Are Dogs Domestic Animals? (Explained and 15 Helpful Facts)


Are Dogs Domestic Animals

Dogs, and many other animals, have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years. When you think about a dog, they’re traditionally viewed as companions, as pets. However, like their biological-family counterparts – dogs were once wild animals. So, are dogs domestic animals?

Yes, dogs are domestic animals because they’ve been tamed and trained by humans over generations. Dogs come from the family Canidae, which includes similar animals such as Wolves, Foxes, and other extinct species. It’s believed that dogs became domesticated from Wolves, for agriculture. Although, specifics vary given the lack of information.

Nowadays, dogs are considered to be a pet and a domestic animal. Given their long-coming relationship that has been established with humans. Dogs are no longer just bred to work or to serve, but to be a companion for humans.

When Did Dog Became Domesticated?

In a PBS article, research suggests that molecular evidence presents dogs descended and were domesticated from the gray wolf more than 130,000 years ago. Other resources claim DNA evidence was found with ancient wolves (more than 20,000 years old) and European dogs.

What Was The First Domesticated Dog Breed?

There is no specific evidence that presents one individual dog breed to be the first domesticated dog in history. With limited information, there are multiple theories about which breed of a dog was the first domesticated dog breed. Suggestions include:

How Did The Domestic Dog Evolve?

Domestic dogs are believed to have evolved from the gray wolf. It’s believed that as the gray wolf evolved, the species produced more than 400 distinct canine breeds. It’s uncertain to know for sure how the domestic dog evolved, however, given the lack of evidence that supports popular theories.

One thing’s for certain though, is that the gray wolf and the domesticated dog (before genetic testing) share similar DNA – which explains the similarities.

Why Would Humans Want to Domesticate a Dog?

There are a few reasons why humans choose to domesticate dogs in this day and age. Dogs and humans have a succored history with one another, and that continues to live on in this day and age.

Here are some basic examples of why humans domesticate dogs:

  • To live alongside us as companions
  • To support us (blind, deaf, anxious)
  • To help us earn a profit (agriculture)
  • To work alongside us
  • To assist us in hunting
  • To be of service (police dogs, drug dogs)

Humans have also been known to domesticate dogs for the purpose of genetic testing – specifically for personality traits. Over time, different breeds were created – causing genetic defects and various changes as the years passed.

How Many Domestic Dog Breeds Are There?

There are more than 350 recognized dog breeds in the world, with some sharing a long history with their wolf counterparts than others. We’ve compiled a list of different domestic dog breeds, in no specific order or rank. Some domestic dog breeds might be missing from this list below.

Here are some examples:

  • Akita Inu
  • Shiba Inu
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Basenji
  • Terrier
  • Collie
  • Boxer
  • Bulldog
  • German Shepherd
  • Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Samoyed
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Spitz

Why Are The Wolf and Domestic Dog Considered to be The Same Species?

Despite the similar physical appearances between The Wolf and Domestic Dog, many people believe they’re considered to be the same species. The people who strongly reason with this idea explain that when a wolf and dog can reproduce, they’re considered to be of the species. Wolves and dogs have been known to reproduce with one another, thus creating the infamous “wolf-dog”.

Which Domestic Dog Has The Strongest Bite?

According to a TimeforPaws article, The Mastiff dog breed currently holds the title for “strongest dog bite”. The Mastiff has a whopping bite force of 552 PSI, beating The American Bulldog with a strength that stands at 305 PSI, and The Rottweiler with a strength of 328 PSI.

Can a Domestic Dog Kill a Wolf?

Although some domestic dogs are trained to hunt, it’s unlikely that one could kill a wolf. Wolves, on the other hand, are known to kill pets – including dogs. Domestic dogs, in most instances, are not bred for wild purposes. Some believe that a trained domestic dog could probably take on a wolf, but even then – it would be a challenge.

Can a Domestic Dog Kill a Coyote?

It’s unlikely that a domestic dog, at least one bred to serve as a working dog, could successfully kill a coyote. Coyotes are wild animals that hunt, live, and thrive in the wild. Domestic dogs are not.

Domestic Dog Most Closely Related Wolf

There are two strikingly common domestic dogs most closely related to the wolf: those being The Shina Inu and The Chow Chow breed. Many people believe The Chow Chow breed, as well as Shibas, and Akitas to are direct descendants of wolves. The reason being is their ancient history and DNA similarities that are debated to have a direct link with the grey wolf.

Can a Domestic Dog Survive in The Wild?

Theoretically speaking, a domestic dog could survive in the wild due to its relation with wolves. Wolves are still considered wild animals: they survive by hunting. A domestic dog, although questionable if attempted today, should be able to live as long as wolves. This theory, however, would take months or even years to implement – before noticing anything drastic.

Can You Get Rabies From a Domestic Dog?

According to WHO (World Health Association), in up to 99% of cases where humans have transmitted the rabies-virus, domestic dogs are responsible. The common way a human contracts rabies-virus from an infected domestic dog is via a deep bite or scratch. The rabies virus can also be transmitted by direct contact with the saliva of an infected animal, specifically with fresh wounds.

Can a Domestic Dog Get Rabies?

Rabies is prevalent on all continents, except Antarctica – with domestic dogs being a widely affected carrier of the virus. Dogs contract rabies when another infected carrier bites or scratches them. Rabies can also be contracted to dogs when the saliva of a rabies-infected animal makes direct contact with the mucosa.

Once a dog contracts the rabies-virus, symptoms can go unseen for up to 3 months. Once rabies reaches the brain of the animal, however, deterioration is rapid. Once reached this stage, dogs will only live no more than one week or seven days.

Common Domestic Animals

Many domestic animals can be considered as friends, depending on how you perceive them. So what’s the difference? Here, we’ve described 7 examples of common domestic animals and their “purpose” to humans:

1. Cattle

Cattle are domestic animals because humans breed them for dairy, meat, and labor. They are highly profitable for meat production – and are primarily raised for that sole purpose.

2. Horses

Although humans have been known to consume horse meat, horses are considered domestic animals because they’re used for transportation and riding. Horses can be trained to compete in competitions, or are a helpful source to carry things – especially in agriculture.

3. Dogs

Dogs can be considered domestic animals because some are bred for the assistance of humans. Examples include guide dogs, blind dogs, police dogs, and hunting dogs.

4. Rabbits

Rabbits were once used as a food source as a meat-substitute way back in 600 A.D. Now, when they’re not used as a companion, humans use them for the purpose of substance trials. More commonly, they’re used in skin-irritation studies and other scientific tests.

5. Sheeps

Sheep are domestic animals as they’re primarily used in the agriculture industry. Examples include breeding for meat (lamb, mutton, etc), wool, and fleeces.

6. Cats

Widely known as our furry friends, (stray) cats are captured and used for neurological research. They are also used as models for hearing and vision studies.

7. Pigs

Pigs are domesticated for human meat consumption, being pork. The pig once evolved from the wild boar and was introduced to Europe sometime in the 18th century. From then onwards, pigs became of value for their flesh production.

Difference Between Pets and Domestic Animals

There is a significant difference between pets and domestic animals. Domestic animals are usually kept and tamed for productivity purposes. Whereas household animals, or pets, are kept for companionship.

Domestic animals can be classified as working animals: examples include serving as assistance for humans, working on a farm, or other profitable cause. Humans classify pets as an animal that is kept for personal use, usually providing support or comfort.

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