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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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German Shepherd Dogs competing at the breed level at the 2007 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
In a conformation show, judges familiar with specific dog breeds evaluate individual dogs for how well they "conform" to published breed standards. Conformation shows are also referred to as dog shows or breed shows. Conformation shows are typically held under the auspices of a national kennel club. At the highest levels are Championship or all-breed shows, which have separate classes for the majority of breeds. In addition, the show can be breed- or group-specific, usually organized by a breed club and often called a "specialty show".

A conformation dog show is not a comparison of one dog to another. It is a comparison of each dog to a judge's mental image of the ideal breed type as outlined in the individual breed's breed standard. A judge chooses the dog(s) that most closely resemble the ideal on that particular day.

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American Eskimo Dog
Credit: Robert Southworth
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The American Eskimo Dog is a breed of companion dog originating in the United States (probably in New York City) in the twentieth century. It is derived from the German Spitz, the Finnish Spitz, and almost certainly the Pomeranian and Keeshond. The spitz family of Nordic dogs is one of the least altered by human husbandry and reflects most nearly the prototypical dog, from which stock all others have been derived. Archeology suggests that Neolithic dogs living with humans would today pass for spitzes.

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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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A show-type English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is a gun dog. It is one of several varieties of spaniel and somewhat resembles its American cousin, the American Cocker Spaniel, although it's closer to the working-dog form of the Field Spaniel. Outside the US, the breed is usually known simply as the Cocker Spaniel, as is the American Cocker Spaniel within the US. Due to the breed's happy disposition it has been given the nickname "merry cocker".

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