Dogs have been close companions to humans for a long time, and when we look at the history of certain breeds, we can usually see when they were brought over to a specific place – like when corgis were brought over to Wales – or when they were developed. With so many dog breeds out there, have you ever wondered about the history of dog breeding?
In our history, breeding is pretty recent. Dogs were originally kept around because they made good alarm systems when it came to intruders or animals. Over time, as humans and dogs became closer, humans began to want to improve them. They wanted dogs with more refined skills for what they used them for, for example, herding or retrieving.1
Originally, dogs were bred specifically for the function they provided, whether that was hunting or guarding.2 Nowadays, we see dogs bred for all sorts of reasons, from physical aesthetics to improving health issues. Through breeding, we’ve created hundreds of different dogs from the original few that we connected with thousands of years ago.3
Dogs like the Bullmastiff and the Bull Terrier are good examples of bulldogs being used to create better working dogs. Breeding can cause big changes in dog breeds. For example, Basenjis started to appear in a new color after being bred with African bush dogs. These two were bred to alleviate health issues Basenjis had.3
Another example is the Bernedoodle. These dogs are a cross between Bernese Mountain Dogs and Poodles. Although there is some controversy over this kind of “designer breeding”, many people prefer the new traits that come out of cross-breeding two different breeds like this. Bernedoodles, for example, live longer and don’t shed compared to their pure Bernese Mountain Dog counterparts.2
We chatted about the differences between purebred and mixed breeds on our blog. You can read it here!