The seminar begins with an overview: the Big Bang, the rise of life on Earth, the major extinctions, the rise of mammals and appearance of the wolf which, with domestication, gave rise to all breeds of dogs. Emphasis will be on the dog's place in nature and his association with humans. As a life long student of natural history and one who appreciates the constant changes during the Earth's long geological time, I will position canids within the rise of mammals after the last great extinction.
I will also discuss the natural history, behavior and mythology of wolves and how humans domesticated the wolf, which became our best friend, the dog.
Canid anatomy and physiology, with an emphasis on dogs' senses, social development and maturation will be reviewed. We will explore the development of breeds, emphasizing both the pros and cons of specific genetic shaping. A few of the more important canid diseases and zoonosis will be covered.
Finally, I will discuss working dogs, with a special focus on long distance racing sled dogs, the world's greatest endurance athletes.