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The dog (Canis familiaris when considered a distinct species or Canis lupus familiaris when considered a subspecies of the wolf) is a domesticated carnivore of the family Canidae. It is part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first species to be domesticated, and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.

Their long association with humans has led dogs to be uniquely attuned to human behavior, and they can thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate for other canids. Dogs vary widely in shape, size, and colors. They perform many roles for humans, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship, and, more recently, aiding disabled people, and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet of "man's best friend." (Full article...)

Selected article

Laika (from Russian: Лайка, "Barker", as well as a name of a dog breed) was a Russian space dog that became the first living creature from Earth to enter orbit. She was found as a stray wandering the streets of Moscow. Originally named Kudryavka, she was renamed Laika after her breed type. After undergoing training with two other dogs, she was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 and was launched into space on November 3, 1957.

Laika died a few hours after launch from stress and overheating, likely due to a malfunction in the thermal control system. The true cause of her death was not made public until decades after the flight. Some former Soviet scientists have since expressed regret that Laika was allowed to die.

Although Laika did not survive the trip, the experiment proved that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure weightlessness. It paved the way for human spaceflight and provided scientists with some of the first data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments.

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A dachshund dressed in homage to the legend of the naming of the hot dog.
Credit: Jessadactyl

The naming of the modern American hot dog is supposedly influenced by the dachshund. In 1852, the butcher's guild in Frankfurt am Main created a smoked, spiced sausage in a thin casing, dubbed a "little-dog" or "dachshund sausage" for its obvious resemblance to the low-riding German dog. The popular legend on the etymology of hot dog holds that a cartoonist named Tad Dorgan attended a polo match in New York in 1901 where vendors roamed the aisles imploring patrons to "get your red-hot dachshund sausages." Enchanted, Dorgan drew a smiling dachshund nestled in a long bun, but couldn't spell dachshund, so he captioned it "hot dog!" and thus the food got its name.


Types of Dogs

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The Beagle is a medium-sized member of the scenthound group, similar in appearance to a Foxhound but smaller with shorter legs, and with longer, softer ears. Beagles were used primarily for tracking deer, bear, and other game, but are now mostly used as companions. They are a loyal breed and most often very well tempered. Beagles love exercise and being around people. The most famous Beagle is perhaps Snoopy from the comic strip Peanuts. Other famous Beagles include Porthos from Star Trek: Enterprise, Brian from Family Guy and Brain from Inspector Gadget.

Did you know...

Bummer and Lazarus

  • ...that the stray dogs Bummer and Lazarus (pictured) were so popular with the people of San Francisco in the 1860s that they were given special exemption from the leash laws?
  • ...that Manuel Benito de Castro assumed the Presidency of Cundinamarca, with the condition that he would be allowed to leave Congress at a certain time to feed his dog?
  • ...that the namesake for Hondo Dog Park in Hillsboro, Oregon, won an award for valor just weeks before being killed in the line of duty?
  • ...that most of the dogs seen in the 2007 Thai film, Ma-Mha, were strays rescued from shelters and trained specifically for the film?
  • ...when lying down, dogs rest on their haunches, not their stomachs?
  • ...that Nipper was the mixed-breed dog who was the model for the painting His Master's Voice, which was later used logos and advertising for several brands, including RCA Records.
  • ...that the Canadian Kennel Club was founded in 1888, four years after the American Kennel Club?
  • ...that the Greyhound is one of the fastest breeds of dog, and can reach speeds of 72 km/h (45 mph)?

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