The term "domestic dog" is generally used for both domesticated and feral varieties. The English word dog comes from Middle English dogge, from Old English docga, a "powerful dog breed". The term may possibly derive from Proto-Germanic *dukkōn, represented in Old English finger-docce ("finger-muscle"). The word also shows the familiar petname diminutive -ga also seen in frogga "frog", picga "pig", stagga "stag", wicga "beetle, worm", among others. Piotr Gąsiorowski has suggested that Old English *docga is actually derived from Old English colour adjective dox.
In 14th-century England, hound (from Old English: hund) was the general word for all domestic canines, and dog referred to a subtype of hound, a group including the mastiff. It is believed this "dog" type was so common, it eventually became the prototype of the category "hound". By the 16th century, dog had become the general word, and hound had begun to refer only to types used for hunting. The word "hound" is ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European word *kwon-, "dog". This semantic shift may be compared with in German, where the corresponding words Dogge and Hund kept their original meanings. The term *ḱwon- may ultimately derive from the earliest layer of Proto-Indo-European vocabulary.
A male canine is referred to as a "dog", while a female is traditionally called a "bitch" (derived from Middle English bicche, from Old English bicce, ultimately from Old Norse bikkja. Since the word "bitch" has taken on derogatory connotations, nowadays it is less commonly used to refer to dogs). The father of a litter is called the sire, and the mother is called the dam. The process of birth is "whelping", from the Old English word hwelp; the modern English word "whelp" is an alternative term for puppy. A litter refers to the multiple offspring at one birth which are called puppies or pups from the French poupée, "doll", which has mostly replaced the older term "whelp".
- The term dog typically is applied both to the species (or subspecies) as a whole, and any adult male member of the same.
- An adult female is a bitch.
- An adult male capable of reproduction is a stud.
- An adult female capable of reproduction is a brood bitch, or brood mother.
- Immature males or females (that is, animals that are incapable of reproduction) are pups or puppies.
- A group of pups from the same gestation period is a litter.
- The father of a litter is a sire. It is possible for one litter to have multiple sires.
- The mother of a litter is a dam.
- A group of any three or more adults is a pack.
Intelligence, behavior and communication
Main article: Dog intelligence
Dog intelligence is the ability of the dog to perceive information and retain it as knowledge for applying to solve problems. Dogs have been shown to learn by inference. A study with Rico showed that he knew the labels of over 200 different items. He inferred the names of novel items by exclusion learning and correctly retrieved those novel items immediately and also 4 weeks after the initial exposure. Dogs have advanced memory skills. A study documented the learning and memory capabilities of a border collie, "Chaser", who had learned the names and could associate by verbal command over 1,000 words. Dogs are able to read and react appropriately to human body language such as gesturing and pointing, and to understand human voice commands. Dogs demonstrate a theory of mind by engaging in deception. An experimental study showed compelling evidence that Australian dingos can outperform domestic dogs in non-social problem-solving, indicating that domestic dogs may have lost much of their original problem-solving abilities once they joined humans. Another study indicated that after undergoing training to solve a simple manipulation task, dogs that are faced with an insoluble version of the same problem look at the human, while socialized wolves do not. Modern domestic dogs use humans to solve their problems for them.
Main article: Dog behavior
Dog behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or inactions) of the domestic dog (individuals or groups) to internal and/or external stimuli. As the oldest domesticated species, with estimates ranging from 9,000–30,000 years BCE, the minds of dogs inevitably have been shaped by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution, dogs, more than any other species, have acquired the ability to understand and communicate with humans, and they are uniquely attuned to human behaviors. Behavioral scientists have uncovered a surprising set of social-cognitive abilities in the domestic dog. These abilities are not possessed by the dog's closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent mammals such as great apes but rather parallel some of the social-cognitive skills of human children. Traits of high sociability and lack of fear in dogs may include genetic modifications related to Williams-Beuren syndrome in humans, which cause hypersociability at the expense of problem solving ability.
Main article: Dog communication
Dog communication is about how dogs "speak" to each other, how they understand messages that humans send to them, and how humans can translate the ideas that dogs are trying to transmit.:xii These communication behaviors include eye gaze, facial expression, vocalization, body posture (including movements of bodies and limbs) and gustatory communication (scents, pheromones and taste). Humans communicate with dogs by using vocalization, hand signals and body posture.
Comparison with wolves
Roles with humans
- ^ The addition of [domestic dog] against dingo and familiaris is inferred to mean that these two taxons form the "domestic dog clade" within Canis lupus, as opposed to its wild "wolf clade".
- De Vito, Dominique (March 1995). World Atlas of Dog Breeds (Hardcover) (6th ed.). Neptune City, NJ Lanham, MD: TFH Publications, Inc. pp. 960 pages. ISBN 0793806569.
- Wilcox, Bonnie; Walkowicz, Chris (March 1995). Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World (Print) (5th ed.). Neptune City, NJ Lanham, MD: TFH Publications, Inc. Distributed in the U.S. to the Bookstore and library trade by National Book Network. p. 912. ISBN 0793812844.