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Labrador retriever. (Image by Mzelle Laure, GFDL)

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dog

dog, carnivorous, domesticated wolf (Canis lupus familiaris) of the family Canidae, to which the jackal and fox also belong. The family Canidae is sometimes referred to as the dog family, and its characteristics, e.g., long muzzle, large canine teeth, and long tail, as canine traits. However, the unmodified term dog usually refers only to the domestic subspecies Canis lupus familiaris.

Two characteristics distinguish the dog from other canids and, indeed, from all other animal species. The first is its worldwide distribution in close association with humans, encompassing both hemispheres from the tropics to the Arctic. The second is the enormous amount of variability found within the subspecies. For example, the Irish wolfhound may stand as high as 39 in. (99.1 cm) at the shoulder, while the Chihuahua's shoulder is usually no more than 6 in. (15.2 cm) from the ground; the silky coat of the Yorkshire terrier may be 2 ft (61 cm) long, while a few breeds of dog (such as the Mexican hairless) are entirely without hair. The evolution of such widely differing breeds has been heavily influenced by conscious human selection, in addition to natural evolution.

Dogs have been selectively bred through the centuries for special purposes, notably to pursue and retrieve game, as draft animals, as guides (e.g., for the blind), and as companions. Although dogs possess hearing abilities far superior to humans', their acute sense of smell is probably the sense most utilized. In addition to traditional hunting and tracking, the dog's sense of smell has been put to such diverse uses as the location of exotic foods and the detection of drugs and explosives, e.g., in luggage and packages.

Dogs can be protected against serious diseases for which vaccines are available; these include distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, and rabies.

Early Dogs

The dog is descended from the wolf. True wolves appeared in Europe about one million years ago and in the Americas some 700,000 years later. Dog remains estimated to be about 14,000 years old have been found in Germany, and younger remains have been found in Israel (about 13,500 years old) and Idaho (about 10,500 years old). It is probable that the dog was the first animal to become domesticated, certainly by 15,000 years ago, but possibly long before that. Genetic studies comparing dogs with surviving and extinct wolf species indicate that wolves and dogs separated 27,000 to 40,000 years ago, with the implication that domestication may have occurred as early as 30,000 years ago. Domestication may have occurred independently in a number of different areas of the world, but genetic tests show that all dogs are descended from an Eurasian stock, even the now extinct pre-Columbian dogs of the Americas.

It is thought that the earliest domesticated dogs resembled the present-day dingo, the wild dog of Australia. The dingo is believed to have come to Australia as a domestic dog with the aborigines from Southeast Asia. Although more historical information exists on the forerunners of European dogs (such as the British hounds, terriers, and shepherd dogs) than on those of other areas, there is evidence that dogs have existed in most areas of the world throughout the period of recorded history. One of the oldest known breeds is the basenji, which originated in central Africa and is still used as a hunter by certain tribes in that region. Several distinct breeds were known in ancient Egypt and a mastifflike breed (resembling the Kurdish dog in present-day Iraq) is found in Babylonian illustrations of c.2200 BC

Dog Breeds

The Purebred Dog

A breed of dog is produced by selecting and mating dogs with certain desired characteristics. The offspring of such matings are then inbred, i.e., mated with litter mates or close relatives. After about eight generations, the line usually breeds true, i.e., most offspring resemble each other. Then standard traits can be established for the new breed. A purebred dog is one that conforms to the standards of a certain breed and whose lineage, or pedigree, has been recorded for a certain period of time.

One of the principal functions of a kennel club is to maintain the records of lineage of individual purebred dogs in order to preserve breed standards. The stud books of the AKC contain entries for all purebred dogs whose owners have elected to register their dog's pedigree. Other stud books, such as those of the United Kennel Club, often record dogs of breeds not recognized by the AKC but which have a considerable following in the United States. Dogs of mixed origin or whose parentage is unknown are called mongrels.

Classification of Breeds

Attempts to classify dogs probably date from the time when humans discovered that certain canine traits were more useful than others. The earliest known system of classification, that of the Romans, included categories for house dogs, shepherd dogs, sporting dogs, war dogs, dogs that ran by scent, and dogs that ran by sight. Today there are systems of classification and breeding in most countries of Western Europe and in North America, many using a variation of the standard British system.

In the United States, the classification system most frequently encountered is that employed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), which recognizes more than 150 of the more than 200 known breeds. The breeds are grouped into six classes. In the sporting dog group are pointers, retrievers, setters, and spaniels. These dogs hunt by air scent as opposed to those of the hound group, e.g., beagles, foxhounds, and bloodhounds, which track their prey by ground scent. Also classified as hounds are those dogs of the greyhound type, e.g., whippets, borzois, and Salukis, which hunt mainly by sight. The many breeds of terrier go to earth after their burrowing prey. Among the working dog group, used as guards, guides, and herders, are the collie, the German shepherd, and the St. Bernard. Such diminutive pet dogs as the Pekingese, the Pomeranian, and the pug belong to the toy dog class. The nonsporting dog group is a class of dogs bred principally as pets and companions and includes the Boston terrier, the bulldog, the chow chow, the Dalmatian, and the poodle. In addition to the breeds in the above classes, the AKC currently places additional breeds in a miscellaneous group; breeds recently recognized by the club are placed in this class until they become established. Included are the Akita of Japan, the Australian cattle dog, the Australian kelpie, the Bichon Frise (a French descendant of the water spaniel), the border collie (an English shepherd dog), the cavalier King Charles spaniel, the Ibizan hound (of Spanish origin), the miniature bull terrier, the soft-coated wheaten terrier (from Ireland), the Spinone Italiano, and the Tibetan terrier.

Dogs registered by the AKC and other registry associations compete regularly in dog shows and field trials. In dog shows, the various breeds are judged solely on appearance, while in field trials they are rated according to their hunting skills.

See articles on individual dog breeds.

Reproduction

Female dogs, or bitches, will mate only when in heat, or estrus, which occurs about every six months and lasts from 18 to 22 days. Whelping (giving birth) occurs after a gestation period of about nine weeks. The size of the litter varies to some extent with the size of the dog: toy dogs rarely bear more than 2 puppies, while the largest breeds average closer to 10.

Bibliography

See E. Schneider-Leyer, Dogs of the World (1960); American Kennel Club, The Complete Dog Book (1968); E. H. Hart, Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds (1968); H. P. Davis, ed., The New Dog Encyclopedia (rev. ed. 1973).

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"dog." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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dog

dog a dog is the emblem of St Dominic, St Roch, St Eustace, St Hubert, and St Bernard of Aosta.

The nickname of Diogenes was the Dog.
dog and pony show an elaborate display or performance designed to attract people's attention (chiefly North American).
dog days the hottest period of the year (reckoned in antiquity from the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star (see below).
dog does not eat dog people of the same profession should not attack each other. The saying is recorded from the mid 16th century, but a similar idea is found in De Lingua Latina by the Roman scholar and satirist Varro ((116–27 bc), ‘canis caninam non est [a dog does not eat a dog's flesh].’
dog-eat-dog used to refer to a situation of fierce competition.
dog in the manger a person who is inclined to prevent others from having or using things that one does not need oneself, from the fable of the dog that lay in a manger to prevent the ox and horse from eating the hay.
a dog is for life, not just for Christmas the slogan of the UK's National Canine Defence League (now Dogstrust), introduced in 1978 with the intention of dissuading people from giving puppies as Christmas presents.
dog Latin a debased form of Latin; the term is recorded from the late 18th century, and represents a derogatory use of dog.
the dog returns to its vomit a pattern of unpleasant behaviour is likely to be repeated. The saying is recorded from the late 14th century, and is often used with biblical allusion to Proverbs 26:11, ‘As a dog returneth to his vomit: so a fool returneth to his folly.’
dog rose a delicately scented Eurasian wild rose with pink or white flowers, which commonly grows in hedgerows, the root of which was in classical times thought to cure the bite of a mad dog.
Dog Star the star Sirius. The name is a translation of Greek kuon or Latin canicula ‘small dog’, both names of the star; so named as it appears to follow at the heels of Orion (the hunter).
a dog that will fetch a bone will carry a bone someone given to gossip carries talk both ways; saying recorded from the mid 19th century.
dog-tooth a small pointed architectural ornament or moulding forming one of a series radiating like petals from a raised centre, typical of Romanesque and Early English styles.
every dog has his day everyone, however insignificant, has a moment of strength and power. The saying is recorded from the mid 16th century; a modern equivalent might be Andy Warhol's ‘famous for fifteen minutes’.
every dog is allowed one bite proverbial saying, early 20th century, based on the common law rule (dating from at least the 17th century) by which the keeper of a domestic animal was not liable for harm done by it unless he knew of its vicious propensities. If a dog had not bitten anyone before, a tendency to such behaviour could not have been known.
give a dog a bad name and hang him once a person's reputation has been blackened their plight is hopeless. The saying is recorded from the early 18th century. (Compare he that has an ill name is half hanged.)

See also black dog, dogs, a live dog is better than a dead lion, is thy servant a dog?, the tail wags the dog, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, there are more ways of killing a dog, a woman, a dog, and a walnut tree.

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ELIZABETH KNOWLES. "dog." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 2006. Encyclopedia.com. (June 29, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O214-dog.html

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dog

dog / dôg/ • n. 1. a domesticated carnivorous mammal (Canis familiaris) that typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, and a barking, howling, or whining voice. It is widely kept as a pet or for work or for hunting or fishing. The dog family (Canidae) also includes the wolves, coyotes, jackals, and foxes. ∎  a wild animal of the dog family. ∎  the male of an animal of the dog family, or of some other mammals such as the otter: [as adj.] a dog fox. ∎  (in extended and metaphorical use) referring to behavior considered to be savage, dangerous, or wildly energetic: he bit into it like a dog. 2. inf. a person regarded as unpleasant, contemptible, or wicked (used as a term of abuse): come out, Michael, you dog! ∎  used to refer to a person of a specified kind in a tone of playful reproof, commiseration, or congratulation: you lucky dog! ∎  used in various phrases to refer to someone who is abject or miserable, esp. because they have been treated harshly: I make him work like a dog. ∎ inf. offens. a woman regarded as unattractive. ∎ inf. a thing of poor quality; a failure: a dog of a movie. 3. short for firedog. 4. a mechanical device for gripping. 5. (dogs) inf. feet: my tired dogs. • v. (dogged , dogging ) [tr.] 1. follow (someone or their movements) closely and persistently: photographers dog her every step. ∎  (of a problem) cause continual trouble for: the committee has been dogged by controversy. 2. (dog it) inf. act lazily; fail to try one's hardest. 3. grip (something) with a mechanical device. PHRASES: dog eat dog used to refer to a situation of fierce competition in which people are willing to harm each other in order to succeed: in this business, it’s always dog eat dog | popular music is a dog-eat-dog industry. a dog's age inf. a very long time. a dog's life an unhappy existence, full of problems or unfair treatment. the dogs of war poetic/lit. the havoc accompanying military conflict. go to the dogs inf. deteriorate shockingly: the country is going to the dogs. hair of the dogsee hair. put on the dog inf. behave in a pretentious or ostentatious way. rain cats and dogssee rain. (as) sick as a dogsee sick1 . throw someone to the dogs discard someone as worthless.

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"dog." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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dog

dog Domesticated carnivorous mammal, closely related to the jackal, wolf and fox. Typically, it has a slender, muscular body; long head with slender snout; small paws, five toes on the forefeet, four on the hind; non-retractile claws; and well-developed teeth. Smell is the dog's keenest sense; its hearing is also acute. The gestation period is 49–70 days; one or more puppies are born. Dogs developed from the tree-dwelling miacis, which lived c.40 million years ago, through intermediate forms to tomarctus, which lived c.15 million years ago. The dog was domesticated c.10–14,000 years ago. There are c.400 breeds, classified in various ways, such as terrier, sporting, hound, working, and toy. Length: 34–135cm (13–53in); tail 11–54cm (4–21in); weight: 1kg–68kg (2–150lb). Family Canidae; species Canis familiaris. See also individual breeds

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"dog." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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dog

dog sb. Late OE. docga (once in a gloss; also g. pl. in place-names. doggeneford, doggeneberwe), of unkn. orig.; the gen. term was hund HOUND, which dog finally displaced in this status. For the formation cf. the animal-names FROG 1, PIG, STAG, *sucga in hæġsucga hedge-sparrow, *wicga beetle in EARWIG.
Hence dog vb. follow like a dog. XVI. dogged †ill-conditioned XIV, †canine XV; pertinacious XVIII; see -ED 2.

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T. F. HOAD. "dog." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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T. F. HOAD. "dog." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Retrieved June 29, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-dog.html

dog

dog (Canis familiaris) See CANIDAE.

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MICHAEL ALLABY. "dog." A Dictionary of Zoology. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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dog

dogagog, befog, blog, bog, clog, cog, dog, flog, fog, frog, grog, hog, Hogg, hotdog, jog, log, nog, prog, slog, smog, snog, sprog, tautog, tog, trog, wog •hangdog • lapdog • seadog • sheepdog •watchdog • bulldog • gundog • firedog •underdog • pettifog • pedagogue •demagogue • synagogue • sandhog •hedgehog • warthog • groundhog •roadhog • backlog • Kellogg • weblog •eclogue •epilogue (US epilog) •prologue (US prolog) • footslog •ideologue •dialogue (US dialog) • duologue •Decalogue •analog, analogue (US analog) •monologue • apologue •catalogue (US catalog) • travelogue •eggnog • leapfrog • bullfrog •Taganrog •golliwog, polliwog •phizog • Herzog

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"dog." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 29 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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