What's a dog breed?
People have been breeding dogs since prehistoric times. The earliest dog breeders used wolves to create domestic dogs. From the beginning, humans purposefully bred dogs to perform various tasks. Hunting, guarding, and herding are thought to be among the earliest job…
What's a dog breed?
People have been breeding dogs since prehistoric times. The earliest dog breeders used wolves to create domestic dogs. From the beginning, humans purposefully bred dogs to perform various tasks. Hunting, guarding, and herding are thought to be among the earliest jobs eagerly performed by the animal destined to be called “man’s best friend.”
For thousands of years, humans bred dogs toward the physical and mental traits best suited for the work expected of them. The sleek Greyhound types bred to chase fleet-footed prey, and the huge mastiff types used as guard dogs and warriors, are two ancient examples of dogs bred for specific jobs.
As humans became more sophisticated, so did their dogs. Eventually, there emerged specific breeds of dogs, custom-bred to suit the breeders’ local needs and circumstances. The Greyhound, for instance, was the foundation type for the immense Irish Wolfhound and the dainty Italian Greyhound. All three have a distinct family resemblance, but you’d never mistake one for another.
So, then, when is a breed a breed and not just a kind or type of dog? The simplest way to define a breed is to say it always “breeds true.” That is, breeding a purebred Irish Setter to another purebred Irish Setter will always produce dogs instantly recognizable as Irish Setters.
Each breed’s ideal physical traits, movement, and temperament are set down in a written document called a “breed standard.” For example, the breed standard sets forth the traits that make a Cocker Spaniel a Cocker Spaniel and not a Springer Spaniel.
The AKC standard for each breed originates with a “parent club,” the AKC-recognized national club devoted to a particular breed. Once approved by the AKC, a standard becomes both the breeder’s “blueprint” and the instrument used by dog show judges to evaluate a breeder’s work.
There are over 340 dog breeds known throughout the world. The American Kennel Club recognizes 200 breeds.
The Weimaraner, Germany's sleek and swift 'Gray Ghost,' is beloved by hunters and pet owners alike…See More
Welsh Springer Spaniel
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a vigorous, medium-sized bird dog of happy disposition, known fo…See More
The Welsh Terrier is as alert and spirited as any self-respecting terrier, but a bit calmer tha…See More
West Highland White Terrier
Smart, confident, and always entertaining at play, the adorable West Highland White Terrie…See More
Wire Fox Terrier
The Wire Fox Terrier breed standard says they should be 'on the tip-toe of expectation at the…See More
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
The hardworking Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, renowned as the 'supreme gundog,' is known for the…See More
The Wirehaired Vizsla is an exuberant hunter on land or lake, whose dense, wiry coat distinguishe…See More
The 3,000-year-old Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced "show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee"), the ancient Aztec dog of…See More
Beneath the dainty, glossy, floor-length coat of a Yorkshire Terrier beats the heart of a feisty…See More