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Culture: Science & History
Scientists Searching for Clues to The First Dog
Village dogs’ genetic code may hold clues to canine evolution and health
Like classic twin studies that investigate the interplay of nature and nurture, comparing the genome of village dogs to modern dogs may help disentangle the long-term evolutionary effects of genetic and environmental influences. Mastiff to Min-Pin, Corgi to street cur: all dogs share the same set of roughly 20,000 genes. What makes one dog different from another—or, in the case of purebreds,...
News: Editors
Oversized Dogs and The Chinese Who Love Them
There is a really interesting article posted on The Atlantic  site today about the popularity of large dogs in China. As the author Damien Ma notes, “Most Americans will likely have a preconceived notion of the Chinese relationship with dogs. When a developing country can barely take care of all its own people, animal rights tend to sit very low on the totem pole. But the reality is much more...
News: Guest Posts
Remains of a 33,000 year-old dog found in Siberia
I had watched the dog origin wars as a chronicler of the dog-human relationship for several decades when in 2009 I was approached a young editor The Overlook Press about writing a book on the origins of the dog.  I readily agreed, and the result was How the Dog Became the Dog. Pondering the conflicting dates, places, and theories associated with the emergence of the dog, I concluded that as soon...
News: JoAnna Lou
Dogs of the Titanic
The doomed ship's survivors included three canines
April 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Knowing that only 31 percent of the ship's human passengers survived, I was surprised to learn that three dogs made it safely to New York. Only first class passengers were allowed to bring dogs on the voyage and many belonged to prominent families. There were 12 confirmed dogs on board the Titanic including a Toy Poodle, a Fox...
News: Karen B. London
The Origins of the Kong
Happy accident launched the toy
Louis Pasteur’s remark “Did you ever observe to whom the accidents happen? Chance favors only the prepared mind” is true in many fields. Those who have great knowledge recognize opportunity and are able to take a random event and recognize the value of something unexpected. In the world of dogs, a great example of chance favoring the prepared mind is seen in the original inspiration for the Kong...
News: Karen B. London
Dog Hair Used in Textiles
Woven items of the Coast Salish
Wearing dog hair has become acceptable to the point that many people believe no outfit is complete without it. The contribution of canine fur to textiles is hardly new, though.   Before European contact, the Coast Salish people of the Pacific Northwest incorporated dog hair into their textiles, including robes, sashes and blankets. Oral histories have long claimed this, and a recent scientific...
News: Guest Posts
Owney Look-Alikes
With backstories to match
First there was Owney the original—a Terrier-mix stray who became the loveable canine mascot of the Railway Mail Service. Then, there was Owney the stamp. Next, Owney the iPhone app and Owney the star of the interactive e-book Tails from the Rails (to be released later this fall). And, finally, Owney look-alikes. I could suggest this is overkill, except that not only do I find all the Owney...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Anthrozoology Books Explore the Science and History of Dog-Human Bond
Scientists have only recently caught on that canines are not just a fertile subject for their particular specialties — psychology, anthropology, zoology, ethology and more — but also a topic that the publishing world seems eager to promote. This trend has been a long time developing. Nobel Prize–winner and ethology’s co-founder, Konrad Lorenz, wrote Man Meets Dog (1950), breaking ground that lay...
Culture: DogPatch
Q&A with Dog Sense Author John Bradshaw
Making sense of dogs
What is an anthrozoologist, anyway? Turns out it’s someone who studies human-animal interactions, and John Bradshaw, who directs the world-renowned Anthrozoology Institute based at the UK’s University of Bristol (and founded it at the University of Southampton), is pre-eminent among them. For more than a quarter of a century, he’s investigated the behavior of dogs and their people, and his...
News: Guest Posts
Owney Will Travel with the Mail Again [UPDATED]
Railway Mail Service mascot gets his own stamp
A few years ago, during an East Coast vacation with my pre-teen nieces, we did the museum circuit in Washington, D.C., including a stop at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum. It was my sister’s idea, and I thought a likely snooze-fest. But I was wrong; the museum is a fascinating place with a particular jewel, Owney, the canine mascot of the Railway Mail Service. Still looking...

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