Are dogs predators?

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Although wild dogs are considered predators, domesticated dogs are not usually referred to as predators. Coyotes and wolves hunt smaller and weaker animals as food sources, using their keen sense of hearing and smell. These dogs are the ancestors of our modern day family pets, so it’s likely that domesticated dogs still retain some of these primal hunting instincts; however, most dogs have been trained not to act on these impulses.

There is some level of predatory instinct that exists amongst all dogs, especially when it comes to pack behavior. Dogs normally place themselves within a pack based on which dog shows traits of an Alpha, or the strongest male dog in the group. Other dogs fall in line with this canine, which is seen as the most commanding and predatory of the bunch. The Alpha dog is normally the dog who will fight in order to protect and maintain the hierarchy and defend the group. Other dogs, such as the Beta dog, may try to challenge the Alpha dog for leadership through inter-pack fighting episodes.

All dogs rely on their sense of smell and hearing to gain information about their surroundings and pick up on anything that may be seen as dangerous nearby. Dogs are able to smell much better than people are, and can often detect fear, weakness, sickness and death just from a simple sniff.

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