Dogs have been domesticated by man and are trained to assist in many ways.
The dog family consists of 14 genera and about 35 species occurring almost throughout the world except New Zealand, Australia and Oceania. The dingo was introduced into Australia by the aboriginal immigrants.
The dog family have an acutely developed sense of smell and can follow the tracks of their prey. Representatives of the family include wolf with the closely similar jackal and coyote and also many species of foxes.
All species, which are related to domestic dogs, are intelligent and bright-eyed, restless and cunning. They have well-shaped head, long pointed muzzles, upstanding ears, bushy tails, and deep-chested bodies. They are especially adapted for hunting and catching live food prey through an extended chase. Some species have extraordinary speed and endurance.
Less typical Canids are the Raccoon dog of Japan. It is the only winter-hibernating canid, which can swim and catch fish quite well.
The tiny Fennec fox of North Africa is well adapted to hot sand-dune desert. It lives mainly on lizards and locusts.
The arctic fox is found in north Polar Regions. They eat any vegetable or animal matter but mainly live on lemmings.They do not hibernate even in mid-winter. Most of the Canidae form stable Pair bonds. The gestation period varies between 49 to 65 days.
Four species of fox are found in our region, including the Tibetan race of the red fox, in southern Makran region of Baluchistan, Rupells fox has adapted to hunt over soft sanddunes.
Jackals tend to be sociable. At dusk, wails from jackals could be heard as they come out of their daytime burrows. Jackals are very adaptable. They hunt for frogs, eat ripening fruit and even raid the town refuse-dump for kitchen waste. Besides this, they eat beetles, grasshoppers, small rodents. Two to seven pups are born in winter and spring months.
The dog family is known for its intelligence. Trained domestic dogs are used to pull cars in Belgium, they collect and drive sheep flocks over mountains, sledges in pole region besides being faithful guards. They are also companions and faithful friends for many otherwise lonely humans.
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