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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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This Chihuahua mix and Great Dane show the wide range of dog breed sizes.
A dog breed is a group of dogs that have very similar or nearly identical characteristics of appearance or behavior or, usually, both, primarily because they come from a select set of ancestors who had the same characteristics. Dogs have been selectively bred for specific characteristics for thousands of years. Initially the selections would have centered on domestication and useful behavior such as hunting ability. Later, dogs were also selected for attractive and distinctive forms, resulting in a vast variety of types.

Many traditional dog breeds recognized by the main breed registries are said to be "purebred". Only individuals whose parentage consists only of other purebred examples of the breed are regarded as part of that breed. This concept has caused controversy both because of the difficulty of regulation and because of the possible genetic consequences of a limited population (inbreeding). Recent work has been done to genetically classify the various breeds, with some surprising results regarding the estimated age and interrelations of the breeds.

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A standard poodle retrieving a mallard
Credit: Sally Eller

A Standard Poodle in "working clip" retrieving a mallard. Retrievers were bred primarily to retrieve birds or other prey and return them to the hunter without damage. Although spaniels and some pointing breeds routinely retrieve game, and many retrievers are skilled in finding game, retrievers are distinguished in that non-slip retrieval is their primary function. As a result, retriever breeds are bred for soft mouths and a great willingness to please, learn, and obey. Poodles, though developed as hunting dogs, are most commonly used as companions.

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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.
Main article - Category
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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Dalmatian
The Dalmatian is a breed of dog, noted for its white coat with either black or liver spots. Although other colour variations do exist, any colour markings other than black or liver are a disqualification in purebred Dalmatians. The famous spotted coat is unique to the Dalmatian breed; no other purebred dog breed sports the flashy spotted markings. The breed takes its name from the Croatian province of Dalmatia, where it is believed to have originated.

Did you know...

New Skete

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

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