About Adolf Hitler, dogs and being a scary person

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by water, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    My objection is not based on history but on the detailed DNA analysis of dog breeds performed in this century. National Geographic published the best popular article on the subject about two years ago, but URLs to more scholarly reports have been posted on SciForums. Reconstructing the transition of wolf to dog, determining whether it happened in one place or many and at one time or many, and tracing the lineage of the different breeds since the transition were the primary purposes of the project. The dogs' DNA was carefully sifted for the genetic markers of the various wolf populations, and the markers of one and only one population were found throughout the entire species: the central Chinese wolf pack.

    Of course dogs have occasionally interbred with wolves (actually both members of the same species as I described previously) -- as well as coyotes and jackals (different species of the same genus) -- throughout their history. But there is no evidence in the DNA of any breed of consistent contamination with the genetic markers of other wolf populations. The findings do not support the theory that this was ever more than accidental "mis-mating," to use the breeders' term, much less deliberate hybridization to reintroduce the very traits that humans have spent more than ten thousand years carefully culling from the gene pool.

    There are many breeds with "wolflike" appearance and behavior to match the shepherds, particularly the Arctic working breeds. We must keep in mind the revelations of the last few years that stood centuries of wisdom on its head: there is really very little difference between wolves and dogs, and the dog breeds we have created differ more from each other than the dog does from the wolf. Almost every lupine trait that you might want to select for in a dog can be gotten from the domestic gene pool by patient selection.

    There are three significant differences between the dog and the wolf, all of which bear directly on the dog's fitness for human companionship.

    1. Dogs have smaller brains. This is consistent with the diet of a scavenger rather than a hunter. A larger brain requires too much protein. For thousands of years humans needed dogs that could subsist on a diet much like ours, which the dogs could get by keeping the campgrounds clear of garbage.

    2. Dogs don't have the blade-shaped teeth between the molars and the canines (sorry I don't know remember what dentists call them) that wolves have. Their molars are shaped for grinding food presented in manageable pieces, not for quickly ripping the flesh off of a fresh kill before the hyenas and vultures arrive. Again, dogs are poorly equipped to subsist as hunters, but well equipped to eat our food.

    3. Dogs are instinctively inclined to accept humans as pack leaders. Wolves are not. Wolf pups raised in captivity are not as trustworthy, statistically, as dogs, even though many captive wolves have indeed made fine pets.

    These are the characteristics that could be brought back into the domestic gene pool by irresponsibly cross-breeding the descendants of the wolves who chose to live among humans with their distant cousins who decided to remain in the wild. There is no sensible reason for wanting these traits in a domestic animal, no matter how macho, nefarious, or anti-social the duties he is expected to perform.
    As a dog breeder I'm quite familiar with all of our guild's dirty little secrets. We don't share them with outsiders.

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    There is no IEEE, AMA, or Bar Association to maintain standards for dog books. The AKC and its counterparts in other countries are better than nothing but that's about all I can say on their behalf.
    Yes they will. And virtually all pharaoh hound enthusiasts will tell you that their dogs are descended from the identical dogs depicted in the art of ancient Egypt. The DNA tests prove otherwise. The breed had apparently been extinct for ages. Sometime in the last two or three hundred years a group of breeders managed to crossbreed the many remaining breeds of sighthounds and succeeded in recreating the image -- but not the DNA. The genome of the pharaoh hound is as new as that of the Labrador retriever, which is to say: as new as the geographic name "Labrador." Pharaoh breeders are not lying, they believe what they are saying, and I do not for a moment doubt the honesty of shepherd breeders either. All good legends seem so obviously truthful that no one thinks to question them.
    Yes, you've got me on that one. I was being facetious in the middle of a dissertation in which I meant to be taken seriously. Sorry for that. All dogs are equally distant from the wolf. The fact that some breeds were developed earlier than others does not mean that their descendants eight thousand years later are somehow more closely related to their ancestors.

    We breeders of small dogs have to use dirty tricks to hold our own against the big guys.

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    You're right again. This time I was merely using the imprecise language that is in vogue colloquially. We all talk about the "alpha gene" as though it were a single gene. Obviously if that were true each dog would be either an alpha or one who unquestioningly follows the alpha. Whereas each individual falls somewhere on a spectrum that could more appropriately be labelled alpha-to-omega. Lhasa Apsos tend to fall more toward the alpha end; even our females are likely to walk into a park and go try to hump the biggest spike-collared stud dog they can find. We don't take them to leash-free parks.

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    Maltese -- the lap dogs of the Roman empresses -- are quite the opposite and will run at the rear of any pack if there are no humans handy to hang out with.
    Yes, and that does not include having a brain larger than its diet can support, having teeth also unsuited to that diet, and, worst of all, not naturally regarding humans as its leaders. Those are the traits that would have been acquired by hybridizing with wolves, and none of those would be remotely suitable for military duty.
    I'd venture that 95 percent of the German shepherds in this country are pets, not guard dogs. They have to be unfailingly gentle with children and other pets, a behavior that is nearly always found in herding dogs who have to be gentle but protective of their charges.

    Dogs have a huge number of chromosomes compared to humans, and it's pretty easy to bring out traits that have been suppressed for a hundred years. The original herding instinct of the German shepherd is still there after all this time and modern breeders select for it. Those who think they're still in the Kaiser's army are easy to spot as puppies and are happily snapped up by the people who want guard dogs, but they and their owners are today a minority.

    Nonetheless your remarks about the AKC not being in touch with reality are quite accurate. We don't show our Lhasa Apsos because we're trying to tame that uncivilized behavior that's a throwback to their unsupervised guard dog ancestors. (Notwithstanding the tales with which I've regaled you of some of their hard-headed antics and a few brawls worthy of an Irish wedding.) We think that selecting for that is more important than, for example, not having beautiful blue eyes or one speck of pink nose leather, which disqualifies them from the ring. The fact that the AKC even recognizes the shar-pei, a decrepit inbred population with a frightening taste for small humans, is deplorable.
    Yes they are. I did not say that they are docile and patient. I said that they were docile and patient two thousand years ago when the Romans first developed them (or perhaps discovered them among the neighboring Alpine Germanic tribes). The fact that such a sweet dog, who would be a perfect pet for people with older children, has been turned into a monster dog is a damn shame.

    People who have a legitimate need for man-eating guard animals should just get wolves. Cougars and hyenas have also been tamed well enough for this job, although one might run into a problem with the licensing authorities in this effort.

    People who want dogs for fighting and killing other animals should be rounded up and thrown into a pit full of wolves, cougars, or hyenas. Or perhaps a hundred rambunctious Lhasa Apsos who think they're still guarding the Dalai Lama's priceless treasures.
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  3. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    If wolves could be as effective they would be used.
    No wild animal has the courage dogs can have. I could make most wild animals run for cover by stomping my foot on the ground in their direction, not so with protection dogs.
    My dog is a wolf, that has been bred specifically over thousands of years to excell at physical combat and being a guardian. Obviously it will make a better guard dog than a wild wolf. In the exact same way a wolf will have a better chance making a living in the north american wilderness than my dog will, because that is what the wolf has been bred specifically for.

    Rottweilers might be more unstable than they once were, but they are no more monsterish, they are almost certainly less monsterish. If I'm not mistaken (and rottweilers aren't my specialty) rottweilers were originally butcher's dogs. Their job involved droving cattle and occassionally pinning bulls to the ground by their nose. If you think rottweilers were ever soft lumps that slept on couches all day you are mistaken. No such dog was developed in history, because there has never been a need for such an animal untill now.
    It turned out these dogs that were capable of taking down animals weighing over a tonne also excelled at taking down humans. And so they became guard dogs, they would have become extinct if they didn't.
    The only rottweilers that were sweet and docile would have come about recently from a lack of breeding for functionality. The odd rottweiler retains its working ability, some of these would be worked and all would be right, some wouldn't and they would be misdirecting their working drives towards biting stupid kids who piss them off.
    It's a damn shame, but not because anybody "made" rottweilers into hardasses, its a shame because they can't quench their instinctual desire for rough and tumble work in this modern world.
    Pitbulls, its the exact same story. The last dog in the world to be attacking anybody is a gamebred pitbull used in the pit to fight other dogs. They are remarkably sweet and overly tolerant dogs that would lick a child while it set them on fire.
    I personally don't condone dog fighting. But i can tell you that the reason pitbulls are biting people is because they are being bred for no reason and not used in the pit to fight dogs. They still have all the pent up drives of a working dog but are just expected to sit around in some neglectfull homeboys back yard. They dig themselves out and find something to bite, often a child. Pitbull attacks are NEVER committed by actual fighting dogs.
    Shar peis may be "non sporting" according to the akc, but they are ex boar hunters and dog fighters themselves. So its the same thing.
    Some recognised breeds have successfully been transformed into placid pets by the show dog community, but they had to specifically breed for that trait and it took time.
    A working dog isn't a liability. Even a guard dog, believe it or not a properly trained guard dog is one of the safest dogs in the world. It might be trained to attack humans, but this just means it knows when to attack humans and when not to, this is no guarantee with a dog that isn't a trained guard dog, and I doubt an adequately trained guard dog that has attacked a child exists.
    Scatterbred dogs and bored dogs attack children. The kennel clubs don't know it but they are scatterbreeding. Breeding for appearance is synonymous with scatterbreeding. Dogs bred to perform a function, and then used for that function, won't attack children unless attacking children is the function.
    Breeding rottweilers to be used as family pets is the problem. Or more accurately, using them for family pets before the "breeding them for that" part has been successfully accomplished is the problem.
    I certainly don't think the animal they are has been turned into anything more dangerous than it ever was. It is almost certainly a less formiddable animal than it once was. The animals are just needing to find alternate outlets for their drives.

    On dogs brains vs wolf brains;
    Aren't the brains of dogs different sizes? I mean obviously a dogue de bordeaux with a skull 3 times the size of a humans will have a larger brain than a chinese crested, and I would imagine a larger brain than a wolf too.
    Dogs eat just as much meat as wolves, some I would imagine even more because wolves will eat the entrails of herbivores while my auntie throws her dogs a couple of kangaroo legs a day. And she's not the only one. Dogs didn't evolve with pal pedigree's beef and vegetables. Hunting dogs especially would be thrown parts of what they catch- meat, and that would be it.
    If some dogs are closer related to wolves than they are other dogs, it seems wolves might have larger brains than some dogs but not all, and they would rank merely somewhere in the heap, maybe towards the top because smarts are obviously a requirement for wild living, but nothing substantial.
    This teeth issue is troubling me also. I've seen those back teeth of wolves and every dog I've had certainly appears to have the same kind, the same kind I've seen on lions too. Those long width ways meat shearing teeth. My dog has those, he desn't have molars for grinding vegetables or any such thing.
    And again, wolves are merely a kind of dog, perhaps some dogs have different teeth but many have the same as wolves. Why would all dogs be the same in a way that is different to wolves?
    Hunting breeds in particular, like the dogo argentino, are selected for breeding according to demands which are much closer to the wolves than to the lhasa apsos.
    Wouldn't their teeth be more similar to the wolves than to the lhasa apsos?

    I don't know what you mean by wolves were domesticated once, but wolf blood has undoubtedly been injected into different lines of domestic dog many times through history. Unintentionally and intentionally. All of the hunting hounds of north america, catahoulas, plotthounds, black mouthed currs etc, are known to have been intentionally crossed with wolves many times since the early 1700s.
    There is a "breed" known as the king alsatian used in the militairy now which is a cross between the german shepherd, belgian malinois and grey wolf.
    Wolves have undoubtedly been crossed with dogs all through history many times.

    One last thing, I think you're falling victim to the very trend in breeders you pointed out; embellishing the history of your breed. Or more probably believing a phony history of your breed is what you're guilty of.
    There is no way that the phenotype of the lhasa apso was developed to serve the purpose of a guard dog. There is probably tiny bits of truth in that and it gets strung together by enthusiasts.
    This is blatant speculation, but hear me out;
    I'd wager that the lhasa apso was originally a form of pest controll, the monks probably had the little critters scurrying about to catch the rats. Now, naturally the dogs would form packs with heirarchal structure, thus only the most dominant individual would breed, similar to wolf packs. Over time these little dogs probably developed quite the attitude, big dogs all through history have needed to be kept at least moderately civil, big dogs with attitudes just naturally would have been culled by their injured and angry owners. But little dogs could get away with it, and most small breeds are quite cuntish (for lack of a better word... ok so i didn't try) for this reason- they were allowed to be.
    Anyway, then one day some thief was probably thwarted by these now viscious little rat dogs and from that day on the monks joked about their pint sized "guard dogs". And eventually chinese whispers lead to people claiming lhasa apsos were specifically bred to guard the temples of monks and putting that on their websites.
    This story I just made up on the spot, and yet it is infinitely more feasible than monks seriously going about selecting for lhasa apso-like traits to make effective guard dogs.
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  5. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    My thruppence, not that anyone is likely to pay any attention, is that our dogs have never acted like that german shepherd, at least to us. I have seen other dogs act like that when faced with a stranger wanting to pet them, but do not recall seeing any acting like that when faced with their owner.
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  7. water the sea Registered Senior Member

    Everyone here, you should see the film; the photographs may be misleading.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Much of what you say is thought-provoking and you've done a good job of finding the lapses in my writing style. I hope you're a professional editor.

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    Of course you're right about wolves, in principle. Still, wolves are the same pack animals that dogs are and they are fiercely loyal to their pack. A domesticated wolf would probably be as selflessly and bravely devoted to the defense of his human pack mates as a dog, but you're right that there's no reason to suspect he would as good, much less better, than the breeds bred and trained for guard duty. The premise (which you articulately argue against further down) that wolves are on the average slightly more intelligent than dogs might give them a slight advantage, but who knows.
    Hmm. I've read in several places that they were originally draft animals. Large dogs were often used throughout history where a goat or an ass might have been just as well suited for the job if they were available and already domesticated in the region in question -- such as North America, where the Indians used dogs to haul travoises. The rottweiler story could just be one of those legends that we've both become wary of. You'd think that the meticulously bureaucratic Romans would have records of their work with rottweilers, perhaps it will turn up (or has).
    Now you're engaging in the hyperbole that you've caught me on. Lap dogs have been in demand since people have existed who lived lives in which lap dogs had a place. Such people have existed since the earliest days of civilization. The digest of the DNA research I read specifically named the Lhasa Apso, the shi zi (shih-tzu in 19th century spelling), and the Pekinese, as three of earliest breeds created around 6,000BCE. This corresponds to the time when the first cities were about a thousand years old and had enough merchants, artists, teachers, and bureaucrats to support a market in small dogs whose only job was companionship. The Maltese is well documented in ancient European history as the lap dog of the aristocracy, although there's no proof that it actually originated in Malta. The Aztecs already had their little chihuahuas when the Europeans invaded Aztlán, and chihuahua DNA has been proven to be of relatively recent Chinese vintage, descended neither from the dogs brought by the second wave of Asian migrants in 4,000BCE, who, unlike the first wave, already had dogs when they departed, nor from a domestication of native North American wolves that never occurred. This leaves a big mystery about pre-Columbian contact between Chinese explorers and the Indians, but it proves that the desire for small companion dogs was fairly universal in human civilizations. (And no, I've never heard of evidence being found that they were bred for sacrifice.)
    I didn't mean to imply anything different. All dog people know that. We don't want pitbulls in our neighborhoods because they go around killing our dogs and cats, not our children.
    Interesting. You seem to know what you're talking about. The scuttlebutt I've heard is that they were relatively recently (admittedly, in China that could mean a thousand years) bred down from chows, who as you say are one of the least reliable companion breeds in the world. That of course doesn't really conflict with your version of their history.
    You don't have to tell me that. We live with a pack of small dogs and a bunch of parrots and other tasty little birds out in the forest with the bears and cougars. We have a 90-lb Anatolian Guardian who keeps everyone safe. Archeology shows that they've been protecting livestock in the Middle East for at least 4,000 years. They're purely guardians, not herding dogs. In Africa they've been breeding them a little larger and using them as a Greenpeace-approved way of keeping farmers from having to kill lions by simply driving them off. In the U.S. they've proven themselves against wolves, coyotes, boars, bears, and cougars. Yet they're as gentle as a lamb with humans and the rest of their pack. One of our less civilized Lhasas kept attacking her and after a couple of years of this she finally picked her up in her mouth and tossed her across the room, doing a bit of damage, but that just proves how far they have to be pushed to become aggressive.
    I've never heard the term before but it's a good one. In the 1960s and 1970s, when Americans began having smaller (or no) families and moving into tiny apartments, Lhasa Apsos became very sought-after because of their solitude-tolerance and relatively inactive nature. The puppy mill farmers got hold of the breed and ruined it. There was one year in the mid-1980s when more Americans were bitten by Lhasa Apsos than any other breed. We've been working diligentlly for fifteen years and about four generations, with a "virtual kennel" that kept the good bloodlines pure, to weed out those throwback traits and turn them back into dogs that would have been welcome in a community of Buddhists.
    A huge proportion of the brain cells are devoted to controlling the body and its functions, so what we think of as "raw intelligence," especially in animals with much lower IQs than ours, is contained in a relatively small volume of the brain. I'm told by zoologists who know more about this than I do that the amount of brain cells required to exhibit what we think of as intelligence is just as proportional to overall size as the rest of the brain. I don't understand it but I believe it. Our African Grey parrot, with a brain the size of a walnut, is the most intelligent animal I've ever met, certainly a better problem solver and more curious than a few humans I've known.
    Dogs were hunters only during the first two or three thousand years of our relationship with them. Even then, one of the things that attracted the particular individuals who came into our camps was the bounty of garbage on the ground. The animals who had a predilection for scavenging selected themselves out of the pack, and the dedicated hunters stayed aloof. Once humans and their dogs erected permanent settlements, discovered agriculture, and began to breed prolifically, not to mention becoming considerably less active, our diets became less protein-intensive. Throughout the history of civilization I think it's safe to say that the periods when meat was something of a luxury far outnumber the ones in which everyone feasted on flesh. Even as recently as the Dark Ages, when Europe descended into unspeakable squalor and the concept of public health was unknown, dogs were kept around as much to cleanse the floors and the streets of garbage as they were to control vermin, a job traditionally pre-empted in cities by cats. Dogs have been living on a lower-protein diet than wolves for many millennia.
    I've got no problem with that. Our one Maltese is almost as clever as the parrots, but our entire pack of Lhasa Apsos don't have ten IQ points total. You'll never see one trained to do tricks.
    I'll have to concede to your experience there. I've never had the pleasure of looking into the mouth of a wolf. I just saw the photographs in the article.
    I went into that in my original post. You may poke holes in the arguments, but for what they're worth they're based on the need for dogs to be content to live on a scavenger's diet rather than a hunters, and to instinctively accept the authority of humans.
    It takes a great many generations to change the shape of teeth, more even than bones. Longer than the two or three hundred year history of the dogo argentino.
    I don't disagree that there has been some interbreeding. I'm merely parroting to you what I read in the summary of the research: There is no statistically significant vector of the genetic markers of any wolf population except central China in any breed of dog that was studied. Since it would obviously have been impossible to prove or disprove interbreeding with wolves in the Chinese breeds, the possibility was exhaustively explored in the European breeds. They not only expected to find the evidence because of all these legends, but they also knew that their research would be challenged by certain European dog fanciers who are convinced that their dogs have more wolf blood than others. The research simply did not support that hypothesis. I don't know what else to say. I'm no geneticist, perhaps there were huge errors in the research methods that will come to light. I'm just telling you what the accepted wisdom among zoologists is today, and it has more going for it than the largely oral history handed down by dog breeders and embellished with every retelling, made more believable by the occasional instance of actual hybridization.
    Yes, your scenario makes sense. Lhasa Apsos were almost certainly bred originally to be pets, and it wasn't until about 1,000CE that they appeared in Tibet. At that point the monks, who might have brought them over to be companions may have discovered that the hard-headed personality they were permitted to develop would be handy as a burglar alarm. I doubt that pest control was ever in their job description because their only keen sense is hearing. They have very poor noses compared to most dogs and their eyesight would qualify as legally blind in most countries. That makes them good watchdogs and not much else.

    I don't have any real argument with most of what you say, except for the few specifics where I believe I happen to have more information and the occasional point of logic. You've corrected my inaccuracies and disabused me of some off-base assumptions. Your skeptcisim of the DNA research is nothing improper. These days a lot of bad science has been performed in the cause of nefarious governments and corporations. It's hard to trust scientists any more.
  9. neoclassical Banned Banned

    Yes, probably because all other breeding occurred after that domestication. I think the history goes that the first dogs were domesticated in the Caucasus, but since then, many species have been bred in local areas.

    As usual, the modern "scientists" don't understand speciation or sub-species.
  10. water the sea Registered Senior Member

    If anyone's interested: The National Geographic article that Fraggle Rocker mentioned was published in the January 2002 issue, "Wolf to Woof".

    With lots of fancy pictures and practical stuff.

    Oh, and ... this thread is about dogs and humans -- in regards to the way they behave around eachother for reasons of possible mistreatment.
  11. neoclassical Banned Banned

    Seems to me every discernible group likes its own, so it can remain a group. Pragmatic nature

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  12. Xev Registered Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker:
    Ah, my apologies: I misread.
    Sorry I hadn't time to reply to your post - in any case, quite an informative exchange between you and the good Doctor Lunatic.

    Ha, which is why I edited that disclaimer into it. I don't know whether it's true or not - I would not be suprised, but then people have an overly romantic view of the wolf.

    Couldn't agree more. The AKC is much more concerned with docile animals that show well than with the actual purity of bloodlines or the fitness of the breed.
  13. neoclassical Banned Banned

    The AKC exists to make profit, not do what's right for the animals.
  14. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Well, from the cowering bow of my mongrel when I reach out to touch her you would think I was cruel to her behind doors, but I love her to tears.
    All my dogs.
    Its a matter of temperament- she's simply, like me, averse to the human caress. What's more she's the most viscious of my pooches and her stolidity is a reason why- something common to the sheppherd breed.

    Furthermore, Hitler, being a diplomat, was not around his dog long enough for him to no longer register as a stranger when he made time.
    Eva Braun- she was like a stranger to him when on camera but we know this is clearly not the case.
    He was in fact only boorish when on stage- but who wouldn't in order to rouse the fury and pride of Germany?

    The patchy mold in cowboy boots growing in teh oval office - that's a fucking tard.

    Oh, women.
    Where *would* they be without drippy hearsay?
    If you haven't read any of Lenin's books, nor for that matter know anything of Russia's history, then don't comment.

    Those are bulldogs, the flat nose bred specifically for this task of baiting a bull by the nose without its own getting in the way.
    Which is...why they call them bulldogs.
  15. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    Yes, but there were many types of "bull dogs", one for each part of the eurasian landmass just about. The rottweiler descends from the german one. And bulldogs actually came a bit later on than butchers dogs. Some king or something saw the butcher's dogs at work and found it such an entertaining spectacle that bullbaiting was born and then butchers dogs were taken aside and bred specifically for that task, these dogs became bulldogs (and later the genetic train crashes that are the kcs' "English Bulldog").
    Bulldogs evolved from a rottweiler-style dog. But then there's no way of knowing how much the rottweiler has changed since it's butcher's dog days, probably quite a bit since it is no longer bred according to the demands of droving and catching cattle.

    As for draft dogs, I've heard the same story except it was the english mastiff, not the rottweiler.
    I really don't know and just woke up so I'll come back later.
  16. what768 Guest

    Animals sense the true person, especially lions (I kid you not!). They don't care about the useless masks people have, they rely on what's in peoples hearts.
  17. Xev Registered Senior Member

    " The AKC exists to make profit, not do what's right for the animals."

    It's a club. Profit is a motive, but it's a club for effete individuals interested more in dog-shows than in bloodlines -- typically American, more interested in cloak than in content. There are good British and German organizations for dog-breeders.

    "Animals sense the true person, especially lions (I kid you not!). They don't care about the useless masks people have, they rely on what's in peoples hearts."

    Then Hitler was right.
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    No. The first dogs were domesticated (actually it was voluntary, but that's a topic covered at great length on other threads) in what is now China. That was one of the major findings of the DNA analysis. That gene pool of wolves is still intact in China because the expansion of human settlements broke them up into non-contiguous populations. To repeat for the third time: there is no statistically significant incidence of the genetic markers of wolf populations from any other area in today's dogs.

    Since then it was the dogs who spread more or less freely throughout the world, as the companions of human migrants and as trade goods, while the wolves were gradually reduced to staying within specific regions.

    Many breeds (not "many species," the single species Canis familiaris includes all dogs and all wolves and possibly dingoes too) were indeed bred in other areas, particularly in the areas where other civilizations sprang up or spread out to: Egypt, Mesopotamia, later the Caucasus and still later Europe. But they were all descended from that original domesticated wolf pack in east-central Asia, not from the local feral canines except, as no one disputes, the accidental result of inter-species dating.

    I don't see any reason to accuse scientists of not understanding the process they defined: speciation. It was quite a stroke of iconoclasm to break with thousands of years of orthodoxy and declare that wolves and dogs are a single species because their DNA is more closely related than that of a man from Iceland and a man from Borneo. We can hardly complain about clearing that up. I've always wondered how a new species could have developed in less than 20,000 years and the final answer is that it didn't.

    The scientists do a proper job of sub-speciation too. Several sub-species of Canis lupus are defined where the populations have been separated for thousands of years. The dog is now classified as subspecies Canis lupus familiaris.

    What I do have a problem with is the current chaos in the redefinition of genus, which is also a byproduct of DNA analysis having become relatively cheap and fast. How can they change their minds and tell us that housecats and ocelots belong in two different genera, when people have been hybridizing them for at least twenty years and are now into the second or third generation of ocicats? The definition of "genus" used to be a group of species that could interbreed and have live, healthy offspring, even though under normal circumstances in the wild they might not choose to do so.

    We also breed birds and have learned that captive breeding programs have succeeded in producing hybrids of the blue and gold macaw (genus Ara) with the gigantic hyacinth macaw (genus Anodorhynchus). It seems to me that it's time to reclassify the big guy but I don't see any ornithologists taking the initiative to do that.
    I can tell that you live in a country with no bears. Which is sad because second to the dog, the bear is probably the most important animal archetype and occurs in the dreams, legends, and art of all cultures. You would not run off a bear with your foot-stomping technique. The way to survive an encounter with a bear who isn't too hungry is to fall to the ground and grovel; they really enjoy respect. (Forest rangers give this advice to inexperienced hikers, although if you see them from far enough off you might drive them away by simply turning up the volume on your boom box.) If it's a polar bear, just forget it and say your prayers.
  19. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    Unless it was a black bear, they're usually fairly timid, except for those that are urbanised and used to hand outs from people.
    But yeah there would be some animals where the old foot stomp wouldn't work, probably even some wolves. But specifically bred guard dogs would be a safer bet guarding your property because they know what to do and can tolerate unnatural levels of punishment before backing down from an assailant.

    I agree that it is sad, australian animals are very uninspiring frankly.
    It's funny you say that, because just the other day I was watching a cartoon with all european animals, ie foxes, badgers, weasels, rabbits, boar etc and I realised that ever since I was a small child I've been fascinated by that particular collaboration of creatures. It gives me a wierd feeling to see european woodlands and european animals within them. Even when I see australian areas which are similar in appearaance to european woodlands.
    It's as though, due to my european ancestry, I am instinctually ingrained to expect to see those animals and that kind of landscape in my life.
    Many african americans go to africa and come back describing what an amazing experience it was, the assumption is that it's because they are educated and can consciously realise that's where their people come from, but I think it might be more on a subconscious level, an instinctual appreciation of the environment that crafted the type of animal they are. Maybe.

    Yes rosa, I know I'm off topic, sorry.
    I think we've known for a long time that dogs can sense when people are bad. They are experts at reading body language, to a degree we couldn't even understand. This is an animal that is just as social as us, needs to live and work with a pack of animals and yet has no spoken language, so they've needed to become particularly adept at reading body language. Slimeball McStinkbag isn't used to covering his body language because the humans he interacts with don't really pay much attention. But dogs always are watching like hawks and "listening" to your movements and posture, also tone is listened to more analytically by dogs than humans, and undoubtedly scents we give off say more than we know.
    We humans have tapped into "dog language" to an extent (anyone who knows a thing or 2 about dog training anyway). We know how to read their postures and know how to communicate through our own postures. But it would be foolish to think we know everything they know about their own language.
    And also dogs can litterally smell histories on tennis balls and your hands and whatever else. Exactly what they can smell will probably always remain a mystery to us.
    We are vision experts, we can be fairly confident that we are seeing the world the way it is. But thats it. There's a whole nother world of smells and sounds going on that we are largely oblivious too.
    Actually, I've heard the sky is laced with some kind of light or field or something that only a certain kind of ant can see and they use it to navigate, so we aren't seeing the world as it is, anyone know more about that(the ant light or field or magnetic uv something or other??) ?
  20. water the sea Registered Senior Member

    Why do you touch her then, if you two are both sharing the aversion to the human caress?

    I grew up with cats and I have spent a lot of time around farm animals. And I can tell, from my own experience, that this "it's up to the breed/species of the animal" does not hold true, at least not for me.

    One can tell, intuitively, what the animal is about, just as animals can tell what the human in their presence is about.

    True. But no dog ever bowed down to me or my caresses.


    Oh, and as for animals in Australia: Do you have wild pigs? Thank you very much. A wild pig pretty much equals a bear in practice. Also, you can't shy away a snake by stomping on the ground, can you?
  21. Xev Registered Senior Member

    "One can tell, intuitively, what the animal is about, just as animals can tell what the human in their presence is about."

    I didn't want to be the first to say this, but anyone who's had a dog instinctively react defensively to a minority race (read black or hispanic) would see where that comment leads.

    "The way to survive an encounter with a bear who isn't too hungry is to fall to the ground and grovel; they really enjoy respect. (Forest rangers give this advice to inexperienced hikers, although if you see them from far enough off you might drive them away by simply turning up the volume on your boom box.)"

    That sounds like a bad way to lose time. Grovel? Innovative, but it's generally recommended to simply adopt a non-threatening posture.
    Like Lou said, the black bear is a shy animal that will run away most times if you charge it.
    Grizzlies are rather shy. They'll attack if they're hungry or you're trespassing, but generally they leave you alone.

    "Also, you can't shy away a snake by stomping on the ground, can you?"

    You can, even venomous ones.
  22. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    Or you could just stand still so they don't even know you're there.
    Who would have a guard-snake anyway?
  23. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    Yes, dogs seriously are racist.
    Every dog I've had has either tried to kill or rape(once, yes, rape. Visciously and uncontrollably) every "coloured" person they've ever seen.
    Don't know what that's about.
    Actually, 1 dog got used to a black girl that would come over alot, "used to" in the sense that he eventually, after much longer than usual, stopped trying to kill her. But he would still act crazily and make whining noises whenever she was there.
    I wonder how dogs owned by black people feel?

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