Huge or tiny, fluffy or smooth: dogs come in all shapes and sizes.
Do you know anyone with a pet wolf? No? Well you probably know someone with one of their descendants. Maybe you even have one yourself. Dogs are the most popular pet in Australia, and every one of them, from pugs to poodles, can trace their family tree back to the big bad wolf.
People helped wolves evolve into an amazing variety of dogs by choosing animals with the best characteristics to breed from. It took thousands of years, but there are now over 300 different dog breeds. They range from tiny Chihuahuas, which can fit in your schoolbag, to Great Danes which can stand as tall as a small pony.
Some dogs were bred for surprising reasons. Sausage dogs were bred low to the ground to hunt animals in burrows, such as badgers. Corgis were used to round up cows. The Norwegian Lundehund was bred to climb up ocean cliffs and hunt birds. It even has six toes on each paw to help it climb. But no matter how much these animals have changed, they are all still dogs—our custom-made companions.