Dog Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 Dogs and Humans
  • 0:29 Physical Adaptations
  • 1:31 Behavioral Adaptations
  • 2:17 Adaptations for Living…
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Dogs are considered man's best friend, but they didn't always live with humans. They used to live in the wild! In this lesson, we'll learn about adaptations that dogs developed to help them survive.

Dogs and Humans

Does your family have a dog? Dogs are very popular pets, but they didn't always live with humans. Thousands of years ago, dogs lived in the wild and they actually evolved from wolves. Because they lived in the wild, they developed some adaptations to help them survive. An adaptation is a feature or trait that helps an organism survive in its environment. Let's look at some of the adaptations dogs have developed.

Physical Adaptations

Wild dogs survive by eating meat, meaning they have to hunt for their food. Many of the adaptations dogs have developed make them better hunters. For example, dogs have a very good sense of smell. In fact, a dog's sense of smell is about 1 million times more sensitive than that of humans! A strong sense of smell helps wild dogs find food, and it alerts them to territories claimed by other dogs. Dogs claim their home territory by marking it with their scent, and other dogs smell that and know there is another dog nearby.

Dogs also have eyes that are very sensitive to motion and light. This helps them hunt at night, and they are very good at detecting any kind of movement of prey (other animals they eat). They also have very good hearing, so even if they can't see the prey, dogs can usually tell what direction the prey is moving.

If you've looked at your dog's teeth, you know they have some big, sharp teeth that are actually called canine teeth. These teeth formed to rip and tear meat, though it also helps them eat their kibble and any treats they might get from the dinner table.

Behavioral Adaptations

Wild dogs live in packs, or groups of other dogs, and each pack has a clear leader. Packs hunt together, and this means that they can work together to kill bigger animals.

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