The Dog is a Wolf

Dogs have the same number and shape of teeth as wolves

Genetically, the dog, Canis lupus Familiaris, is very closely related to the wolf, Over the years, through breeding, humans have developed different breeds of dogs and have shaped dogs to live in our lifestyle. The dog has become dependent on us for survival (Mech, 1991). Although dogs look different than wolves, they have the same number and shape of teeth (42) indicative of tearing and shredding meat (Coppinger and Coppinger, 2001). Characteristics of a carnivores teeth are sharp and jagged, unlike an herbivore whose molars are flat to break up vegetable matter.

As we have already established, the wolf is a carnivore

Dogs have also been reclassified as Canis lupus Familiaris, by the Smithsonian Institute (Wayne, R.K. “What is a Wolfdog?”, placing it in the same species as the grey wolf, Canis lupus. The dog is, by all scientific standards, anatomy and evolutionary history, a domesticated wolf (Feldhamer, G.A. 1999. Mammology: Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. McGraw-Hill. pg 472.). Those who insist dogs did not descend from the grey wolf and are carnivorous, must disprove the litany of scientific evidence that concludes the grey wolf is the ancestor of dogs. Since a dog’s internal physiology does not differ from a wolf, dogs have the same physiological and nutritional needs as those carnivorous predators, which, remember, “need to ingest all the major parts of their herbivorous prey, except the plants in the digestive system” to “grow and maintain their own bodies” (Mech, L.D. 2003. Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology, and Conservation.). The next myth will discuss a dog’s “changed needs” to cooked food more fully.

Dogs are so much like wolves physiologically

They are frequently used in wolf studies as a physiological model for wolf body processes (Mech, L.D. 2003. Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation). Additionally, dogs and wolves share 99.8% of their mitochondrial DNA (Wayne, R.K. Molecular Evolution of the Dog Family). This next quote is from Robert K. Wayne, Ph.D., and his discussion on canine genetics 

The internal workings and physiology did not change in the domestication process of dogs

Lastly Carnivore’s jaws are hinged to be able to consume large pieces of meat where herbivores jaws grind sideways to break up their food (Olsen, 2010). Dogs, as well as cats, still retain their carnivorous features. They still have teeth and claws designed to catch, rip, and tear meat. Their eye position is still forward on their skull to focus on prey animals, whereas, their prey have eyes set to the sides of their skulls to watch for attacks (Schultz, 1998). The internal workings and physiology did not change in the domestication process of dogs. Although we changed their appearance and mind, we did not change their requirement for food and exercise (Baker, 2002). For thousands of years the domesticated dog survived on whatever food was available. There was no one to make sure their diet was balanced, complete and free from bacteria.

Dogs are scavengers

They lived in a biologically appropriate environment. In the wild, a wolf’s diet consists of bones and meat, organs, decaying material, and partially digested vegetable matter in a raw food state. They even eat faeces (Billinghurst, n.d.). According to Billinghurst (n.d.), “Wolves actually obtain healthy bowel bacteria along with proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, and fibre through faeces.” A species natural food is biologically adapted to their heritage from thousands of years ago. Dogs are scavengers and have lived in a world of bacteria and germs for thousands of years. They have eaten dead animals and carrion and have thrived through generations of dogs. Our dogs like to bury bones and objects in the ground to be dug up later and chewed on.

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