The family dog (Cains lupus familiars or Cains familiars) is a domesticated canid which has been selectively bred over millennia for different behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.
Although initially thought to have originated as an artificial alternative of an extant canid species (variously supposed as being the dhole, golden jackal, or gray wolf, wide genetic studies undertaken during the 2010s indicate that dogs diverged from an extinct wolf-like canid in Eurasia 40,000 years before. Their long connection with humans has led to dogs being uniquely attuned to human behavior and is able to thrive on a starch-rich diet which would be inadequate for other canid species. Dogs are also the oldest disciplined animal. Dogs differ widely in shape, size and colors.
Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, defense, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding handicapped persons. This influence on being society has given them the sobriquet, man’s best friend.
The origin of the family dog (Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris) is not clear. Whole genome sequencing indicates that the dog, the old wolf and the extinct Taymyr wolf diverged at around the same time 27,000–40,000 years ago. These dates imply that the original dogs arose in the time of human hunter-gatherers and not agriculturists. Modern dogs are more closely related to very old wolf fossils that have been found in Europe than they are to modern gray wolves. Nearly all dog breeds’ genetic nearness to the old wolf are due to admixture, except several Arctic dog breeds are close to Taimyr wolf of North Asia due to admixture.
- Intelligence, behavior and communication
Dog intelligence is the skill of the dog to perceive information and retain it as knowledge for applying to solve problems. Dogs have been shown to study by inference. A study through Rico showed that he knew the labels of over 200 different items. He inferred the names of novel substance by exclusion learning and correctly retrieved those novel items immediately and also 4 weeks after the first exposure. Dogs have higher memory skills.
Dog behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or inactions) of the family dog (individuals or groups) to internal and/or external stimuli. As the oldest domesticated class, with estimates ranging from 9,000–30,000 years BCE, the minds of dogs inevitably have been shaped by millennia of contact with persons. As a result of this physical and social evolution, dogs, more than any other species, have acquired the aptitude to understand and communicate with humans and they are uniquely attuned to our behaviors.
Dog communication is about how dogs speak to each other, how they understand messages that humans send to them, and how humans may translate the ideas that dogs are trying to transmit. These communication behaviors comprise eye gaze, facial expression, vocalization, body posture (including movements of bodies and limbs) and gustatory contact (scents, pheromones and taste). Humans communicate with dogs by using vocalization, hand signals and body posture.