Emily Gillette

Veterinarian examining a Bernese Mountain Dog puppyDogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship, and assisting individuals with disabilities or groups of people in educational and healthcare settings.

Web team dogs

The Academic Health Center web team includes several canine companions. Though they do not come into the office, they are an important part of our work. Photos of Bella, Opal, Perry, Shelby and Stewie often show up in our mock-ups and training materials. 

Dog biology

This is a brief overview of dog biology. To learn more about dogs, visit the Wikipedia dog page. 


Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. 

Download an overview of dog anatomy


The dog's senses include vision, hearing, sense of smell, sense of taste, touch and sensitivity to the earth's magnetic field.


Behavioral studies have shown that the dog's visual world consists of yellows, blues and grays, but they have difficulty differentiating red and green making their color vision equivalent to red–green color blindness in humans (deuteranopia). 


The frequency range of dog hearing is between 16-40 Hz (compared to 20–70 Hz for humans) and up to 45–60 kHz (compared to 13–20 kHz for humans), which means that dogs can detect sounds far beyond the upper limit of the human auditory spectrum.


While the human brain is dominated by a large visual cortex, the dog brain is dominated by a large olfactory cortex. Dogs have roughly forty times more smell-sensitive receptors than humans, ranging from about 125 million to nearly 300 million in some dog breeds, such as bloodhounds.


Dogs have around 1,700 taste buds compared to humans with around 9,000. 


The main difference between human and dog touch is the presence of specialized whiskers known as vibrissae. Vibrissae are present above the dog’s eyes, below their jaw, and on their muzzle.


Qualities of a dog

  • Loyalty – a dog is naturally born with a sense of loyalty for its owner, and each dog displays this loyalty in its own unique way.
  • Compassion – no matter how sad or upset you are, a dog always knows to give you love and comfort.
  • Unconditional love – a dog loves with no strings attached.
  • Selflessness – a dog's first focus is to provide you with its joy and spirit, it is not naturally vain or selfish, if you show it love and kindness, he is your ultimate selfless companion.
  • Forgiveness – us humans have a hard time forgiving each other, we hold onto things forever, but not a dog. He will forgive you for anything you do to him (to a fault sometimes).
  • Non-judgmental – a dog does not judge, it may have reservations because it sense something is wrong, but it does not judge us like humans judge each other. A dog can sense your true nature and spirit, thus it loves you for who you are inside and out.

Roles of dogs in society


Assistance dogs fall into two broad categories: service dogs and facility dogs. Service dogs are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Facility dogs are used by working professionals to aid multiple people.

Learn more about assistance dogs


A hunting dog refers to a canine that hunts with or for humans. There are several types of hunting dogs developed for various tasks. The major categories of hunting dogs include hounds, terriers, dachshunds, cur type dogs, and gun dogs. Among these categories further divisions can be made based upon the dogs' skill sets.


A herding dog, also known as a stock dog or working dog, is a type of pastoral dog that either has been trained in herding or belongs to breeds developed for herding. Their ability to be trained to act on the sound of a whistle or word of command is renowned throughout the world. Collies are recommended as herding dogs.

Top 10 Dog Breeds

  1. Labrador retrievers

  2. German shepherd

  3. Golden retrievers

  4. Bulldogs

  5. Beagles

  6. French bulldogs

  7. Yorkshire terriers

  8. Poodles

  9. Rottweilers

  10. Boxers