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The Wolf Inside
...your pet dog.
That’s right, our four-legged best friend is essentially a wolf!
How do we know this?
Scientists compared the genes from dogs and wolves and found they are very closely related.
So much so that scientists treat the dog as a subspecies of the wolf rather than a species in its own right.
There are several races of wolf, and genes from those in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and China have all been found in domestic dogs.
There are now thought to be over 500 different breeds of dog in the world, although only 210 breeds are recognised by the British Kennel Club.
They may be different colours and sizes, but they are all the same species.
The different varieties have been produced by selective breeding – where an animal is bred to produce a certain trait.
Dogs have traditionally been bred for hunting, guarding or working with livestock. Their shape and temperament would have been selected for these different tasks.
It is only within the last 200 years that dogs have been bred for the way they look, rather than the way they behave.