly estrus cycle. Dogs
generally have brown eyes and wolves almost always have amber or light
colored eyes. The skin of domestic dogs tends to be thicker than
that of wolves, with some
Inuit tribes favoring the former for use as
clothing due to its greater resistance to wear and tear in harsh
weather. The paws of a dog are half the size of those of a wolf,
and their tails tend to curl upwards, another trait not found in
wolves The dog has developed into hundreds of varied breeds, and
shows more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land
mammal. For example, height measured to the withers ranges from a
6 inches (150 mm) in the Chihuahua to 3.3 feet (1.0 m) 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. It
is common for most breeds to shed their coat.
There are many household plants that are poisonous to dogs including
Poinsettia and aloe vera.
Some breeds of dogs are prone to certain genetic ailments such as
elbow and hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, pulmonic stenosis, cleft
palate, and trick knees. Two serious medical conditions particularly
affecting dogs are pyometra, affecting unspayed females of all types
and ages, and gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat), which affects the
larger breeds or deep-chested dogs. Both of these are acute
conditions, and can kill rapidly. Dogs are also susceptible to
parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites, as well as hookworms,
tapeworms, roundworms, and heartworms.
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), grapes
and raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol, as well as various plants
and other potentially ingested materials. The nicotine in
tobacco can also be dangerous. Dogs can be exposed to the substance by
scavenging garbage or ashtrays; 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. Dogs are highly 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 even small amounts of
chocolate can be fatal, especially dark chocolate.
Dogs are also vulnerable to some of the same health conditions as
humans, including diabetes, dental and heart disease, epilepsy,
cancer, hypothyroidism, and arthritis.
Further information: Aging in dogs
A mixed-breed terrier. Mixed-breed dogs have been found to run faster
and live longer than their pure-bred parents (See heterosis)
In 2013, a study found that mixed breeds live on average 1.2 years
longer than pure breeds, and that increasing body-weight was
negatively correlated with longevity (i.e. the heavier the dog the
shorter its lifespan).
The typical lifespan of dogs varies widely among breeds, but for most
the median longevity, the age at which half the dogs in a population
have died and half are still alive, ranges from 10 to 13
years. Individual dogs may live well beyond the median
of their breed.
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
The longest-lived breeds, including Toy Poodles, Japanese Spitz,
Border Terriers, and Tibetan Spaniels, have median longevities of 14
to 15 years. The median longevity of mixed-breed dogs, taken as an
average of all sizes, is one or more years longer than that of
purebred dogs when all breeds are averaged. The dog
widely reported to be the longest-lived is "Bluey", who died in 1939
and was claimed to be 29.5 years old at the time of his death. On 5
December 2011, Pusuke, the world's oldest living dog recognized by
Book of World Records, died aged 26 years and 9 months.
Main article: Canine reproduction
Dog nursing her newborn puppies
In domestic dogs, sexual maturity begins to happen around age six to
twelve months for both males and females, 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. Because the ova survive and are capable of being
fertilized for a week after ovulation, it is possible for a female to
mate with more than one male.
Fertilization typically occurs 2–5 days after ovulation; 14–16
days after ovulation, the embryo attaches to the uterus, and after 7-8
more days the heart beat is detectable.
Dogs bear their litters roughly 58 to 68 days after
fertilization, with an average of 63 days, although the length
of gestation can vary. An average litter consists of about six
puppies, though this number may vary widely based on the breed of
dog. In general, toy dogs produce from one to four puppies in each
litter, while much larger breeds may average as many as twelve.
Some dog breeds have acquired traits through selective breeding that
interfere with reproduction. Male French Bulldogs, for instance, are
incapable of mounting the female. For many dogs of this breed, the
female must be artificially inseminated in order to reproduce.
A feral dog from
Sri Lanka nursing her four puppies
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 have to later be euthanized.
According to the Humane Society of the United States,
3–4 million dogs and cats are put down each year in the United
States and many more are confined to cages in shelters because there
are many more animals than there are homes. Spaying or castrating dogs
helps keep overpopulation down. Local humane societies, SPCAs, and
other animal protection organizations urge people to neuter their pets
and to adopt animals from shelters instead of purchasing them.
Neutering reduces problems caused by hypersexuality, especially in
male dogs. Spayed female dogs are less likely to develop some
forms of cancer, affecting mammary glands, ovaries, and other
reproductive organs. However, neutering increases the risk of
urinary incontinence in female dogs, and prostate cancer in
males, as well as osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, cruciate
ligament rupture, obesity, and diabetes mellitus in either sex.
A common breeding practice for pet dogs is mating between close
relatives (e.g. between half- and full siblings). In a study of
seven different French breeds of dogs (Bernese mountain dog, basset
hound, Cairn terrier, Epagneul Breton,
German Shepherd dog,
Leonberger, and West Highland white terrier) it was found that
inbreeding decreases litter size and survival. Another analysis
of data on 42,855 dachshund litters, found that as the inbreeding
coefficient increased, litter size decreased and the percentage of
stillborn puppies increased, thus indicating inbreeding
About 22% of boxer puppies die before reaching 7 weeks of age.
Stillbirth is the most frequent cause of death, followed by infection.
Mortality due to infection was found to increase significantly with
increases in inbreeding.
Inbreeding depression is considered to
be due largely to the expression of homozygous deleterious recessive
mutations. Outcrossing between unrelated individuals, including
dogs of different breeds, results in the beneficial masking of
deleterious recessive mutations in progeny.
Intelligence, behavior and communication
Dog intelligence is the ability of the dog to perceive information and
retain it as knowledge for applying to solve problems. Dogs have been
shown to learn by inference. A study with Rico showed that he knew the
labels of over 200 different items. He inferred the names of novel
items by exclusion learning and correctly retrieved those novel items
immediately and also 4 weeks after the initial exposure. Dogs have
advanced memory skills. A study documented the learning and memory
capabilities of a border collie, "Chaser", who had learned the names
and could associate by verbal command over 1,000 words. Dogs are able
to read and react appropriately to human body language such as
gesturing and pointing, and to understand human voice commands. Dogs
demonstrate a theory of mind by engaging in deception. An experimental
study showed compelling evidence that Australian dingos can outperform
domestic dogs in non-social problem-solving, indicating that domestic
dogs may have lost much of their original problem-solving abilities
once they joined humans. Another study indicated that after
undergoing training to solve a simple manipulation task, dogs that are
faced with an insoluble version of the same problem look at the human,
while socialized wolves do not. Modern domestic dogs use humans
to solve their problems for them.
Dog behavior § Behavior compared with other canids
Dog behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or
inactions) of the domestic dog (individuals or groups) to internal
and/or external stimuli. 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.
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.
Unlike other domestic species which were primarily selected for
production-related traits, dogs were initially selected for their
behaviors. 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 (i.e. selection for tameness), and
emotional processing. Dogs generally show reduced fear and
aggression compared with wolves. 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. 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
Dog communication is about how dogs "speak" to each other, how they
understand messages that humans send to them, and how humans can
translate the ideas that dogs are trying to transmit.:xii These
communication behaviors include eye gaze, facial expression,
vocalization, body posture (including movements of bodies and limbs)
and gustatory communication (scents, pheromones and taste). Humans
communicate with dogs by using vocalization, hand signals and body
Population and habitat
The global dog population is estimated at 900 million and
rising. Although it is said that the "dog is man's best
friend" regarding 17–24% of dogs in developed countries, in the
developing world they are feral, village or community dogs, with pet
dogs uncommon. Most of these dogs live their lives as scavengers
and have never been owned by humans, with one study showing their most
common response when approached by strangers is to run away (52%) or
respond aggressively. (11%). Little is known about these dogs, or
the dogs in developed countries that are feral, stray or are in
shelters, as the majority of modern research on dog cognition has
focused on pet dogs living in human homes.
Being the most abundant and widely distributed terrestrial carnivores,
feral and free-ranging dogs have the greatest potential to compete
with other carnivores. A review of the studies in the competitive
effects of dogs on sympatric carnivores did not mention any research
on competition between dogs and wolves. Competition would
favor the wolf as it is known to kill dogs, however wolves tend to
live in pairs or in small packs in areas where they are highly
persecuted, giving them a disadvantage facing large dog
Wolves kill dogs wherever they are found together. One survey
claims that in Wisconsin in 1999 more compensation had been paid for
dog losses than livestock, however in Wisconsin wolves will often kill
hunting dogs, perhaps because they are in the wolf's territory.
Some wolf pairs have been reported to prey on dogs by having one wolf
lure the dog out into heavy brush where the second animal 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.
In many cultures, there are strong social and emotional bonds between
humans and their dogs that can be seen as family members or working
team members. The loss of a dog can lead to strong emotional responses
with demands for more liberal wolf hunting regulations.
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 or
ferocity. Tigers in Manchuria, Indochina, Indonesia, and Malaysia
are reputed to kill dogs with the same vigor as leopards. Striped
hyenas are major predators of stray dogs in Turkmenistan, India, and
The spiked collar common on working and pet dogs is no mere ornament:
it originated as a protection of the vulnerable neck of a dog from
wolves, but also protects dogs from attacks by other
dogs.[better source needed]
Golden Retriever gnawing a pig's foot
Despite their descent from wolves and classification as Carnivora,
dogs are variously described in scholarly and other writings as
carnivores or omnivores. Unlike obligate
carnivores, dogs can adapt to a wide-ranging diet, and are not
dependent on meat-specific protein nor a very high level of protein in
order to fulfill their basic dietary requirements. Dogs will healthily
digest a variety of foods, including vegetables and grains, and can
consume a large proportion of these in their diet, however all-meat
diets are not recommended for dogs due to their lack of calcium and
iron. Comparing dogs and wolves, dogs have adaptations in genes
involved in starch digestion that contribute to an increased ability
to thrive on a starch-rich diet.
As a domesticated or semi-domesticated animal, the dog is nearly
universal among human societies. Notable exceptions include:
Aboriginal Tasmanians, who were separated from Australia before the
arrival of dingos on that continent
The Andamanese, who were isolated when rising sea levels covered the
land bridge to Myanmar
The natives of Tierra del Fuego, who instead domesticated the Fuegian
dog, a different canid species
Certain Pacific islands whose maritime settlers did not bring dogs, or
where dogs died out after original settlement, notably: Palau,
Marshall Islands, Gilbert Islands, New Caledonia,
Vanuatu, Tonga, Marquesas,
Mangaia in the Cook
Rapa Iti in French Polynesia, Easter Island, Chatham
Pitcairn Island (settled by the Bounty mutineers,
who killed off their dogs in order to escape discovery by passing
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels demonstrate different colored coats
within the one breed
Most breeds of dog are at most a few hundred years old, having been
artificially selected for particular morphologies and behaviors by
people for specific functional roles. Through this selective breeding,
the dog has developed into hundreds of varied breeds, and shows more
behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal.
For example, height measured to the withers ranges from 15.2
centimetres (6.0 in) in the Chihuahua to about 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. It is common for most breeds to shed this coat.
While all dogs are genetically very similar, natural selection
and selective breeding have reinforced certain characteristics in
certain populations of dogs, giving rise to dog types and dog breeds.
Dog types are broad categories based on function, genetics, or
Dog breeds are groups of animals that possess a
set of inherited characteristics that distinguishes them from other
animals within the same species.[vague] Modern dog
breeds are non-scientific classifications of dogs kept by modern
Purebred dogs of one breed are genetically distinguishable from
purebred dogs of other breeds, but the means by which kennel
clubs classify dogs is unsystematic. DNA microsatellite analyses of 85
dog breeds showed they fell into four major types of dogs that were
statistically distinct. These include the "old world dogs" (e.g.,
Malamute and Shar Pei), "Mastiff"-type (e.g., English Mastiff),
"herding"-type (e.g., Border Collie), and "all others" (also called
"modern"- or "hunting"-type).
Roles with humans
Gunnar Kaasen and Balto, the lead dog on the last relay team of the
1925 serum run to Nome.
Domestic dogs inherited complex behaviors, such as bite inhibition,
from their wolf ancestors, which would have been pack hunters with
complex body language. These sophisticated forms of social cognition
and communication may account for their trainability, playfulness, and
ability to fit into human households and social situations, and these
attributes have given dogs a relationship with humans that has enabled
them to become one of the most successful species on the planet
The dogs' value to early human hunter-gatherers led to them quickly
becoming ubiquitous across world cultures. Dogs perform many roles for
people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting
police and military, companionship, and, more recently, aiding
handicapped individuals. This influence on human society has given
them the nickname "man's best friend" in the Western world. In some
cultures, however, dogs are also a source of meat.
Wolves, and their dog descendants, would have derived significant
benefits from living in human camps—more safety, more reliable food,
lesser caloric needs, and more chance to breed. They would have
benefited from humans' upright gait that gives them larger range over
which to see potential predators and prey, as well as better color
vision that, at least by day, gives humans better visual
discrimination. Camp dogs would also have benefited from human
tool use, as in bringing down larger prey and controlling fire for a
range of purposes.
The dogs of
Thibet are twice the size of those seen in India, with
large heads and hairy bodies. They are powerful animals, and are said
to be able to kill a tiger. During the day they are kept chained up,
and are let loose at night to guard their masters' house.
Humans would also have derived enormous benefit from the dogs
associated with their camps. For instance, dogs would have
improved sanitation by cleaning up food scraps. Dogs may have
provided warmth, as referred to in the Australian Aboriginal
expression "three dog night" (an exceptionally cold night), and they
would have alerted the camp to the presence of predators or strangers,
using their acute hearing to provide an early warning.
Anthropologists believe 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
The cohabitation of dogs and humans would have greatly improved the
chances of survival for early human groups, and the domestication of
dogs may have been one of the key forces that led to human
Siberia that walked across the Bering land bridge into
North America may have had dogs in their company, and one writer
suggests that the use of sled dogs may have been critical to the
success of the waves that entered North America roughly 12,000 years
ago, although the earliest archaeological evidence of dog-like
canids in North America dates from about 9,400 years
ago.:104 Dogs were an important part of life for the
Athabascan population in North America, and were their only
domesticated animal. Dogs also carried much of the load in the
migration of the
Apache and Navajo tribes 1,400 years ago. Use of dogs
as pack animals in these cultures often persisted after the
introduction of the horse to North America.
Siberian Husky—pack animal
Bulldog shares a day at the park.
Green velvet dog collar, dates from 1670 to 1690.
It is estimated that three-quarters of the world's dog population
lives in the developing world as feral, village, or community dogs,
with pet dogs uncommon.
"The most widespread form of interspecies bonding occurs between
humans and dogs" and the keeping of dogs as companions,
particularly by elites, has a long history. (As a possible
example, at the
Natufian culture site of
Ain Mallaha in Israel, dated
to 12,000 BC, the remains of an elderly human and a
four-to-five-month-old puppy were found buried together).
However, pet dog populations grew significantly after World War II as
suburbanization increased. In the 1950s and 1960s, dogs were kept
outside more often than they tend to be today (using the
expression "in the doghouse" to describe exclusion from the group
signifies the distance between the doghouse and the home) and were
still primarily functional, acting as a guard, children's playmate, or
walking companion. From the 1980s, there have been changes in the role
of the pet dog, such as the increased role of dogs in the emotional
support of their human guardians. People and dogs have become
increasingly integrated and implicated in each other's lives, to
the point where pet dogs actively shape the way a family and home are
There have been two major trends in the changing status of pet dogs.
The first has been the 'commodification' of the dog, shaping it to
conform to human expectations of personality and behaviour. The
second has been the broadening of the concept of the family and the
home to include dogs-as-dogs within everyday routines and
There are a vast range of commodity forms available to transform a pet
dog into an ideal companion. 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. 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.
Dog training books, classes and television programs proliferated as
the process of commodifying the pet dog continued.
The majority of contemporary people with dogs describe their pet as
part of the family, although some ambivalence about the
relationship is evident in the popular reconceptualization of the
dog–human family as a pack. A dominance model of dog–human
relationships has been promoted by some dog trainers, such as on the
Dog Whisperer. However it has been disputed that
"trying to achieve status" is characteristic of dog–human
Pet dogs play an active role in family life; for
example, a study of conversations in dog–human families showed how
family members use the dog as a resource, talking to the dog, or
talking through the dog, to mediate their interactions with each
Increasingly, human family members are engaging in activities centered
on the perceived needs and interests of the dog, or in which the dog
is an integral partner, such as dog dancing and dog yoga.
According to statistics published by the American
Manufacturers Association in the National
Pet Owner Survey in
2009–2010, it is estimated there are 77.5 million people with
pet dogs in the United States. The same survey shows nearly 40%
of American households own at least one dog, of which 67% own just one
dog, 25% two dogs and nearly 9% more than two dogs. There does not
seem to be any gender preference among dogs as pets, as the
statistical data reveal an equal number of female and male dog pets.
Yet, although several programs are ongoing to promote pet adoption,
less than a fifth of the owned dogs come from a shelter.
The latest study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) comparing
humans and dogs showed that dogs have same response to voices and use
the same parts of the brain as humans do. This gives dogs the ability
to recognize emotional human sounds, making them friendly social pets
Dogs have lived and worked with humans in so many roles that they have
earned the unique nickname, "man's best friend", a phrase used in
other languages as well. They have been bred for herding
livestock, hunting (e.g. pointers and hounds), rodent
control, guarding, helping fishermen with nets, detection dogs,
and pulling loads, in addition to their roles as companions. In
1957, a husky-terrier mix named
Laika became the first animal to orbit
Service dogs such as guide dogs, utility dogs, assistance dogs,
hearing dogs, and psychological therapy dogs provide assistance to
individuals with physical or mental disabilities. Some dogs
owned by epileptics have been shown to alert their handler when the
handler shows signs of an impending seizure, sometimes well in advance
of onset, allowing the guardian to seek safety, medication, or medical
Dogs included in human activities in terms of helping out humans are
usually called working dogs.
Sports and shows
See also: Conformation show
Dogs come in a range of sizes.
People often enter their dogs in competitions such as
breed-conformation shows or sports, including racing, sledding and
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.
Gaegogi (dog meat) stew being served in a Korean restaurant
Dog meat is consumed in some
East Asian countries, including Korea,
China and Vietnam, a practice that dates back to
antiquity. It is estimated that 13–16 million dogs are
killed and consumed in Asia every year. 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
Dog meat is also consumed in some parts of
Switzerland. 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
In Korea, the primary dog breed raised for meat, the nureongi
(누렁이), differs from those breeds raised for pets that Koreans
may keep in their homes.
The most popular Korean dog dish is gaejang-guk (also called
bosintang), a spicy stew meant to balance the body's heat during the
summer months; followers of the custom claim this is done to ensure
good health by balancing one's gi, or vital energy of the body. A 19th
century version of gaejang-guk explains that the dish is prepared by
boiling dog meat with scallions and chili powder. Variations of the
dish contain chicken and bamboo shoots. While the dishes are still
Korea with a segment of the population, dog is not as
widely consumed as beef, chicken, and pork.
Health risks to humans
Dog attack and Canine vector-borne disease
Dog bite prevention
In 2005, the
WHO reported that 55,000 people died in Asia and Africa
from rabies, a disease for which dogs are the most important
Citing a 2008 study, the U.S.
Center for Disease Control
Center for Disease Control estimated in
2015 that 4.5 million people in the USA are bitten by dogs each
year. A 2015 study estimated that 1.8% of the U.S. population is
bitten each year. In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17
fatalities per year, while in the 2000s this has increased to 26.
77% of dog bites are from the pet of family or friends, and 50% of
attacks occur on the property of the dog's legal owner.
Colorado study found bites in children were less severe than bites
in adults. The incidence of dog bites in the US is 12.9 per
10,000 inhabitants, but for boys aged 5 to 9, the incidence rate is
60.7 per 10,000. Moreover, children have a much higher chance to be
bitten in the face or neck. Sharp claws with powerful muscles
behind them can lacerate flesh in a scratch that can lead to serious
In the UK between 2003 and 2004, there were 5,868 dog attacks on
humans, resulting in 5,770 working days lost in sick leave.
In the United States, cats and dogs are a factor in more than 86,000
falls each year. It has been estimated around 2% of dog-related
injuries treated in UK hospitals are domestic accidents. The same
study found that while dog involvement in road traffic accidents was
difficult to quantify, dog-associated road accidents involving injury
more commonly involved two-wheeled vehicles.
Toxocara canis (dog roundworm) eggs in dog feces can cause
toxocariasis. In the United States, about 10,000 cases of Toxocara
infection are reported in humans each year, and almost 14% of the U.S.
population is infected. In Great Britain, 24% of soil samples
taken from public parks contained T. canis eggs.[not in citation
given] Untreated toxocariasis can cause retinal damage and decreased
Dog feces can also contain hookworms that cause cutaneous
larva migrans in humans.
Health benefits for humans
A human cuddles a Doberman puppy.
The scientific evidence is mixed as to whether companionship of a dog
can enhance human physical health and psychological wellbeing.
Studies suggesting that there are benefits to physical health and
psychological wellbeing have been criticised for being poorly
controlled, and finding that "[t]he health of elderly people is
related to their health habits and social supports but not to their
ownership of, or attachment to, a companion animal." Earlier studies
have shown that people who keep pet dogs or cats exhibit better mental
and physical health than those who do not, making fewer visits to the
doctor and being less likely to be on medication than
A 2005 paper states "recent research has failed to support earlier
findings that pet ownership is associated with a reduced risk of
cardiovascular disease, a reduced use of general practitioner
services, or any psychological or physical benefits on health for
community dwelling older people. Research has, however, pointed to
significantly less absenteeism from school through sickness among
children who live with pets." In one study, new guardians
reported a highly significant reduction in minor health problems
during the first month following pet acquisition, and this effect was
sustained in those with dogs through to the end of the study.
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
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.
The health benefits of dogs can result from contact with dogs in
general, and not solely from having dogs as pets. For example, when in
the presence of a pet dog, people show reductions in cardiovascular,
behavioral, and psychological indicators of anxiety. Other health
benefits are gained from exposure to immune-stimulating
microorganisms, which, according to the hygiene hypothesis, can
protect against allergies and autoimmune diseases. The benefits of
contact with a dog also include social support, as dogs are able to
not only provide companionship and social support themselves, but also
to act as facilitators of social interactions between humans. One
study indicated that wheelchair users experience more positive social
interactions with strangers when they are accompanied by a dog than
when they are not. In 2015, a study found that pet owners were
significantly more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood
than non-pet owners.
The practice of using dogs and other animals as a part of therapy
dates back to the late 18th century, when animals were introduced into
mental institutions to help socialize patients with mental
disorders. Animal-assisted intervention research has shown that
animal-assisted therapy with a dog can increase social behaviors, such
as smiling and laughing, among people with Alzheimer's disease.
One study demonstrated that children with ADHD and conduct disorders
who participated in an education program with dogs and other animals
showed increased attendance, increased knowledge and skill objectives,
and decreased antisocial and violent behavior compared with those who
were not in an animal-assisted program.
Medical detection dogs
Medical detection dogs are capable of detecting diseases by sniffing a
person directly or samples of urine or other specimens. Dogs can
detect odour in one part per trillion, as their brain's olfactory
cortex is (relative to total brain size) 40 times larger than humans.
Dogs may have as many as 300 million odour receptors in their nose,
while humans may have only 5 million. Each dog is trained specifically
for the detection of single disease from the blood glucose level
indicative to diabetes to cancer. The process of training a cancer dog
requires six months. A
Labrador Retriever called Daisy has detected
551 cancer patients with an accuracy of 93 percent and received the
Blue Cross (for pets) Medal for her life-saving skills.
Every year, between 6 and 8 million dogs and cats enter US animal
Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
estimates that approximately 3 to 4 million of those dogs and
cats are euthanized yearly in the United States. However, the
percentage of dogs in US animal shelters that are eventually adopted
and removed from the shelters by their new legal owners has increased
since the mid-1990s from around 25% to a 2012 average of 40% among
reporting shelters (with many shelters reporting 60–75%).
Spread of Seuso, dogs at Lake Balaton
Main article: Cultural depictions of dogs
Dogs have been viewed and represented in different manners by
different cultures and religions, over the course of history.
See also: Category:Mythological dogs
In ancient Mesopotamia, from the Old Babylonian period until the
Neo-Babylonian, dogs were the symbol of Ninisina, the goddess of
healing and medicine, and her worshippers frequently dedicated
small models of seated dogs to her. In the Neo-Assyrian and
Neo-Babylonian periods, dogs were used as emblems of magical
In mythology, dogs often serve as pets or as watchdogs. Stories
of dogs guarding the gates of the underworld recur throughout
Indo-European mythologies and may originate from
Proto-Indo-European religion. In Greek mythology, Cerberus
is a three-headed watchdog who guards the gates of Hades. In
Norse mythology, a bloody, four-eyed dog called
Helheim. In Persian mythology, two four-eyed dogs guard the
Chinvat Bridge. In Welsh mythology,
Annwn is guarded by Cŵn
Annwn. 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
The hunter god
North Malabar region of
Kerala has a
hunting dog as his mount. Dogs are found in and out of the Muthappan
Temple and offerings at the shrine take the form of bronze dog
figurines. In Philippine mythology, Kimat who is the pet of
Tadaklan, god of thunder, is responsible for lightning. The role of
the dog in Chinese mythology includes a position as one of the twelve
animals which cyclically represent years (the zodiacal dog).
In Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, when the disguised
home after 20 years he is recognized only by his faithful dog, Argos,
who has been waiting for his return.
A painting of
Saint Dominic carrying the Dominican Rosary, with a dog
bearing a torch, at his side
In Christianity, dogs represent faithfulness. 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. As such,
Dominican Order (Ecclesiastical Latin: Dominicanus) means "dogs of
the Lord" of "hounds of the Lord" (Ecclesiastical Latin: domini
Jewish law does not prohibit keeping dogs and other pets. Jewish
law requires Jews to feed dogs (and other animals that they own)
before themselves, and make arrangements for feeding them before
The view on dogs in
Islam is mixed, with some schools of thought
viewing it as unclean, although
Khaled Abou El Fadl states that
this view is based on "pre-Islamic Arab mythology" and "a tradition to
be falsely attributed to the Prophet". Therefore, Sunni Malaki
and Hanafi jurists permit the trade of and keeping of dogs as
In China, Korea, and Japan, dogs are viewed as kind protectors.
Cultural depictions of dogs
Cultural depictions of dogs in Western art
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dogs in art.
Cultural depictions of dogs
Cultural depictions of dogs in art extend back thousands of years to
when dogs were portrayed on the walls of caves. Representations of
dogs became more elaborate as individual breeds evolved and the
relationships between human and canine developed.
Hunting scenes were
popular in the
Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Dogs were depicted to
symbolize guidance, protection, loyalty, fidelity, faithfulness,
watchfulness, and love.
Ancient Greek rhyton in the shape of a dog's head, made by Brygos,
early 5th century BC. Jérôme Carcopino Museum, Department of
Figure of a Recumbent Dog, China, 4th century, Brooklyn Museum
Aging in dogs
Dogs in art
Dog in Chinese mythology
Fuegian dog - another domestic canid
Hachikō - a notable example of dog loyalty
Pet recovery service
List of fictional dogs
List of individual dogs
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of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary. The British Museum
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Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore. Sharpe Reference.
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to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World. Oxford,
England: Oxford University Press. p. 439.
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Find more aboutDogat's sister projects
Definitions from Wiktionary
Media from Wikimedia Commons
News from Wikinews
Quotations from Wikiquote
Texts from Wikisource
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Taxonomy from Wikispecies
Biodiversity Heritage Library bibliography for
Canis lupus familiaris
Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) – World Canine
Dogs in the Ancient World, an article on the history of dogs
View the dog genome on Ensembl
African palm civet
African palm civet (N. binotata)
Marsh mongoose (A. paludinosus)
Bushy-tailed mongoose (B. crassicauda)
Jackson's mongoose (B. jacksoni)
Black-footed mongoose (B. nigripes)
Alexander's kusimanse (C. alexandri)
Angolan kusimanse (C. ansorgei)
Common kusimanse (C. obscurus)
Flat-headed kusimanse (C. platycephalus)
Yellow mongoose (C. penicillata)
Pousargues's mongoose (D. dybowskii)
Angolan slender mongoose
Angolan slender mongoose (G. flavescens)
Black mongoose (G. nigrata)
Somalian slender mongoose
Somalian slender mongoose (G. ochracea)
Cape gray mongoose
Cape gray mongoose (G. pulverulenta)
Slender mongoose (G. sanguinea)
Ethiopian dwarf mongoose
Ethiopian dwarf mongoose (H. hirtula)
Common dwarf mongoose
Common dwarf mongoose (H. parvula)
Short-tailed mongoose (H. brachyurus)
Indian gray mongoose
Indian gray mongoose (H. edwardsii)
Indian brown mongoose
Indian brown mongoose (H. fuscus)
Egyptian mongoose (H. ichneumon)
Small Asian mongoose
Small Asian mongoose (H. javanicus)
Long-nosed mongoose (H. naso)
Collared mongoose (H. semitorquatus)
Ruddy mongoose (H. smithii)
Crab-eating mongoose (H. urva)
Stripe-necked mongoose (H. vitticollis)
White-tailed mongoose (I. albicauda)
Liberian mongoose (L. kuhni)
Gambian mongoose (M. gambianus)
Banded mongoose (M. mungo)
Selous' mongoose (P. selousi)
Meller's mongoose (R. melleri)
Meerkat (S. suricatta)
Spotted hyena (C. crocuta)
Brown hyena (H. brunnea)
Striped hyena (H. hyaena)
Aardwolf (P. cristatus)
Large family listed below
Large family listed below
Small family listed below
Cheetah (A. jubatus)
Caracal (C. caracal)
African golden cat
African golden cat (C. aurata)
Bay cat (C. badia)
Asian golden cat
Asian golden cat (C. temminckii)
European wildcat (F. silvestris)
African wildcat (F. lybica)
Jungle cat (F. chaus)
Black-footed cat (F. nigripes)
Sand cat (F. margarita)
Chinese mountain cat
Chinese mountain cat (F. bieti)
Domestic cat (F. catus)
Ocelot (L. pardalis)
Margay (L. wiedii)
Pampas cat (L. colocola)
Geoffroy's cat (L. geoffroyi)
Kodkod (L. guigna)
Andean mountain cat
Andean mountain cat (L. jacobita)
Oncilla (L. tigrinus)
Southern tigrina (L. guttulus)
Serval (L. serval)
Canadian lynx (L. canadensis)
Eurasian lynx (L. lynx)
Iberian lynx (L. pardinus)
Bobcat (L. rufus)
Pallas's cat (O. manul)
Marbled cat (P. marmorata)
Fishing cat (P. viverrinus)
Leopard cat (P. bengalensis)
Sundaland leopard cat (P. javanensis)
Flat-headed cat (P. planiceps)
Rusty-spotted cat (P. rubiginosus)
Cougar (P. concolor)
Jaguarundi (H. yagouaroundi)
Lion (P. leo)
Jaguar (P. onca)
Leopard (P. pardus)
Tiger (P. tigris)
Snow leopard (P. uncia)
Clouded leopard (N. nebulosa)
Sunda clouded leopard
Sunda clouded leopard (N. diardi)
Viverridae (includes Civets)
Binturong (A. binturong)
Small-toothed palm civet
Small-toothed palm civet (A. trivirgata)
Sulawesi palm civet
Sulawesi palm civet (M. musschenbroekii)
Masked palm civet
Masked palm civet (P. larvata)
Golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus)
Asian palm civet
Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)
Jerdon's palm civet (P. jerdoni)
Golden palm civet
Golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)
Owston's palm civet
Owston's palm civet (C. owstoni)
Otter civet (C. bennettii)
Hose's palm civet
Hose's palm civet (D. hosei)
Banded palm civet
Banded palm civet (H. derbyanus)
Banded linsang (P. linsang)
Spotted linsang (P. pardicolor)
African civet (C. civetta)
Abyssinian genet (G. abyssinica)
Angolan genet (G. angolensis)
Bourlon's genet (G. bourloni)
Crested servaline genet
Crested servaline genet (G. cristata)
Common genet (G. genetta)
Johnston's genet (G. johnstoni)
Rusty-spotted genet (G. maculata)
Pardine genet (G. pardina)
Aquatic genet (G. piscivora)
King genet (G. poensis)
Servaline genet (G. servalina)
Haussa genet (G. thierryi)
Cape genet (G. tigrina)
Giant forest genet
Giant forest genet (G. victoriae)
African linsang (P. richardsonii)
Leighton's linsang (P. leightoni)
Malabar large-spotted civet
Malabar large-spotted civet (V. civettina)
Large-spotted civet (V. megaspila)
Malayan civet (V. tangalunga)
Large Indian civet
Large Indian civet (V. zibetha)
Small Indian civet
Small Indian civet (V. indica)
Fossa (C. ferox)
Eastern falanouc (E. goudotii)
Western falanouc (E. major)
Malagasy civet (F. fossana)
Ring-tailed mongoose (G. elegans)
Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose
Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose (G. fasciata)
Grandidier's mongoose (G. grandidieri)
Narrow-striped mongoose (M. decemlineata)
Brown-tailed mongoose (S. concolor)
Durrell's vontsira (S. durrelli)
Caniformia (cont. below)
Giant panda (A. melanoleuca)
Sun bear (H. malayanus)
Sloth bear (M. ursinus)
Spectacled bear (T. ornatus)
American black bear
American black bear (U. americanus)
Brown bear (U. arctos)
Polar bear (U. maritimus)
Asian black bear
Asian black bear (U. thibetanus)
Molina's hog-nosed skunk
Molina's hog-nosed skunk (C. chinga)
Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk
Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk (C. humboldtii)
American hog-nosed skunk
American hog-nosed skunk (C. leuconotus)
Striped hog-nosed skunk
Striped hog-nosed skunk (C. semistriatus)
Hooded skunk (M. macroura)
Striped skunk (M. mephitis)
Sunda stink badger
Sunda stink badger (M. javanensis)
Palawan stink badger
Palawan stink badger (M. marchei)
Southern spotted skunk
Southern spotted skunk (S. angustifrons)
Western spotted skunk
Western spotted skunk (S. gracilis)
Eastern spotted skunk
Eastern spotted skunk (S. putorius)
Pygmy spotted skunk
Pygmy spotted skunk (S. pygmaea)
Eastern lowland olingo
Eastern lowland olingo (B. alleni)
Northern olingo (B. gabbii)
Western lowland olingo
Western lowland olingo (B. medius)
Olinguito (B. neblina)
Ring-tailed cat (B. astutus)
Cacomistle (B. sumichrasti)
White-nosed coati (N. narica)
South American coati
South American coati (N. nasua)
Western mountain coati (N. olivacea)
Eastern mountain coati (N. meridensis)
Kinkajou (P. flavus)
Crab-eating raccoon (P. cancrivorus)
Raccoon (P. lotor)
Cozumel raccoon (P. pygmaeus)
Red panda (A. fulgens)
Caniformia (cont. above)
(includes fur seals
and sea lions)
South American fur seal
South American fur seal (A. australis)
Australasian fur seal (A. forsteri)
Galápagos fur seal
Galápagos fur seal (A. galapagoensis)
Antarctic fur seal
Antarctic fur seal (A. gazella)
Juan Fernández fur seal
Juan Fernández fur seal (A. philippii)
Brown fur seal
Brown fur seal (A. pusillus)
Guadalupe fur seal
Guadalupe fur seal (A. townsendi)
Subantarctic fur seal
Subantarctic fur seal (A. tropicalis)
Northern fur seal
Northern fur seal (C. ursinus)
Steller sea lion
Steller sea lion (E. jubatus)
Australian sea lion
Australian sea lion (N. cinerea)
South American sea lion
South American sea lion (O. flavescens)
New Zealand sea lion
New Zealand sea lion (P. hookeri)
California sea lion
California sea lion (Z. californianus)
Galápagos sea lion
Galápagos sea lion (Z. wollebaeki)
Walrus (O. rosmarus)
Hooded seal (C. cristata)
Bearded seal (E. barbatus)
Gray seal (H. grypus)
Ribbon seal (H. fasciata)
Leopard seal (H. leptonyx)
Weddell seal (L. weddellii)
Crabeater seal (L. carcinophagus)
Northern elephant seal
Northern elephant seal (M. angustirostris)
Southern elephant seal
Southern elephant seal (M. leonina)
Mediterranean monk seal
Mediterranean monk seal (M. monachus)
Hawaiian monk seal
Hawaiian monk seal (M. schauinslandi)
Ross seal (O. rossi)
Harp seal (P. groenlandicus)
Spotted seal (P. largha)
Harbor seal (P. vitulina)
Caspian seal (P. caspica)
Ringed seal (P. hispida)
Baikal seal (P. sibirica)
Large family listed below
Large family listed below
Canidae (includes dogs)
Short-eared dog (A. microtis)
Side-striped jackal (C. adustus)
African golden wolf
African golden wolf (C. anthus)
Golden jackal (C. aureus)
Coyote (C. latrans)
Gray wolf (C. lupus)
Black-backed jackal (C. mesomelas)
Red wolf (C. rufus)
Ethiopian wolf (C. simensis)
Crab-eating fox (C. thous)
Maned wolf (C. brachyurus)
Dhole (C. alpinus)
Culpeo (L. culpaeus)
Darwin's fox (L. fulvipes)
South American gray fox
South American gray fox (L. griseus)
Pampas fox (L. gymnocercus)
Sechuran fox (L. sechurae)
Hoary fox (L. vetulus)
African wild dog
African wild dog (L. pictus)
Raccoon dog (N. procyonoides)
Bat-eared fox (O. megalotis)
Bush dog (S. venaticus)
Gray fox (U. cinereoargenteus)
Island fox (U. littoralis)
Bengal fox (V. bengalensis)
Blanford's fox (V. cana)
Cape fox (V. chama)
Corsac fox (V. corsac)
Tibetan sand fox
Tibetan sand fox (V. ferrilata)
Arctic fox (V. lagopus)
Kit fox (V. macrotis)
Pale fox (V. pallida)
Rüppell's fox (V. rueppelli)
Swift fox (V. velox)
Red fox (V. vulpes)
Fennec fox (V. zerda)
African clawless otter
African clawless otter (A. capensis)
Oriental small-clawed otter
Oriental small-clawed otter (A. cinerea)
Sea otter (E. lutris)
Spotted-necked otter (H. maculicollis)
North American river otter
North American river otter (L. canadensis)
Marine otter (L. felina)
Neotropical otter (L. longicaudis)
Southern river otter
Southern river otter (L. provocax)
Eurasian otter (L. lutra)
Hairy-nosed otter (L. sumatrana)
Smooth-coated otter (L. perspicillata)
Giant otter (P. brasiliensis)
Hog badger (A. collaris)
Tayra (E. barbara)
Lesser grison (G. cuja)
Greater grison (G. vittata)
Wolverine (G. gulo)
Saharan striped polecat
Saharan striped polecat (I. libyca)
Striped polecat (I. striatus)
Patagonian weasel (L. patagonicus)
American marten (M. americana)
Yellow-throated marten (M. flavigula)
Beech marten (M. foina)
Nilgiri marten (M. gwatkinsii)
European pine marten
European pine marten (M. martes)
Japanese marten (M. melampus)
Sable (M. zibellina)
Fisher (P. pennanti)
Japanese badger (M. anakuma)
Asian badger (M. leucurus)
European badger (M. meles)
Honey badger (M. capensis)
Bornean ferret-badger (M. everetti)
Chinese ferret-badger (M. moschata)
Javan ferret-badger (M. orientalis)
Burmese ferret-badger (M. personata)
(Weasels and Ferrets)
Amazon weasel (M. africana)
Mountain weasel (M. altaica)
Stoat (M. erminea)
Steppe polecat (M. eversmannii)
Colombian weasel (M. felipei)
Long-tailed weasel (M. frenata)
Japanese weasel (M. itatsi)
Yellow-bellied weasel (M. kathiah)
European mink (M. lutreola)
Indonesian mountain weasel
Indonesian mountain weasel (M. lutreolina)
Black-footed ferret (M. nigripes)
Least weasel (M. nivalis)
Malayan weasel (M. nudipes)
European polecat (M. putorius)
Siberian weasel (M. sibirica)
Back-striped weasel (M. strigidorsa)
Egyptian weasel (M. subpalmata)
American mink (N. vison)
African striped weasel
African striped weasel (P. albinucha)
American badger (T. taxus)
Marbled polecat (V. peregusna)
Livestock guardian dogs
List of breeds
List of crossbreeds
Livestock guardian dog
Search and rescue dog
Working Group (dogs)
Fear of dogs
Dogs in religion
Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Basque Shepherd Dog
Black Mouth Cur
Bouvier des Flandres
Can de Chira
Cão da Serra de Aires
Carea Castellano Manchego
Dutch Shepherd Dog
Magellan sheep dog
Miniature American Shepherd
Miniature Australian Shepherd
New Zealand Heading Dog
Old English Sheepdog
Old German Herding Dogs
Old German Herding Dogs (Altdeutsche)
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Sardinian Sheperd Dog
Spanish Water Dog
Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)
Welsh Corgi (Pembroke)
Armenian mountain dog
Bucovina Shepherd Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog
Cão de Castro Laboreiro
Cão de Gado Transmontano
Cão Fila de São Miguel
Carpathian Shepherd Dog
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Central Asian Shepherd Dog
Estrela Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Majorca Shepherd Dog
Polish Tatra Sheepdog
Rafeiro do Alentejo
South Russian Ovcharka
Canis lupus familiaris