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A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution

Biologists, breeders and trainers, and champion sled dog racers, Raymond and Lorna Coppinger have more than four decades of experience with literally thousands of dogs. Offering a scientifically informed perspective on canines and their relations with humans, the Coppingers take a close look at eight different types of dogs—household, village, livestock guarding, herding, sled-pulling, pointing, retrieving, and hound. They argue that dogs did not evolve directly from wolves, nor were they trained by early humans; instead they domesticated themselves to exploit a new ecological niche: Mesolithic village dumps. Tracing the evolution of today’s breeds from these village dogs, the Coppingers show how characteristic shapes and behaviors—from pointing and baying to the sleek shapes of running dogs—arise from both genetic heritage and the environments in which pups are raised.

For both dogs and humans to get the most out of each other, we need to understand and adapt to the biological needs and dispositions of our canine companions, just as they have to ours.

352 pages | 27 halftones, 9 charts | 6 x 9 | © 2001, 2002

Biological Sciences: Behavioral Biology

Table of Contents

Preface: The Right Kind of Dog
Introduction: Studying Dogs
Part I. The Evolution of the Basic Dog: Commensalism
Chapter 1. Wolves Evolve into Dogs
Chapter 2. Village Dogs
Chapter 3. Natural Breeds
Part II. Working Dogs and People: Mutualism
Chapter 4. Developmental Environments
Chapter 5. The Physical Conformation of a Breed
Chapter 6. Behavioral Conformation
Part III. Are People the Dog’s Best Friend? Parasitism, Amensalism, and Dulosis
Chapter 7. Household Dogs
Chapter 8. Assistance Dogs
Part IV. The Tail Wags the Dog
Chapter 9. What’s in the Name Canis familiaris?
Chapter 10. The Age of the Dog
Chapter 11. Why Dogs Look the Way They Do
Chapter 12. Conclusion

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