The father of a litter is called the sire, and the mother is called the dam.The process of birth is "whelping", from the Old English word hwelp; the modern English word "whelp" is an alternative term for puppy.The largest known dog was an English Mastiff which weighed 155.6 kg (343 lb) and was 250 cm (98 in) from the snout to the tail. Shades of coat colors can vary within breeds of dogs.For example, some Golden Retrievers have light, almost cream colored coats, and others may have dark, brownish shades of coat.
(German, like other European languages, has a word borrowed from the English dog which refers specifically to mastiffs.
Domesticated dogs are clearly distinguishable from wolves by starch gel electrophoresis of red blood cell acid phosphatase.
For example, height measured to the withers ranges from a 6 inches (150 mm) in the Chihuahua to 3.3 feet (1.0 m) in the Irish Wolfhound; color varies from white through grays (usually called "blue") to black, and browns from light (tan) to dark ("red" or "chocolate") in a wide variation of patterns; coats can be short or long, coarse-haired to wool-like, straight, curly, or smooth.
) was the general word for all domestic canines, and dog referred to a subtype of hound, a group including the mastiff.
It is believed this "dog" type was so common, it eventually became the prototype of the category "hound".