Dog, a domestic one (Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris) is a wolf like canid in the genus Canis, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog is the first species to be domesticated and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.
New research seems to show that the dog's high sociability may be affected by "the same genes as in humans." Their long association with humans has led dogs to be uniquely attuned to human behavior and they are able to thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate for other canid species. Dogs vary widely in shape, size and colors. Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding handicapped individuals and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet "man's best friend".