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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."
More about the domestic dog...

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A healthy 13-year-old mixed-breed dog shows hybrid vigor.
A mixed-breed dog (also called a bastard, mutt (shortened from muttonhead), mongrel, tyke, mixed mutt, cur, or random-bred dog), is a dog that is a mixture of two or more breeds, or a descendant of feral or pariah dog populations. Except for extreme variations in size, dogs interbreed freely, mixed-breed dogs vary in size, shape, and color, making them hard to classify physically. Historically, all purebred dogs have been selected from a mixed-breed population. See Golden Retriever for an example.

All possible body shapes, tongue color, ear types, and tail styles can appear in mixed breeds. Extremes in appearance, such as the flattened face of the English Bulldog or the extremely curled tail of the Pug, seldom survive even the first crossbreeding. Mixed breeds also tend to have a size between that of their parents, thus tending eventually toward the norm.

It's important to note that all dog breeds are man-made creations. Dogs were traditionally bred for specific functions. Most existing dog breeds began as mixed breeds, either by random occurrence or by deliberate crosses of existing breeds.

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Labrador Retriever
Credit: Elf

A yellow Labrador Retriever correctly negotiating weave poles at a dog agility competition. Similar to a slalom, weave poles are a series of upright poles, each about 3 feet (1 m) tall and spaced about 20 inches (50 cm) apart, through which the dog weaves. It is one of the most difficult obstacles for a dog to master. It varies from 5 to 12 poles at one time. The dog must always enter with the first pole to his left and must not skip poles.

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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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Weimaraner
The Weimaraner was developed originally both for tracking large game, such as bears, and as a pointing breed. The name comes from the Grand Duke of Weimar, Charles August, whose court enjoyed hunting. It has a lean, athletic build with a short, silver-coloured coat. It is very active, intelligent, and friendly in temperament. There is also a rare long-coated version which is the same except for coat length.

Did you know...

Mancs sculpture

...that the most common breeds for use as guide dogs are Labrador and Golden Retrievers?

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