|WikiProject Dogs||(Rated Start-class, High-importance)|
Is there such a thing, really?
Are there actually scientists who call themselves cynologists?
Searching the web, it seems to be a fancy term for dog trainer or dog breeder with no associated scientific training (as in "Cynology College" or ads to "Become a Certified Canine Cynologist Now!" or general hobbyists with websites devoted to their personal "research").
I'm hoping someone can provide information and links showing use of the term "cynology" by reputable scientists with publications on the topic in real scientific peer-reviewed journals.
Well, talking to one __:) will provide a few links, time allowing. One will need to travel to Russia or other country that have this science as college accredited to get according education and degree. There are also classes, all breeders need to attend prior to registering their kennel. They even have cynology as a public school as a subject, Cynology Academy, occupation "Cynolog", etc. Real scientific studies about dogs exist for real --Afru (talk) 01:52, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
- Yes I know there are reputable scientific studies now of dog genetics and dog behaviour, but "cynologist" is not a term used in English by scientists to refer to themselves. Or at least I can find no instances in English. However, I DO find many references to "cynology" as a trade or occupation, such as dog handler, dog trainer, dog breeder, kennel worker or pet store manager, in Canada, the United States, and the UK. I just think that the English Wikipedia page should include how the word is actually used, so as not to be misleading about what is and what is not "science". Hafwyn (talk) 18:13, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
- Agreed:) Needs work to clarify, same as most dog related issues, especially purebred dog-related issues. For example, extensive studies on working dogs, on selection of hunting dogs and protection dogs for specific purpose, such as developing specific tests. That clearly belongs to cynology, the science about dogs, because those studies are dog breed-specific and scientific at a time. This is just an example; there are several topics that are not just biology related, but actually are about purebred dogs, such as general behavior, breed development history, health, exploitation under different conditions, etc.
Modern dog shows are not science-related (even through initially they started as a cynology event for breeders to evaluate their dogs). But breed standard development include both, science studies and kennel club related activities. How can we outline one from another?
- All righty, there is a language problem here. The use in English of a Greek or Latin based suffix with a Greek or Latinized name of an animal (like cynology) is seen as referring to a branch of the sciences, OR is used to inflate the importance of the thing being described, either humorously or to apply the standing and status of a field of science to some other field of endeavour. Perhaps "cynology" logically should be a term scientists who study dogs should apply to themselves, but they don't, and it's not. Instead, it is people who study dog training, dog breeding, and related fields that refer to "cynology." I'm not describing what should be, I'm describing what is.
- Although dog trainers and breeders do contribute to our understanding of our dogs, what they do is not science. (See Scientific Method to clarify what I am talking about.) Dog shows may have started out as cynology events, but if shows were so described, that only proves that the word does not refer to a science. Dog breeding in the old days involved a lot of guesswork and a lot of culling; there was nothing scientific about it.
- And yes, it would be good if Kennel Clubs and dog professionals were able to assist scientists, but so far there has been a great deal of frustration on both sides; "the plural of anecdote is not data", someone once said. KCs and dog professionals supply a lot of anecdotes, but that doesn't advance science much. But that's wandering off the topic... The word "cynolgy" is not used by any branch of the sciences, whatever the roots of the construction are. Hafwyn (talk) 01:01, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
More on usage
A search of English language websites shows that those who use the terms "cynologist" and "cynology" to describe themselves and what they do are dog trainers, dog handlers, or dog breeders; useful occupations, but not ones that have anything to do with being scientists.
Scientists (with advanced degrees and published work) and veterinarians who work with or study dogs and other canids are referred to by their actual specialties and training; I find none that list "cynology" among their fields of study, although they may study dogs. Examples in no particular order:
- Ian Dunbar, veterinarian, animal behaviorist, dog trainer, and writer. He received his veterinary degree and a Special Honours degree in Physiology & Biochemistry from the Royal Veterinary College (London University), and a doctorate in animal behavior from the Psychology Department at the University of California in Berkeley, where he spent ten years researching the development of hierarchical social behavior and aggression in domestic dogs. (No "cynology" listed.)
- Elaine A. Ostrander, who began the canine genome project; Ph.D. from the Oregon Health Sciences University, geneticist and senior investigator and Chief of the Cancer Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. (Not a "cynologist".)
- Desmond Morris, zoologist and ethologist, degrees from the University of Birmingham (Zoology) and D.Phil. from Oxford University, supervised by Niko Tinbergen. Among many other works wrote a book called "Dogwatching" in 1986. (There is no evidence that he ever called himself a cynologist or studied or took a degree in anything called "cynology".)
Typical usage in English of the term "cynology" is seen in this article, http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?p=265227 "Cynology College are Scammers" (sic). Another animal training school changed its name from "Cynology College" to "The Companion Animal Sciences Institute", apparently to be less misleading about what it was offering.
Although this is "English Wikipedia" cites from other countries may be useful in showing that "cynology" should not be referred to as field of scientific study. (Noting that the word itself may have a different meaning - connotation and denotation - in other languages than the meaning in English, and these are translations.)
http://www.pads.ru/mode.980-id.1220-l.en-type.html An article on dog breeding describes requirements for Russian "expert cynologist certification" as including "educational level not less then high school graduation"; "Written document confirming the completion of classes in cynology or extracurricular exams"; and practical experience and references. This demonstrates that cynology is not a scientific discipline but rather a trade, even in Russia. A high school diploma and a certificate are not the same as a PhD in an academic discipline and peer-reviewed research.
http://www.amberdog.lv/cat_august_en.html?lang=en&cat=138 Amberdog "magazine dedicated to the development of cynology in the Baltic countries" covering dog training, dog shows, and veterinary advice (a hobbyist magazine, not a scientific journal.)
http://www.customs.tiraspol.net/eng/ Russian website that defines "cynologist" as a dog handler: "A cynologist group is a part of the Department on smuggling and customs rules violation of SCC. Two years ago the cynologist group was filled up with the English cocker-spaniel assistants."
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-281279.html "The militiaman the cynologist with the dog." (A photo of a woman police officer with a dog.)
On e-Bay: RUSSIAN PATCH CYNOLOGIST LIFE-SAVER SERVICE DOG GERMAN SHEPHERD; a shirt patch for some sort of police dog handler (aka "cynologist")
I found only one self-described cynologist; an agriculturalist, Nicholay Atanassov (http://www.cynology.info), lists himself as Director of The Center of Experimental Cynology and his education as in agriculture with scientific specialization "animalbreeding". He seems to be an expert in animalbreeding and has written 4 monographes about dogs: 1) The German Shepherd Dog; 2) In the world of the German Shepherd Dog; 3) The Dog and Its Behavior; 4) The Dog. Introduction in the Cynology. As a cunologyst Mr. Atanassov is a regular member of Union of the Scientists in Bulgaria. "The Center of Experimental Cynology" dealing with the problems of dog behavior and dog origin. Here are a lot of scientific papers by Mr. Atanassov. All tthey are in Bulgarian language only and are not published in Internet. It is clear from the website that his first language is not English, so this may not be relevant to "English Wikipedia".
- There is lots more like this. Nothing indicates that "cynology" is or has ever been an academic discipline in the sciences, but rather is a term referring to dog trainers and dog handlers; in English, it comes across as an attempt at grandiosity, an embarrassingly inflated term, when applied to the useful work of dog handling and dog training.
This is unfortunately categorical and quite incorrect. See the Wikipages for the same subject in German or Dutch. Nobody has ever, as far as I know, claimed that cynology is "scientific". It is generally perceived to be a body of pertinent knowledge, no more no less. Although there are academics that have taught cynology as an academic field. More on this later when I have more time. CLB Hubbard used the term cynology frequently - absolutely without any grandiosity etc. Know your subject before you write on it.--Richard Hawkins (talk) 22:45, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
I have seen words with the same root used in other languages to refer to various kinds of study, usually having to do with historical aspects of dog breeds, but in English today, it is most often used by hobbyists with no relevant educational background to imply that their (often unfounded) opinions are "scientific" or that a service they are selling is based in good research when it is not, so that they may ask a higher price. It is not a harmlessly neutral term to refer to the study of dogs; for that, one would use the term "the study of dogs." Usage of the word Cynology has to do with the blurring of science and non-science, and diminishing the value of scientific study in the public's eye.
This is not to disparage dog book writers of the past, or to disparage any classes taught at university with that name, or to imply that your lectures are not scientific or that your lectures would not be of great interest, or that someone who is a scientist would not have an interest in the study of dogs (many do.) Only that the word "Cynology" is a word in English that has been claimed by puffed up amateurs, and is a joke.--Hafwyn (talk) 08:23, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Hafwyn, your response is somewhat conflicting. If you do not want to disparage people that use the word cynology it would be better not to call the word a joke. It's useage in English is (still) comparatively rare, where I have come across it i.e. my reference to Hubbard (a true encyclopaedist on canine matters - not a "puffed up amateur") it has made no pretense to be scientific. Its use on the European Continent, namely Germany, Holland, Belgium and France, is to denote a body of knowledge, often required for certification as a show judge or professional in the field of canine care. However that would appear to be outside the confines of the English language Wikipedia. --Richard Hawkins (talk) 13:41, 25 March 2009 (UTC)