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Are dogs just the gentle good-natured companions we take them for? Through my research I found the answers to this question and many others. Some of my questions were about dog senses, dog history, sad facts about dogs and some fun facts.

The Dog Family is a group of at least 36 species of carnivorous mammals that includes the wolf, coyote, jackal, fox, common zorro, dingo, dhole (red dog), and the domestic dog. Dogs, which are also called canids, have large canine teeth, long muzzles, and blunt claws that don't retract into their feet. All but the African hunting dog have five toes on the forefeet and four toes on the hind feet.

Mammals in the Dog Family vary in size from the tiny desert-dwelling fennec, which weighs about 3 pounds, to the gray or timber wolf, which weighs about 44 to 175 pounds. Canids are found throughout all the continents except Antarctica and in nearly every climatic zone.

The Domestic Dog is considered the first domesticated animal. The domesticated dog has coexisted with human beings as a working partner and household pet in all time periods and cultures since the days of the cave dwellers. Scientists believe that the direct ancestor of the domestic dog is the wolf, originally found throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Remains of a dog, estimated to be 10,500 years old, have been found in Idaho. The oldest dog breed is the greyhound.

A dog's sense of smell and hearing are way better than a human's will ever be. However, their sight and taste are something less than ours. The common belief that dogs are colorblind is false! Dogs can see color but it is not as vivid a color scheme as we see, and they are more sensitive to light than we are. Dogs vision is much like our vision at twilight. Since dogs eyes are on the sides of their heads, they can't focus good on things in front of them. They have a wide field of vision, but not wider than cats. Maybe to make up for their poor vision, the hairs on a dog's jaw, eyebrow, and muzzle help it to detect air currents and the shape and texture of objects.

Dogs can smell much better than we can, about 1,000 times better. They can smell a person's moods, such as when you are sad or happy, and they have about 40 times more smell receptors than humans. A dog's nasal membrane lining is so big, it has a surface area greater than the dog's entire body. A dog can distinguish between two different types of hotdogs. A scent can stay with a dog for life.

Dogs can hear things, like the sounds some insects make, that human ears can't even detect. Dogs can hear sounds that are up to four times further away than humans can hear, and they can hear thunder from hundreds of miles away.

A dog's sense of taste is much like its eyesight. Taste is the least important sense to dogs. Dogs have 1,700 taste buds while humans have more than 9,000 of them.

Dogs dream. If you look at a dog while it's sleeping, sometimes you'll see its eyes move and twitch



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