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Portal:Dogs

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Two Australian Shepherds
The domestic dog is a mammal in the canine family of the Order Carnivora. Based on genetic evidence, dogs began from a single domestication of a now-extinct wolf-like canid in Western Europe 27 to 40 thousand years ago. Since this time, the dog has developed into hundreds of breeds with a great degree of variation in height and weight, coat color and texture, anatomical details and behavior. Dogs fill a variety of roles in human society and are often trained as working dogs. For dogs that do not have traditional jobs, a wide range of dog sports provide the opportunity to exhibit their natural skills. In many countries the most common, and perhaps most important, role of dogs is as companions. Dogs have lived with and worked with humans in so many roles that their loyalty has earned them the sobriquet "man's best friend."
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An Australian Shepherd descending an A-Frame in a Belgian agility competition.
Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs must run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives. The handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles, except accidentally. Consequently, the handler's controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and of the human.

In its simplest form, an agility course consists of a set of standard obstacles, laid out by an agility judge in a design of his or her own choosing on a roughly 100 by 100 foot (30 by 30 m) area, with numbers indicating the order in which the dog must complete the obstacles.

Courses are complicated enough that a dog could not complete them correctly without human direction. In competition, the handler must assess the course, decide on handling strategies, and direct the dog through the course, with precision and speed equally important.

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Purebred dog
Credit: Commons

Purebred dogs, such as this American/International Champion Shiloh Shepherd Dog, may participates in conformation dog shows with its owner or handler. Dog shows (and the related sport of Junior Handling for children and young people) are a popular activity; a single show, the 2006 Crufts dog show alone had 143,000 spectators, with 24,640 purebred dogs entered, representing 178 different breeds from 35 different countries.

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Types of Dogs

Working dogs
Working dogs are those who perform jobs for people, as distinguished from companion dogs. Working dogs are of many types.
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Hunting dogs
Any dog or breed who assists humans in hunting. There are several categories of hunting dogs.
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Pastoral dogs
Any dog or breed who assists humans with livestock.
Guard dogs
Dogs used to protect people or property.
Sled dogs
Dogs whose job is primarily pulling sleds.
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Companion dogs 
Dogs whose primary function is as a companion and friend. Many toy breeds.
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Dog breeds also can be grouped into similar types such as molossers, spitz types, pit bulls, or lurchers.

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Border Collie
A Border Collie is a hard-working breed of herding dog that originated in the border country of England and Scotland. They are regarded by many as the most intelligent dog breed. Like most working dogs, they have a tendency towards neurotic or destructive behavior if not given enough to do. They are still frequently used on farms all over the world for assisting with the handling of livestock.

Did you know...

Mancs sculpture

  • ...when lying down, dogs rest on their haunches, not their stomachs?
  • ...that Nipper was the mixed-breed dog who was the model for the painting His Master's Voice, which was later used logos and advertising for several brands, including RCA Records.
  • ...that the Canadian Kennel Club was founded in 1888, four years after the American Kennel Club?
  • ...that the Greyhound is one of the fastest breeds of dog, and can reach speeds of 72 km/h (45 mph)?

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