For many, he is the best friend: dogs have lived with humans for thousands of years. Dogs are not only loyal companions but also guard, herding, and search dogs.
First Aid for Dogs
When dogs get injured, dog owners should be able to provide first aid, maybe even apply a bandage. There is a course for this in Rhineland-Palatinate. Maybe in your state too?
What do dogs look like?
The domestic dog is descended from the wolf: in some breeds, such as the German shepherd dog, this can still be clearly seen. Otherwise, however, they look very different: Of the many different dog breeds, none of them are the same: a small Chihuahua weighs 600 grams, an Irish wolfhound around 60 kilograms. The fur is also very different: it can be completely absent, as in the case of the hairless dog, or it can be fluffy, as in the case of the chow-chow.
Dogs can be tall and slender like a greyhound, short and stocky like a pug, tall and powerful like a hound, or small and short-legged like a dachshund. The coat color is just as different: in addition to black and white, there are all sorts of brown and gray tones, some breeds are spotted or have funny spots like the Dalmatians. What all dogs have in common, however, is that they have a tail and can hear very well, and have an excellent smell. They’re also great at walking and swimming – although some don’t like going in the water.
Where do dogs live?
It is difficult to say exactly where the home of the dogs is. In any case, their ancestor, the wolf, is at home in the entire northern hemisphere. Since dogs are believed to have been domesticated in Asia and the Middle East, this region is likely their homeland as well. But one thing is certain: today there are dogs everywhere in the world where there are people. The habitat of wolves extends from the mountains to the coast and from forests to semi-deserts.
Dogs are just as adaptable. You can live outdoors with the nomads and the herds of cattle, but also in the dog kennel or in the apartment with us. However, the most important thing for the dog is to always be close to its master or mistress.
What types of dogs are there?
There are around 400 different dog breeds. Here is a small selection: St. Bernard, Chow-Chow, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Great Dane, German Shepherd, Doberman, Fox Terrier, Husky, Newfoundland, Poodle, Setter, various hunting dogs, and fairly modern breeds such as the Border Terrier.
Hailing from England and Scotland, he is a powerful little terrier and was originally used as a hunting dog. Because he is so uncomplicated, funny, and easy to care for, he is also becoming increasingly popular as a normal house dog.
Other breeds were bred specifically to be working dogs. An example is an Australian Shepherd. It comes from the USA and is mainly used in Australia to herd flocks of sheep. These dogs have a fairly long, black, red, and white piebald coat. The “Aussies”, as they are also called, are very intelligent and alert. They can guard the herds independently. Such breeds are not suitable as family dogs.
How old do dogs get?
Dogs usually live ten to 14 years, some even up to 20 years.
How do dogs live?
Domestication – the taming and breeding that created the domestic dog from the wolf – began about 14,000 years ago in the Middle East or Asia. Little by little our domestic dogs emerged from the wolf and over the centuries many different breeds.
However, dogs and wolves are still so closely related that they could even crossbreed. But that hardly ever happens because their behavior is so different that they just don’t understand each other anymore. If it does happen, then the animals that result from this crossing are very shy and fearful.
Dogs are kept as herding dogs, hunting dogs, working dogs, and guard dogs – or just for company and playmates. Next to the cat, they are the most popular pets because they are obedient, loyal, and watchful.
Since dogs can hear and smell much better than humans, they perceive danger much earlier and were therefore sought after as watchdogs from the very beginning; or as a companion on the hunt to track down the game. Dogs are very social animals. That’s why they bond so closely with humans. For the domestic dog, its human family is the pack. It is important that he accepts and obeys a human as the leader of the pack.
Dogs have very distinctive body language, which means they communicate how they feel with their posture. When dogs bare their teeth, stiffen their tails, and ruffle their fur, it means they feel threatened and are about to attack. If they growl or flatten their ears, it means: “Stay away!”. If you tilt your head, it means: »I didn’t understand that«. And when they wag their tails, they’re happy. On the other hand, if they pull in their tails, they are very afraid.
Dogs can be active day and night. Their sleep is very light and they wake up easily. You can often observe how they dream: Then they bark or growl softly or twitch their paws.
Friends and foes of the dog
Domestic dogs have no natural enemies with us.
How do dogs reproduce?
A bitch is usually ready for mating twice a year. Then they say she’s “in heat.” This usually happens in February and August. About 63 days after mating, three to nine young, called pups, are born. They are suckled by their mother for about eight weeks.
But at the age of four weeks, they start to eat solid food. In the first few weeks, they are completely dependent on their mother. Although they already have fur, they are still blind and cannot hear. Only after a few days do they open their eyes and start crawling around.
Dogs are sexually mature at six to nine months and usually have young twice a year. Since there are often too many dogs today, they are neutered or spayed so that they can no longer reproduce.
How do dogs communicate?
Dogs make many different sounds. They can squeak and whine, they threaten with growls or loud barks. But they also bark in greeting or woof or howl like wolves.