Humans have historically developed deep connections with different animal species, resulting in their domestication for companionship, labor, and food. Different examples of domesticated animals have been transformed into priceless resources that improve our daily lives due to domestication, affecting civilization’s development.
16 Examples of domesticated animals
The following list looks at various types of domesticated animals, highlighting their roles, importance, and effects on human communities worldwide.
Scientific Name: Canis lupus familiaris
Dogs are popular pets all around the world. Humans have bred them from wolves, and millennia of human contact have shaped them. As a result, they have a unique ability to understand and communicate with humans more than any other species.
These creatures were initially chosen for traits like higher sociability and decreased fear and violence compared to wolves. Because of these traits, these animals can easily fit into human households and social situations. They can be companions or job dogs, helping with things like herding, hunting, and helping people with disabilities.
Scientific Name: Felis catus
Cats are small carnivores that people keep as house pets, farm cats, or find as feral cats. They’re solitary hunters who are fast on their feet, have keen senses of smell and night vision, and are valued for their companionship and pest-control abilities. These creatures also make fascinating companions because they’re sociable, communicate through vocalizations and body language, groom themselves, and have particular sleep patterns.
Scientific Name: Ovis aries
Sheep are small animals that have woolly coats. Humans have selectively bred them, creating different breeds with various traits like tail length, horn presence, and wool color. People often raise them for wool, meat, and byproducts such as sheepskin and lanolin.
They have good hearing, excellent peripheral vision, and a strong sense of smell, which helps them adapt well to their environments. Sheep are also important in global agriculture because they contribute to the economy locally and internationally.
Scientific Name: Bos taurus
Cattle or cows are among the domesticated animals that have significantly influenced human civilization. Historically, people used them for bartering; today, they mostly raise them for beef, dairy, veal, and leather production. These cattle typically graze on rangelands, using land unsuitable for growing crops.
They also need daily care, including feeding, milking, and medical attention. Even though these species are good for business, cattle are also important for the environment, and there are groups of wild cattle worldwide.
Scientific Name: Sus scrofa domesticus
People farm pigs primarily for meat products such as pork, bacon, ham, and sausage. Pig farmers use different practices, ranging from raising pigs outdoors to operating large-scale intensive farms. People have also started to like Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs as pets because they’re smart, friendly, and healthy.
However, they need to be strong-willed and have access to the outdoors, receive regular care, and engage in enrichment activities. Pigs live for 15-20 years, so owners need to commit to the long term.
Scientific Name: Meleagris gallopavo
Native to North America, turkeys have been domesticated and bred to be larger than their wild counterparts, primarily for consumption as meat. Turkeys play an important part in contemporary holiday celebrations in the United States, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Early civilizations also highly prized turkeys for their feathers and bones, which were used in various cultural and practical contexts.
Scientific Name: Equus ferus caballus
Humans have relied on horses since they were first domesticated. These creatures have helped us with transportation, agriculture, warfare, and other laborious tasks, greatly influencing our civilizations.
Horses today are mainly used for leisure, sports, and therapy, but they’re still used in traditional roles in some areas. They give us important insights into our past, and their many breeds continue to enrich our present.
Scientific Name: Capra aegagrus hircus
Goats are adaptable domesticated animals that provide renewable resources such as milk, fiber, manure, meat, and leather. They’re important for subsistence farming worldwide because these species can easily manage and adapt to different conditions. Goat intestines are even used to make surgical sutures and musical strings.
People around the world have different ways of housing and caring for goats. Some people breed goats for dairy or meat, while others keep them as pets.
9. Guinea pig
Scientific Name: Cavia porcellus
As social animals, guinea pigs are among the animals domesticated as pets. They’re known for their curiosity and can thrive even in urban areas. Guinea pigs were first domesticated in the Andes for meat, and because of how simple it is to breed them and how nutritious and low-fat their meat is, they continue to be a common food staple in nations like Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
10. Honey bees
Scientific Name: Apis mellifera
Humans have greatly benefited from honey bees, mainly because they produce honey and pollinate crops. Beekeepers breed bees with desirable traits such as disease resistance, increased honey production, reduced aggression, and the ability to withstand extreme climates. They’re critically important to human societies because they provide food and support biodiversity.
Scientific Name: Columba livia domestica
The Domesticated pigeons are bred for a variety of uses, including food (squabs), homing (capable of returning to their home loft from great distances thanks to their complex navigational skills), exhibition (fancy pigeons are bred for distinctive features), and flying/sporting competitions (demonstrating endurance). Each objective reflects the practice of selective breeding to produce a particular attribute.
Scientific Name: Lama glama
Domesticated llamas are friendly and curious herd animals that enjoy socializing. Due to their calming effects, they’re used in therapy and are also used to defend livestock from predators. They communicate by spitting, humming, groaning, and making a distinct mating sound called “orgle”.
Mismanagement causes behavioral issues, but well-treated llamas show cooperative and protective traits in their herds.
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
The Domesticated ducks, primarily derived from mallards, have been bred for thousands of years for their meat, eggs, feathers, and ornamental value. Originating in Southeast Asia, domestic ducks are generally less aggressive than their wild counterparts.
Certain cultures also raise them to produce things like foie gras. Some breeds are also known for their distinct appearance and are featured in exhibitions.
Scientific Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
Domesticated rabbits, descendants of the European rabbit, are bred for various sizes and colors and are kept worldwide for meat, fur, or as pets. People value their soft fur, especially the fur of the Angora rabbit.
Despite being bred to grow larger, they may be used as food or pets, depending on the situation. Certain urban areas may also still have problems with infestations of feral rabbits.
Scientific Name: Vicugna pacos
The Alpacas were domesticated thousands of years ago, probably from the wild vicuña and guanaco. These South American natives have served humans in many ways. Their thick, hypoallergenic fleece is used in high-quality textiles, making them valuable in the fashion industry.
In addition, they make great pets and therapy animals because they’re calm. Their herd mentality also provides natural and effective security from predators.
Scientific Name: Atelerix albiventris
Hedgehogs can be kept as pets and are known for their spines, which are stiff hairs made of keratin. Hedgehogs aren’t toxic or barbed, yet they can roll into a tight ball for self-defense. As pets, these animals provide companionship and entertainment, and are mostly active at night, making sounds by grunting and snuffling.
They also show unique behaviors, such as spreading scented froth on their spines, called anointing.