Someone recently said the only other specie on this planet as close emotionally to homo sapiens is the dog. Judging from authentic data reported by archeologists and studies completed by animal behaviorists and the fascinating filmology of dog “miracles”, this is a true statement. All dogs are descended from the wolf and still manifest many tendencies of that four-legged pack animal, such as general appearance, hunting instincts and relating to others of the same breed. An interesting fact about the two types of canines is that a wolf always has pointed ears and a bush tail, whereas a dog has either pointed ears or a bushy tail, but never both. The drooping ears of many dogs developed from being submissive to a more aggressive member of its pack.
Types of dogs
Pack hunters, such as dogs, are actually very social creatures, which has evolved into their adaptation to living with humans so compatibly. In some cultures, however, dogs are raised to be eaten and other cultures believe all canines are unclean, but the majority of the world’s peoples respect and care for dogs with their unconditional love and loyalty as their reward.
“Dog” is actually the term used by breeders to designate a male canine and “bitch” is the term used for the female. The young dogs are called “puppies” and are admired and loved for their cunning and playful ways.
Deliberately controlling breeding choices has resulted in dogs with finely-tuned talents, either physical or for tracking down hunted animals or, in the case of the phenomenal bloodhounds, finding lost humans from the person’s scent left on a piece of clothing or bedding. Greyhounds, for instance, have been bred to maximize their running ability on the racetrack and in some places, their races are as popular as horse races.
Anecdotal evidence suggests dogs have a reasonably high intelligence. For a detailed discussion on what dog intelligence is, see “dog intelligence.”
Dogs can digest a variety of foods including vegetables and grains, and can consume a large proportion of both. Extremely stressful conditions, such as the Iditarod race and scientific studies of similar conditions, suggest high-protein diets help prevent damage to muscle tissue.
Some foods are very dangerous for canines, including chocolate (Theobromine poisoning), onions, grapes and raisins, Macadamia nuts, and hops. Also, human medications, such as acetaminophen/paracetamol (Tylenol), can be highly toxic.
Dogs are also fatally attracted to poisonous antifreeze and snail bait.
Most bitches come into season before 12 months of age, although some larger breeds delay until as late as 2 years. The age a bitch first comes into season depends on her current body weight in proportion to her projected mature body weight. The different rates of maturation are responsible for the menarche, not the chronological age.
Pregnancy and litters
A mammal will generally produce half as many offspring as the number of teats on the female. In domesticated animals larger litters are often favored for economic reasons. Dogs whelp litters about 9 weeks after fertilization. An average litter consists of about six puppies, although this number may vary. Since a mother can provide feeding and care only to a limited number of offspring, humans have to help out when the litter exceeds approximately eight puppies.
Spaying and neutering
Dog experts suggest those animals not to be used for more breeding should be spayed or neutered. Unwanted puppies are often destroyed in an inhumane fashion. Spaying and neutering can help prevent hormone-driven diseases such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.
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