A dog is a mammal in the order Carnivora.
The history of dogs is an old tale indeed. You could say as long as there has been civilisation, there have been records of humans and dogs. Dogs were domesticated from wolves around 15,000 years ago. New evidence suggests that dogs were first domesticated in East Asia, possibly China. Over time, the dog has developed into hundreds of breeds with a great degree of variation.
Dogs, like humans, are highly social animals and this similarity in their overall behavioural pattern accounts for their trainability, playfulnes and ability to fit into human households and social situations. This similarity has earned dogs a unique position in the realm of interspecies relationships.
The loyalty and devotion that dogs demonstrate as part of their natural instincts as pack animals closely mimics the human idea of love and friendship, leading many dog owners to view their pets as full-fledged family members.
The common name for the domestic dog is ‘Canis familiaris‘, a species of the dog family ‘Canidae’. The dog is generally considered the ‘first’ domesticated animal.
Dogs can differ in appearance, function, temperament and size. Some small dogs can weigh as little as 1.5 pounds, whereas some larger dogs can weigh as much as 200 pounds.
Depending on the country, there are about 138 officially recognised dog breeds.
Dogs fill a variety of roles in human society and are often trained as working dogs. For dogs that do not have traditional jobs, a wide range of dog sports provide the opportunity to exhibit their natural skills.
It is estimated that for more than 12,000 years the dog has lived with humans as a hunting companion, protector and friend. A dog is one of the most popular pets in the world and has been referred to as ‘mans best friend’. Whether you are poor or rich, a dog will be faithful and loyal to you and love you to bits.
A pet dog will fit easily into family life and environment, they of course need caring for as any other pet – feeding, grooming, bathing and when ill, will need a visit to the vets. Dogs thrive on affection and will happily wag its tail when showered with love and attention. Dogs will also sit and sulk if they get told off for doing something wrong.
A well-mannered dog must be trained properly and with patience and perciverence. You must never mistreat a dog at any time as not only is it very wrong to mistreat any animal, but some will bite in their own defense.
Larger dogs need considerably more exercise over a larger area than medium sized or small dogs. You can take them out into the countryside or to your local park or recreation ground. Here, they can run about and play games and get the exercise they need to keep them fit and healthy.
Dogs can be taught how to do things. Throw a small branch, stick or frizzbee and you can teach your dog to go fetch and bring the item back to you. Dogs have nearly 220 million smell-sensitive cells over an area about the size of a pocket handkerchief (compared to 5 million over an area the size of a postage stamp for humans). Some breeds have been selectively bred for excellence in detecting scents.
What information a dog actually detects when he is scenting is not perfectly understood. Although once a matter of debate, it now seems to be well established that dogs can distinguish two different types of scents when trailing an air scent from some person or thing that has recently passed by, as well as a ground scent that remains detectable for a much longer period.
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