Our dogs that are known as (Canis lupis familiaris) are basically a form of domesticated wolves that have not only have become a basic companion for humans throughout the generations and by some cultures viewed as gods, but are sometimes used as a working dog for people, especially in the colder elements.
Used as a guide and trail leader for sleds for rescue, for the sight impaired, drug enforcement agency’s, bomb squads and even for some sporting events this animal has a history of being mans best friend!
This animal was instrumental in the advancement across the Bering Straight acting as sled dogs and without them many of early human settlements would have never happened as the weather would not have made it possible for them to reach their new destinations and create the new settlements by walking alone.
Currently there are over 400 million dogs worldwide that are used not only as companions but also as hunters, herding protectors, guard and police duty and also for the assistance of the handicapped.
The dog has been domesticated over 15,000 years and has evolved into an animal that is grouped into a small part of landraces whose morphology and behavior has been shaped solely by environmental factors and its functional roles. With the genetic advances and understandings, soon new breeds of dogs were bred and raised for specific traits and ultimately there are hundreds of new breeds that showed morphological and behavior variations that exceeded any other land mammal.
For example look at the size of the Chihuahua which stands a few inches high compared to the Irish Wolfhound, that stands a few feet in stature. The colors in their coats can vary from white to black, brown to gold with multiple variations in patterns, and also their coats range in length from short to long, and coarse to very soft.
The intelligence level in many of these breeds is exceptionally high with a perception and ability to learn and comprehend that is normally uncommon in the animal world. Dogs are capable of learning in several ways such as by observations as well as simple reinforcement techniques (classical or operant conditioning).
A dogs early stage is when they are going through their most cognitive developments called object permanence and this usually starts occurring at approximately 8 weeks of age. Puppies that interact with other older and experienced dogs have been proven to learn many times faster than other dogs by following the traits and tasks of the more mature dog. In one study Dachshund puppies that saw an older dog receive treats by pulling on a red ribbon on a cart were 15 times faster learning the same task than a dog just left to solve the task on its own.
Many other studies have been done that show dogs have an intelligence that many times is untapped by its owners. With the right training many breeds achieve things that are truly amazing. The evolution of the canine is an interesting topic for one to study more. However, there are more amazing animals like this, so check our animal fun facts.