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Blog: Guest Posts
Fetch the Meteorite
Forget about balls, maybe your dog can bring home something valuable.
Do you have one of those dogs who collects rocks? Maybe even plunges into lakes or streambeds to retrieve them? People sort of smile, sympathetically, when they see it; it’s cute but a little weird. Well, all those stone-loving pups with the ground-down teeth have a new patron saint: a Texas stray named Hopper. He had the good fortune to grab a meteorite in his chops in the weeks after a fireball...
Dog Culture: Science & History
Darwin’s Dogs
Celebrating the bicentennial of the father of evolution
Early in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Charles Darwin uncorks a passage to illustrate the capacity of dogs to love that is guaranteed to break the heart of all but the most unfeeling cad, and one that should hang over the door of every laboratory engaged in experiments with animals. “In the agony of death a dog has been known to caress his master,” he says, “and everyone...
Blog: Guest Posts
A Beautiful Mind
Pondering the dog brain
“How self-deceptive is it to treat an animal as a human?” Joachim Krueger, a social psychologist at Brown University and blogger for Psychology Today, ponders this question in a recent post, which was inspired by the passing of his 13-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Kirby. While the topic is not exactly earth shattering for those who follow the latest developments in ethology—Bark contributors and...
Blog: Guest Posts
Call of the Not-So-Wild
Wolves may have something to thank dogs for
The gene responsible for dark coat color in American Gray Wolves and coyotes is a fairly recent addition to these animals’ genomes and most likely arrived through mating with domestic dogs—according to a paper published online in Science Express. The bigger surprise is that the mutation (spread through hybridization) may be helping wolves adapt and survive.  Wolves living on the tundra tend to be...
Blog: Guest Posts
A Womb with A View
If you think Chihuahua puppies are cute, check out their embryos.
The folks over at National Geographic Channel have cooked up a Fantastic Voyage into the wombs of a Chihuahua, a Neapolitan Mastiff, a Golden Retriever, and a wolf. The one-hour birds-and-bees-of-dogs lesson is chock-full of facts about the influence of evolution and selective breeding on the enormous variety among dogs. But that information feels like an excuse for incredible imagery, including...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
The Dog Project: Researching Canine Behavioral Genetics
An investigation into the genetics of canine anxiety, phobias and fears
“This is the job that Solo got me,” says Melanie Lee Chang, PhD, a biologist who got her doctorate in evolutionary biology and physical anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently working in canine molecular genetics. Solo is her eight-year-old Border Collie. The job is as a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (...
Dog Culture: Science & History
Decoding the Dog Genome
A female Boxer provides the DNA for the first complete sequence of the dog genome—what will it mean to the health of man and dog?
“The dog is everywhere what society makes him,” wrote Charles Dudley Warner in the January 1896 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. Elaine Ostrander and Heidi Parker update that message in the November 2005 issue of the online journal, Public Library of Science—Genetics: “The domestication of the dog from its wolf ancestors is perhaps the most complex genetic experiment in history, and...
Dog Culture: Science & History
Deconstructing the Gene Pool
Dr. Mark Neff and his team uncover the surprising origin of a potentially deadly mutation
Until the mid-19th century, any hodge-podge of similar-looking dogs performing similar tasks was awarded the right to be called a breed. However, as inventions (such as guns) mechanized jobs that dogs normally performed, many breeds—like the tumbler, who “tumbled and turned” to mesmerize prey—simply sank back into the ancestral soup, taking their unique traits with them. One of these ancient...
Dog Culture: Science & History
Fala, the Presidential Dog
How a special little dog made America’s house his home
Arguably the most important dog in World War II never saw combat; in fact, he was one of the breeds deemed unfit for duty by virtue of his stubby legs and long coat. But he was also of a breed that had been considered suitable for a gentleman to keep in town since the mid-19th century, and in President Roosevelt he met the perfect human companion. Roosevelt’s cousin, Margaret “Daisy” Suckley,...
Dog Culture: Science & History
DNA Testing
Which DNA test should you choose to settle the “what’s in the mix” question?
For years, you’ve argued with your spouse that the 60-pound, black-and-tan tennis ball–chaser who takes you for walks and sweeps the coffee table clean with his tail is a German Shepherd mix, and that there is absolutely no Doberman Pinscher in there. Finally, in order to end the breed debate once and for all and restore peace to your household, you’ve decided to settle the question with a mixed-...

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