"The Red Cross dogs rendered invaluable service in feeding and aiding the wounded. Each one carried a first-aid kit either strapped to its collar or in a small saddle pouch. When they found a soldier who was unconscious, they were taught to bring back his helmet, handkerchief, or some other small article as a token of the discovery. Many of them learned wholly to ignore the dead, but to bark loudly whenever they came upon a wounded man." [pg. 73]Published in 1919 by the National Geographic Society, this "study" remarks on the history of dogs but does little to dive deeply into the science behind this subspecies of Canidae. Canis lupus familiaris are a subspecies of Canis lupus or Gray Wolf. Dogs are one of 38 subspecies of C. lupus along with a series of wolves and the feral dog, otherwise known as dingos . Dogs, dingos, and wolves can all interbreed and share morphological and behavioral similarities including being social, highly expressive, and (depending on your dog of course) intelligent animals. It is not certain when exactly dogs were first domesticated but recent evidence points to one of the oldest known domesticated dogs to 33,000 years ago . A study from 2010 points to the Middle East as the most likely locality of origin of the subspecies .
As pack animals, dogs lend themselves well to a close relationship with humans and have been highly selectively bred to serve a variety of roles. From the tiny Chihuahua to the Great Dane, nearly 280 official breeds are recognized by the Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club combined. Baynes and Fuertes discuss over 60 breeds in their book highlighting such classic favorites as the Collies, Greyhound, and Terriers (poor kitty!).
As all members of the C. lupus group can interbreed there are a wealth of possibilities for mix-breeds and as any "mutt" owner will tell you they make for some fantastic companions, bringing some the of the best of multiple breeds together. Popular mixes of today include Labradoodles (Labrador + Poodle), Puggles (Pug + Beagle), and well you figure it out… (Shih Tzu + Poodle).
No dog post would be complete without cute pictures, thus I bring you some of the best shots of our very own BHL Staff pooches:
|Maggie taken by Tim Ashman|
|Crash & Biscuit|
|Lilly, Maddy, & Bertie|
-By Bianca Crowley, BHL Collections Coordinator
 http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=180596 accessed 6-14-2013.
 Druzhkova AS, Thalmann O, Trifonov VA, Leonard JA, Vorobieva NV, et al. (2013) Ancient DNA Analysis Affirms the Canid from Altai as a Primitive Dog. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57754. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057754
 vonHoldt, Bridgett; et al. (2010-03-17). "Genome-wide SNP and haplotype analyses reveal a rich history underlying dog domestication". Nature 464 (7290): 898–902. Bibcode:2010Natur.464..898V. doi:10.1038/nature08837. PMID 20237475.