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Dog >>> From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a canid that is known as man's best friend. The dog was the first domesticated animal and has been widely kept as a working, hunting, and pet companion. According to recent coarse estimates, there are currently between 700 million and one billion dogs, making them the most abundant predators in the world.
The term "domestic dog" is generally used for both of the domesticated and feral varieties. The English word dog comes from Middle English dogge, from Old English docga, a "powerful dog breed". The term may possibly derive from Proto-Germanic *dukkōn, represented in Old English finger-docce ("finger-muscle"). The word also shows the familiar petname diminutive -ga also seen in frogga "frog", picga "pig", stagga "stag", wicga "beetle, worm", among others. The term dog may ultimately derive from the earliest layer of Proto-Indo-European vocabulary, reflecting the role of the dog as the earliest domesticated animal.
In 14th-century England, hound (from Old English: hund) was the general word for all domestic canines, and dog referred to a subtype of hound, a group including the mastiff. It is believed this "dog" type was so common, it eventually became the prototype of the category "hound". By the 16th century, dog had become the general word, and hound had begun to refer only to types used for hunting. Hound, cognate to German Hund, Dutch hond, common Scandinavian hund, and Icelandic hundur, is ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European *kwon- "dog", found in Sanskrit kukuur, Welsh ci (plural cwn), Latin canis, Greek kýōn, and Lithuanian šuõ.
In breeding circles, a male canine is referred to as a dog, while a female is called a bitch (Middle English bicche, from Old English bicce, ultimately from Old Norse bikkja). A group of offspring is a litter. The father of a litter is called the sire, and the mother is called the dam. Offspring are, in general, called pups or puppies, from French poupée, until they are about a year old. The process of birth is whelping, from the Old English word hwelp (cf. German Welpe, Dutch welp, Swedish valpa, Icelandic hvelpur).The term "whelp" can also be used to refer to the young of any canid, or as a (somewhat archaic) alternative to "puppy".
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