An introduction to dog breeds

What is a dog breed?

In this section we offer information on dog breeds. We give our summarized impression, based on our daily work. We pretend this information to be indicative, but not all members of a same breed meet these descriptions.

We emphasize that the way of being of a dog depends primarily on the breed to which it belongs. Other key factors are: the age when he left his mother and siblings, the degree of socialization with the outside world he has been given, your education, your circumstances of life...

Genetic predisposition plays a role in character. However, we stress that not all individuals of a breed are good representatives. It is very difficult to breed dogs of good physical and mental quality.

Many dog breeds exist

The origin of dog breeds

Dog and man have lived together for many thousands of years. But the pedigree dog as we know it today only came into existence very recently, around 1850.

Over many centuries man created "the dog". When man selectively bred the selection was primarily aimed at the use, the ability to do a determined job. Natural selection ensured that only dogs that thrived in a particular environment survived. A Chihuahua would not have served as a leader of a pack of sled dogs in the Arctic.

Thus little by little groups of dogs with a particular use began to distinguish, guarding, sledding, herding, hunting... and an exterior suitable for a particular outdoor use and environment, body, size, coat.

For new generations bitches and dogs were selected from the locally available group. Because of this a growing group of alike dogs became available, especially in very isolated areas. But this was a secondary event, it was not the main purpose of breeding. "Good" was judged according to an individual's ability to perform a certain task, not according to i's appearance.

Compared to thousands of years of development 150 years is nothing. But it is precisely during the last 150 years when major changes took place in dog breeding. The key factor in this process has been the genealogical record, the pedigree, which produced a revolution in breeding purebred dogs.

Around 1850 the first breeds became officially recognized and the first exhibitions took place. The first breed clubs were founded and the first breed standards were developed which mostly set very specific rules concerning the physical appearance of the breeds. And it was decided to start recording the ancestry of dogs.

With the passage of time a record, a pedigree and a stud book were created for all breeds. In exhibitions and competitions the best exponents of breeds were chosen and those dogs were registered in the Books of Origen as the founding generations. After some time the books of origins were closed, meaning that from than on new dogs that were not yet registered were no longer admitted. Only descendants of dogs appearing in these books of Origen were entered. From now on, only dogs born to pedigree dogs were regarded as "purebred". The entire breed were to be supplied from the genetic material recorded before the closure of the Book of Origins of each breed.

This change of genetically more or less open-blooded groups into sealed islands into which the entry of "foreign blood" was no allowed meant a radical change in the breeding of dogs. Genetic purity started to be an end in itself.

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