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Portal:Dogs

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Introduction

Collage of Nine Dogs.jpg

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. 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".

Selected article

This Chihuahua mix and Great Dane show the wide range of dog breed sizes.
A dog breed is a group of dogs that have very similar or nearly identical characteristics of appearance or behavior or, usually, both, primarily because they come from a select set of ancestors who had the same characteristics. Dogs have been selectively bred for specific characteristics for thousands of years. Initially the selections would have centered on domestication and useful behavior such as hunting ability. Later, dogs were also selected for attractive and distinctive forms, resulting in a vast variety of types.

Many traditional dog breeds recognized by the main breed registries are said to be "purebred". Only individuals whose parentage consists only of other purebred examples of the breed are regarded as part of that breed. This concept has caused controversy both because of the difficulty of regulation and because of the possible genetic consequences of a limited population (inbreeding). Recent work has been done to genetically classify the various breeds, with some surprising results regarding the estimated age and interrelations of the breeds.

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Border Collie
Credit: Paul Englefield

A Border Collie correctly maneouvring through weave poles in dog agility. Border Collies are an extremely intelligent breed with an instinctive desire to work. They are also extremely energetic and require a lot of attention, but are very responsive to training. They are better off in a household that can provide them with plenty of exercise and a job to do.

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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.
Main article - Category
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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Selected breed

A Brittany
The Brittany is a breed of gun dog that is primarily bred for bird hunting. Although the dog is often referred to as a spaniel, the breed's working characteristics are more akin to a pointer or setter. The breed is noted for being easy to train, sensitive, and sweet-natured. Many enthusiasts agree that it takes little more than a stern look or cross word to chastise a Brittany.

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