What Is a Dog?
Exploring the natural history of these animals, the Coppingers explain how the village dogs of Vietnam, India, Africa, and Mexico are strikingly similar. These feral dogs, argue the Coppingers, are in fact the truly archetypal dogs, nearly uniform in size and shape and incredibly self-sufficient. Drawing on nearly five decades of research, they show how dogs actually domesticated themselves in order to become such efficient scavengers of human refuse. The Coppingers also examine the behavioral characteristics that enable dogs to live successfully and to reproduce, unconstrained by humans, in environments that we ordinarily do not think of as dog friendly.
Providing a fascinating exploration of what it actually means—genetically and behaviorally—to be a dog, What Is a Dog? will undoubtedly change the way any beagle or bulldog owner will reflect on their four-legged friend.
Part 1 About Dogs
1 What Is a Dog?
2 The World Is Full of Village Dogs
3 Why Do Village Dogs All Look Alike?
4 What Is a Niche?
Part II Behavioral Ecology
5 Behavioral Ecology of Dogs
6 The Cost of Building a Dog
7 The Cost of Feeding a Dog
8 The Cost of Reproduction
9 Avoiding Hazards and Their Costs
Part III That Special Relationship between People and Dogs
10 The Symbiotic Relationship
11 Dogs Adopt People (and Other Animals)
12 People Adopt Dogs
13 People Breed Special Dogs
14 Breed Genes Stray into the Village Dog Population
15 Dog Genes Stray Back into the Wild
Part IV Summary
16 Where—and Why—Are All These Dogs?
17 What Should We Do—If Anything—with All the Dogs?