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Dog usually means the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris (or "Canis familiaris" in binomial nomenclature). The word is sometimes used to refer collectively to any mammal belonging to the family Canidae (as in "the dog family"), such as wolves, foxes and coyotes. This article deals with the domestic dog.

Dog societies are characterized by a companionate hierarchy, in which each individual has a rank in society, and in which there is intense loyalty within the group. Dogs thrive in human society because their relationships with humans mimic their natural social patterns. The dog is always aware of its rank vis-a-vis other individuals in the group, and it may be noted that an assertive dog often considers itself the alpha animal, while considering its human owner to be subordinate.

There are numerous dog breeds, over 800 being recognised by national dog clubs. A few basic breed types have evolved gradually during the domesticated dog's relationship with man over the last 10,000 or more years, but most modern breeds are of relatively recent derivation. Many of these are the product of a deliberate process of artificial selection. Because of this, some breeds are highly specialized, and there is extraordinary morphological diversity across different breeds. Despite these differences, dogs are able to distinguish dogs from other kinds of animal.

The definition of a dog breed is a matter of some controversy. Some groups use a definition that ultimately requires extreme in-breeding to qualify. Dogs that are bred in this manner often end up with severe health problems. Other organizations define a breed more loosely, such that an individual may be considered of one breed as long as, say, three of its grandparents were of that breed. These considerations come into play among breeders who enter their dogs in dog show competitions.

In February 2004, the Canine Studies Institute in Aurora, Ohio, managed to arrange all breeds of dog into ten categories, according to Darwinian Evolutionary principles. [1] (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_medical/story.jsp?story=491197)

Mongrels (also known as Mutts) are dogs that do not belong to specific breeds, instead being mixtures of two or more. These are also called mixed-breed dogs. Mixed breeds are in general terms no better or worse than purebred dogs as companions, pets, working dogs, or competitors in dog sports.

There are guard dogs, hunting dogs, and herding dogs. Dogs have served as guides for the blind, as commandos, have flown into outer space (see Laika), and a dog (P.H. Vazak) was even credited as author of an Oscar-nominated screenplay

Many people compete with their dogs in a variety of dog sports, including agility, flyball, and many others. This often strengthens the bond between human and dog, since they must trust one another in a variety of environments and must learn how the other works and thinks.
Phylum: chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Source: Wikipedia Read more about Domestic Dogs
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