Which animal was domesticated first – the cat or the dog?

Which animal was domesticated first – the cat or the dog?

Domesticated animals are those that have been tamed and bred by humans. Humans began keeping animals as companion pets (such as cats and dogs), work animals (such as horses, donkeys, and camels to carry things), and livestock (such as cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats for food and skin, fur, or wool). 

It is not easy to tell exactly when different species of animals were domesticated. Domestication occurred gradually, so there is no exact moment in history.

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The Bush Dog (Speothos venaticus) is a rare canine mammal in the Canidae family of dogs. It is most closely related to the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) or the African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus). 

The Bush Dog has soft, long, brown-tan fur with a lighter reddish colour on its head, neck, back, and tail. It has a bushy tail. It has short legs. It has a short snout (nose) and small ears. It has 38 teeth. It has partially webbed toes, which enables it to swim. 

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RESEARCH: Pet dogs respond to verbs, nouns, and terms of endearment

Current research demonstrates that pet dogs respond to verbs, nouns, and terms of endearment. Also, pet dogs respond to a range between 15-215 words or phrases – with an average of 89 words, documents New Scientist in December 2021.

Researchers Sophie Jacques and Catherine Reeve at Dalhousie University in Canada conducted a study of dogs and an itinerary of words to determine how many words, on average, dogs respond to. Rather than defining how many words dogs ‘know’ the researchers studied how many they ‘respond to’ – which means that the dog performed a trick or obedience behaviour, or performed an action such as tail wagging, or began looking at something or a direction, or search around for an item.

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RESEARCH: Animals have played an important health role during the COVID-19 pandemic

A 2020 research study indicates that animals, mainly pets, have played an important health role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers at the University of South Australia studied the effects of animals during the pandemic when human-to-human contact was restricted to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Researcher Dr. Janette Young said, “To fill the void of loneliness and provide a buffer against stress, there has been a global upsurge in people adopting dogs and cats from animal shelters during lockdowns. Breeders have also been inundated with demands for puppies quadrupling some waiting lists.”

It is estimated that more than half the global population share their lives with one or more pets. The health benefits have been widely reported, but little data exists regarding the specific benefits that pets bring to humans in terms of touch. 

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Eye contact: the difference between cats and dogs

Most animals can look at other animals and humans in the eyes. Pet animals do. However, there is a difference, in general, in the way cats and dogs make eye contact with humans.

A cat makes quick, fleeting eye contact with a human. A cat looks at a human in the eyes and then looks away quickly, and then may look back again. This is known as a ‘less intrusive glance’ or a fleeting glance. 

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Tasmanian Tiger

The Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is an extinct Australian marsupial mammal. It was also called Tasmanian Wolf. It was not a tiger, nor a wolf, nor a dog (canid). It was a dog-like animal with stripes called a Thylacine. Extinct means that it is no longer living. The species has died out.

The Tasmanian Tiger was sandy-coloured with short soft hair and dark stripes on its back and its long tail. It had a pouch (similar to kangaroos and other marsupial mammals) to care for its young. Both male and female Tasmanian Tigers had a pouch, but only females had mammary glands in her pouch. It has a dog-like snout, round ears, and dark eyes. It had dog-like paws.

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African Wild Dog

The African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus pictus) is also called the African Hunting Dog or African Painted Dog. It is a mammal, and a canid.

The African Wild Dog looks like a dog with large round ears. It has black, white, and yellow-brown fur in patches. Its face is black with a tan forehead. It has dark eyes. Its tail is white and bushy.

It does not have dewclaws which other dogs have. Dewclaws are small structures, like a digit, at the back of each leg, above the foot. Unlike other dogs, it has no under-fur; it only has stiff bristle-haired fur on its body.

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Maned Wolf

The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. It is not a wolf. It is not a fox. It is not a dog, or a jackal. It is a unique mammal, often called a golden dog. The Maned Wolf has a distinctive smell, and is often called a skunk wolf.

The Maned Wolf is reddish-orange brown with long, thin, black legs, and a black mane. Its fur, called a coat, is long, with a white tuft at the tip of its tail, and a white patch under its chin.

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RESEARCH: Dogs help improve the health of people – and some more than others

Dogs help improve the health and longevity of people’s lives – and some dogs help more than others, says a new study. New research shows that certain dog breeds are more beneficial for humans than other breeds.

Previous studies have shown that dogs, and dog ownership, can reduce people’s risk of heart disease. A study published in Scientific Reports confirms this and explores which dog breeds are more conducive to improved health for humans.

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CREATURE FEATURE: East African Black-Backed Jackal

The East African Black-Backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas schmidti) is a canid in the Canidae family. It is related to the Bat-Eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis) and the Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus).

It looks like a fox or dog, but with large pointed ears, and a pointed snout (nose). Canis means dog, and mesomelas means middle black. It has reddish fur, a white chest, and a distinct black back from neck to bushy tail. The Black-Backed Jackal trots nimbly on its long legs. It rests in holes in the ground, rock crevices, or tall grass.

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The Dingo (Canis dingo or Canis lupus dingo) is mammal, and a wild (non-domesticated) canid – a member of the canine or dog family. Therefore, they are similar to dogs, but they have a longer nose, longer canine teeth, and a flatter head than most dogs.

Unlike dogs that have many colours, the dingo only has sandy coloured fur with white patches. Its fur is soft and short. They have a bushy tail. The hotter their habitat, the bushier their tail.

Dingoes are native to Australia, where they live in a range of habitats, such as deserts, grasslands, and forests.

They are the largest terrestrial predator in Australia, and they are the size of a medium-sized domestic dog.

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Dog and Pony Show

What is a dog and pony show?

A dog and pony show is an event that has been organized to gain people’s support or to hope that they buy something.

For example, a celebrity who wants to promote their film to a group of fans or journalists is said to put on a dog and pony show by talking about the movie or giving away free products from the movie.


Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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