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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.

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. Dogs vary widely in shape, size and colors. They perform many roles for humans, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding disabled people and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet of "man's best friend".

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This Entlebucher Sennenhund is of typical Molosser build.
Molossers are a type of typically large, solidly-built dogs comprising several breeds, probably all descended from the same root stock. The name derives from Molossia, a country once located in Western Greece.

Molossers typically have heavy bones, pendant ears, a relatively short and well-muscled neck, and a short muzzle. Although some Molossers are used for search and rescue, such as the Saint Bernard and the Newfoundland, most are used as guard dogs, due to their deep voices and natural guarding instincts, or herding dogs, not for actual herding but for protection against large predators as well as poachers. Some breeds like the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog have also been used as cart dogs.

The origin of Molossers is disputed, but Assyrian bas-relief carvings found in Nineveh date back as far as approximately 640 BC. Many believe that the Tibetan Mastiff is the ancestor of modern Molossers, although there is little evidence to support this theory. It is a fact, though, that large watchdogs have existed in Asia and the Middle East for several thousand years.

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A yellow Labrador Retriever
Credit: Herwig Kavallar

The Labrador Retriever ("Labrador" or "Lab" for short), is a retriever, and is the most popular breed of dog (by registered ownership) in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The breed is friendly, intelligent, energetic and good natured, making them excellent companions and working dogs. Labrador Retrievers are known to be one of the fastest-learning breeds of dog and respond well to praise and positive attention. The steady temperament of Labs and their ability to learn quickly make them an ideal breed for assistance dogs as well as search and rescue, detection, and therapy work.


Types of Dogs

Working dogs
Working dogs are those who perform jobs for people, as distinguished from companion dogs. Working dogs are of many types.
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Hunting dogs
Any dog or breed who assists humans in hunting. There are several categories of hunting dogs.
Main article
Pastoral dogs
Any dog or breed who assists humans with livestock.
Guard dogs
Dogs used to protect people or property.
Sled dogs
Dogs whose job is primarily pulling sleds.
Main article - Category
Companion dogs
Dogs whose primary function is as a companion and friend. Many toy breeds.
More groups

Dog breeds also can be grouped into similar types such as molossers, spitz types, pit bulls, or lurchers.

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The Italian Greyhound is a small member of the sight hound and toy groups. They are sometimes called an IG or "Iggy" for short. The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sight hounds, typically weighing 3 to 5 kg (about 7 to 10 lbs) and standing 33 to 43 cm (13 to 17 in) at the shoulder. The breed will be equally at home in a city and in the country, and it does not require as much exercise as larger breeds. The Italian Greyhound is hardy, rarely ill, intelligent and easy to teach.

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