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Domestication of the dog and cat

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Taxonomy of the dog

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Lecture Notes

Taxonomical classification is how scientists classify organisms according to the hierarchy you see here. The taxonomy of the dog reflects that he is a member of the animal kingdom, or Animalia. The phylum Chordata, which includes those animals that are chordates or vertebrates, meaning they have a backbone. Dogs are classified in the class Mammalia, so they are mammals. Besides mammals, remember that other classes of chordates include fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Dogs are further classified in the Carnivora order and the Canidae family. The genus Canis and species lupus of the dog are the same as that of the wolf. The dog is then classified as a subspecies, familiaris, of Canis lupus. Now be aware that you will find references that classify dogs as their own species, Canis familiaris, as well as references that classify dogs as they are here, as a subspecies of wolf. This is an ongoing discussion among scientists, so for the purposes of this class we will consider the dog as a subspecies of wolf, but be aware that there is discussion ongoing.