Monday, April 28, 2014

Wolves and Dogs Falling in Love

Livestock guarding dogs, who's sole job is to keep wolves away from domestic sheep, have apparently been falling in love with the enemy and producing hybrid pups in the Caucasus Mountains.  Researchers looked at DNA from both local wolf packs and guard dog populations and found that ten percent of all offspring were the result of romantic co-mingling between the two canids.  In the Caucasus Mountains dogs are left with herds of sheep in remote areas without human oversight for long periods at a time.  Left to their own devices, they apparently consort with the enemy.

If you can't be with the one you love, love the one your with.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Aging in Dogs - It's a Mystery

In mammals, the general longevity rule is that the larger the mammal, the longer it lives. For example, elephants live about 65 years, and rodents only about four.

But in dogs, it's the opposite. The smallest breeds live more than twice as long as the largest breeds.

The aging contradiction in dogs is a mystery waiting to be solved. That's why Cornell University, in collaboration with schools across the country, is creating the first research network to study canine aging with hopes of applying findings to questions about human aging.

Cornell's Adam Boyko, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, and his colleagues will lay the groundwork for a nationwide Canine Longitudinal Aging Study (CLAS) to find out how a dog's aging process is shaped by genes and environment. Read more about the study here.

The Bark, Issue 74, Summer 2013

I interviewed Adam Boyko about a different study, The Village Dog Genetic Diversity Project, published in the 2013 summer issue of The BarkScientists Searching for Clues to the First Dog: Village dogs' genetic code may hold clues to canine evolution and health.  It seems like Dr. Boyko is always asking the most interesting questions.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard

Troop, the best coon dog in northwest Alabama, was laid to rest in the 1930s, at what is now the Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard. In 1937 Key Underwood gave his dog the best burial place he could think of -  a popular hunting camp for coon hunters and coon dogs. It was a private place where dogs and men talked strategies and told tall tales.   Since then, 185 coon hounds have been buried at the cemetery.

Some headstones are traditional granite,
others molded from metal or cut from wood, all personalized.