Humans and dogs have co-evolved through living together for over 12,000 thousand years.
Amazing Facts About the Dog (Domesticated)
- Evidence based on behaviour, vocalisations, morphology, and molecular biology, has led to the current widely accepted scientific understanding that all breeds of domestic dog have descended from the grey wolf.
- Dogs have their own individual personalities.
- Dogs have a very high degree of social intelligence. They learn in a variety of different ways such as reinforcement or through observing the behaviour of other dogs, and even humans. They go through a series of cognitive development stages, just like humans.
- Dogs have been shown to display a range of complex emotions, including optimism, pessimism, depression and jealousy.
- Scientists believe dogs show empathy for others.
- It has been shown that dogs will help each other! Scientists have shown that if a dog has been helped by another dog, then they are more likely to help others in the future.
- Contagious yawning, where witnessing others yawn triggers a chain reaction which leads to the observer yawning, is strongly associated with empathy. Dogs are also susceptible to “catching” yawns from humans.
- Dogs communicate by a variety of different means. Scent, physical appearance, body position, facial expressions, movements, and vocalisations, which include numerous different barks, whines and growls, are all used. Many of which can also be understood by well-trained humans.
- Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. They have far more sensory “smelling” cells than humans, who have 5 million. Alsatians have 220 million, but there is variation between breeds.
Man's Best Friend: The relationship between Humans and Dogs
- Humans and dogs have co-evolved through living together for over 12,000 thousand years. While clearly humans have significantly impacted the evolution of dogs through selective breeding, the intimate presence of dogs in human culture has also impacted the evolution of humans.
- Human faces are known to be asymmetrical, with people instinctively moving their gaze to the right side of a face when they meet someone and try to discern their emotional state. Dogs have developed the same instinct when encountering a human, despite the fact that they do not do this when meeting other dogs. No other non-primate is known to do this.
- Dogs play a major role in pet-assisted therapy at hospitals, hospices, special needs schools and various other places. Volunteers take in their own companion dogs, and the mere presence of a lovable canine is known to have a deeply therapeutic impact on patients; the dogs also love the extra attention.
- Alexander the Great is said to have founded and named the city ‘Pertias’ in loving memory of his dog.
- The first dog chapel was built in 2001 in Vermont by Stephen Huneck, a children’s author whose 5 dogs helped him recuperate from a serious illness.
- Dogs are used in experiments in the UK.
- Type: Mammal
- Diet: Omnivore
- Lifespan: Around 8-15 years
- Size: Significant variation by breed, 15cm – 1.2m tall
- Weight: Significant variation by breed, 1 – 85 kg
- Range: Worldwide
- Scientific name: Canis lupus familiaris