While compiling a list of dog breeds, I was amazed at how many breeds of dogs there are, and I wanted to find out why there are so many.
Dogs are bred for popularity and fashion. New working species help with guarding, tracking, hunting, and in the service industries.
There are over 300 dog breeds in the World, with the American kennel club recognizing 190. Many dog breeds have disappeared over time, but new, different species have taken their place. New kinds of dogs are due to the desire for something more perfect than what came before. In this article, we look at why there are so many breeds of dogs.
Dog breeds beginning with:
Variations In Breeds
There are over 300 types of dogs, and the evolution of dogs has allowed individuals to differ in color, coat type, body structure and size, and weight. By comparison, there are only about 30 species of cat.
Dogs are descended from wolves, and their domestication began over 15,000 years ago. This process of evolution has resulted in a wide variety of breeds, each with its unique traits and characteristics. Over the centuries, breeders carefully selected these breeds to produce specific desired results. Many people forget that dogs were originally bred purely for different uses.
Dogs come in many colors, including cream, gray, gold, red, liver, blue, brown, black, tan, and many more. Many dogs also come in combinations of these colors.
The colors of dogs come in a wide variety. From traditional black, white, and brown to more exotic colors like blue, red, and yellow. Each dog has unique characteristics that make it special. Black is often associated with strength, while white can represent peace and serenity. Brown is the most common color among canines and is seen as a sign of loyalty and dependability.
Blue is often seen as a symbol of intelligence, while red can be seen as an indicator of strong emotions or energy. Yellow can signify joy and happiness, which many dog owners strive for in their pups.
Dogs have many different types of coats. Some breeds, such as the Xoloitzcuintli, are hairless, whereas the Puli has a corded coat. Some species, such as the Dalmatian, have a short, single coat, whereas the Chow-Chow has a full double coat. Yorkshire terriers have long-haired silky coats, and the Afghan Hound has a semi-long coat. Breeds like the Fox terrier have wire-haired coats, whereas poodles have curly coats.
Size And Weight
There is a vast difference in the sizes and weights between different breeds. A Dachshund with a height of 20 cm can be bred, along with an almost one-meter-tall Irish Wolfhound or Great Dane.
The size and weight of dogs can vary drastically depending on the breed. Smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles, typically weigh anywhere from 2 to 6 pounds, while larger breeds, such as Great Danes and Saint Bernards, can weigh up to 150 pounds.
Mixed breeds often fall somewhere in between these two extremes. Male dogs tend to be larger than females, but there are always exceptions. An adult dog’s size and weight are largely determined by its genetics, but proper nutrition and exercise can also play a role in its size and development.
The dog’s age will also affect its size; puppies usually grow rapidly during their first year before adulthood.
Uses For Dogs
Humans soon learned to recognize the positive qualities of a dog breed and use them to their advantage. With a growing love for dogs, their use in various human activities increased. This new popularity led to new dog breeds that differed from others, not only in their appearance but also in their behavior.
The variations in different breeds have contributed to other jobs and use for dogs. Dogs were initially bred to help with hunting but have since been used as assistance dogs, fire dogs, messenger dogs, Police dogs, Army dogs, herding, and of course, as pets.
Initially, the vast majority of breeds originated as hunting dogs. Different species were needed for bad weather conditions and hunting aspects, leading to the breeding of many different hunting dogs.
Different burrowing dogs have been bred, mainly because of the need to end a fox hunt successfully. Chased by tall-legged hounds, the fox would disappear into a burrow, unable to be caught. This led to the breeding of the Fox Terrier.
Some hunters had fox terriers but did not like the white color and hair. By mixing different breeds of terriers, a new species was created. A new species, the Jagdterrier, was bred. This breed was black with reddish-brown markings, which does not need much grooming, unlike a fox terrier.
Despite this, the fox terrier did not fall out of favor, as many hunters also preferred the white color on a burrowing dog, spending several hours a year processing their hair to have a dog to their liking.
When hunting birds, different breeds of dogs could show the hunters where the bird was hiding so that they could catch them.
For many generations, some dog breeds were friendly to people they knew, while they were vicious to strangers. Modern guard dogs were bred to be distrustful of strangers.
Breeding dogs to be guard dogs is a popular practice among many pet owners. Guard dogs are bred to be naturally alert, loyal, and protective of their owners and property. They are usually larger in stature, with strong jaws and powerful muscles. Breeding for the right traits ensures that the guard dog will be confident and brave in protecting its family from danger.
Training is also important to ensure that guard dogs don’t become aggressive toward people who don’t pose a risk. With proper training, breeding, and socialization, guard dogs can provide an extra sense of security.
Breeds such as the rottweiler, puli, komondor, and German shepherd were initially bred to be guard dogs.
Dogs are intelligent, and several breeds are used as assistance and service dogs in several ways.
Guide dogs assist the blind and visually impaired. The breeds of dogs used are generally Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and crosses of both species. Labradors and Golden Retrievers were breeds chosen for their ease of training and even temperament.
Service dogs are specially trained to help people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. They may assist with mobility, alert their owners of oncoming seizures, provide deep pressure therapy for anxiety and depression, and retrieve items for their owners. Service dogs can also help individuals with autism or other developmental disabilities increase their independence and quality of life.
These highly trained animals can provide emotional support and stability for those in need. They can also reduce stress levels and act as a distraction from difficult tasks so that their owners can focus better. Depending on the individual’s needs, they can be trained to perform various tasks such as retrieving items, opening doors, providing balance assistance, helping with daily activities like dressing or bathing, and even calming down during panic attacks.
Police and Military Dogs
The Police and Military have used different breeds, such as the German Shepherd, Bloodhound, Dutch Shepherd, and Belgian Malinois, for various duties.
Police dogs are usually male and generally more aggressive than female dogs. However, female dogs are used to track, rescue, and detect drugs or bombs.
Police and military dogs are invaluable assets for law enforcement and defense personnel. These loyal and hardworking four-legged partners offer an extra layer of protection to their handlers and the ability to sniff out bombs, drugs, explosives, and other contraband that the human eye can’t detect.
Additionally, these courageous canines can track fleeing suspects and missing persons, patrol dangerous areas, and provide psychological support to those in need. Training is extensive and rigorous, but they become highly skilled with a strong sense of loyalty.
Dogs have been kept as companions for a long time, with a fossilized canine skull found in Siberia suggesting that dogs were domesticated as long as 30,000 years ago. However, it is only in the 20th Century that dogs were bred primarily for this purpose.
Dogs are now bred for their appearance, not their functionality, with many new breeds, such as the Cockapoo, The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, and The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje.
The origin of new breeds is due to the following:
- An almost entirely purebred dog was created in isolated areas, characteristic of their surrounding habitat.
- Large landowners bred dogs of different types on their estates, keeping them relatively purebred.
- Purposeful, deliberate crossbreeding of different breeds to create new species with specific exterior properties and behavior
The rapid development of biological sciences and the knowledge of genetic laws have introduced order into dog breeding. Lovers of different breeds have united in societies and unions to help each other breed different breeds of dogs.
The concept of purebred breeding appeared, strictly protecting the thoroughbreds and not allowing them to crossbreed. Genealogical pedigree books are kept for individual breeds in which registered individuals are recorded. A certificate of their origin is issued, known as the pedigree.
Distribution Of Breeds
Not all dog breeds are represented in all countries. Most dog breeds are distributed only in their countries of origin and in countries joined to them. Only about one-fourth of all species can be found in most countries of the World. Therefore, most species are entirely unknown in several countries and only seen at international exhibitions.
The distribution of a breed is primarily due to its use. In some cases, this is due to their attractive properties. Some people want a dog breed that no one else has. If they are then engaged in further breeding, that breed will take its roots in the new country, enriching the dog breeds’ diversity.
Breeding can be unsuccessful if the breed is not popular or the country’s climate does not correspond. Sometimes, a species cannot find enough enthusiasts to develop and spread.
What Are The Reasons for Dog Breeds Increasing?
Fashion and popularity often play a significant role in distribution. Dog breed numbers increase sharply, with older species giving way to a new, fashionable, popular species in a few years.
Commercial, opportunistic reasons can bring unhealthy breeds if dog organizations do not intervene. Organizations must take vigorous measures to ensure that only pedigrees are included in the breeding. They also need to check that the selection of parental pairs, regardless of demand, strictly obeys the selection’s basic requirements.
Many historical examples prove that after a breed’s decline in popularity, only the breeds with working or functional significance remain in high populations.
For example, if the Scottish Terrier were used for work purposes, the number of registered puppies would not have decreased to the number of a few pets. A few decades ago, it was fashionable for a lady to keep a Scottish Terrier, while after World War I, the Fox Terrier became a fashionable breed.
In the 1930s, the number of records of Fox Terrier puppies was the highest of all breeds. As their popularity gave way to a new breed, their numbers dwindled.
The Fox Terrier has not disappeared. For many years, their numbers have remained at the same level, a relatively high numerical level corresponding to the need for its use for hunting.
The number of larger breeds is dwindling while smaller, short-legged ones are replacing them. Small dogs are more convenient in cities where many people live in apartments.
Small dogs do not need large spaces for exercise, are easier to transport outside the city and consume less food. The love of small breeds can be seen throughout the World.
The breeding of small dogs should not affect the breeding of large dogs. Although there are not as many large breeds in the cities, there are often more in the country.
Why Are There So Many Dog Breeds And Only A Few Breeds Of Cat?
One reason there are so many dog breeds and few cat breeds is that dogs have been domesticated by humans for much longer than cats, allowing us to breed them for particular traits over centuries.
Dogs are bred for specific uses and work, whereas cats are unlikely to be guard cats due to their size. A cat’s sense of smell is not as good as a dog, so their use as trackers is unlikely.
Cats are not as easy to train and breed as dogs due to their independent nature. Because cats are solitary animals, they don’t necessarily need companionship or interaction with humans as dogs do.
Dog breeds tend to vary more in size and physical characteristics than cats, making them easier to differentiate from each other. Finally, since cats can interbreed with one another regardless of their breed type, it is more difficult to tell which cat belongs to which breed. All these factors combined could explain why there are so many dog breeds and only a few breeds of cats.
Taxonomy Of Dog Breeds
A single taxonomy of dog breeds does not yet exist. The classification of dog breeds is based on their origin or use. The taxonomy in different countries depends on how many individual species are represented and used.
Terrier breeds are sometimes not isolated as an independent group but are included in other groups according to the method of their use.
The Airedale Terrier belongs to the service breeds, while Fox Terriers, Jagdterrier, Lakeland Terrier, and Cesky Terrier, together with Dachshunds, form a select group of normal dogs. Some terrier belongs to the hounds’ group, and non-hunting terriers are included in indoor and decorative dog breeds.
The situation is similar for Schnauzers and Spitz. Small and miniature schnauzers are sometimes classified as service breeds. Similarly, shepherd dogs in some countries are classified as service breeds. The breed’s separation is artificial and should only be used as a guideline.
Dog Breeds By Letter
Bryan Harding is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and a member of the American Birding Association. Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Bryan serves as owner, writer, and publisher of North American Nature.