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Ethnocynology, is a neologism coined by anthropologist Bryan Cummins in his book First Nations, First Dogs: Canadian Aboriginal Ethnocynology (2002). It refers to the study of dogs within their cultural contexts. The term is not in general use.

Cummins states that the domestic dog, despite being found in virtually all human societies, has been ignored by anthropologists. This, he says, is because the dog is neither fully of "culture" (being essentially a domesticated wolf), nor of "nature", by virtue of that same domestication and having been molded into over 400 breeds. Nonetheless, Cummins leans towards the view that, being domestic animals, they are more "of culture" than "of nature", and culture is the domain of the anthropologist. Furthermore, different human societies have shaped the dog into precisely whatever roles people might have for the dog. Therefore, the domestic dog is worthy of anthropological attention; hence ethnocynology.


  • Cummins, Bryan D. 2002. First Nations, First Dogs: Canadian Aboriginal Ethnocynology. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Detselig Enterprises Ltd. ISBN 1-55059-227-0, ISBN 978-1-55059-227-6


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