All Types of Dog Breeds (A-Z)
The History of Dog Breeding and Different Dog Breeds
From the majestic Labrador Retriever to the cutest Yorkshire Terrier, dogs come in a wide array of shapes and sizes, featuring an equally diverse range of behaviors and temperaments. The canine world of today is highly diverse in that it may be quite impossible for some of us to grasp the fact that all dogs have one and the same wild wolf ancestors. The evolution and transformation of dogs started some 15,000 years ago, when dogs were categorized not for their size, but primarily based on their main role in the lives of our forefathers.
In this article, we will try to discover how dogs have changed overtime, and how they were successful in developing so many talents. In addition, we will also unravel the main reason as to why dogs, amongst all the other species of the animal kingdom, have become our favorite companion and loyal best friend.
The answer to such inquiries not only lies on their resilience and flexibility, but are based on the role that they play in our lives as well. In truth, dogs are designer animals, which means their temperaments and behaviors are highly based on the needs of humans as well. Weather conditions and environmental factors were found to have also contributed to the evolutionary changes in the dog world.
The Ancient Purpose of Dogs
When dogs started to be a part of the lives of humans, they were originally found useful by men as they serve to alarm them of approaching wild animals or strangers. By means of barking loudly, dogs were able to warn humans of danger, thus they were proven useful especially when traveling from one place to another. Although they proved to be very useful in the lives of our ancestors, they were still not regarded as pets since dogs only lived in the outskirts of human settlements. Their source of food were leftover meals and produce from ancient villages. Dogs were attracted to humans primarily not because they want company, but humans had the food resources they need for survival.
In addition to being efficient guards, dogs were also found to be very useful in reducing the population of vermin, by scaring them away and ridding the outskirts of villages of rotting food items too. Although not regarded crucial members of the community, the presence of dogs in ancient times were tolerated as they provided some form of valuable service to humans.
As years pass, the value of the dog as a watcher or guard was then given value by humans. They started letting into their villages. Due to the lovable and kind nature of dogs, humans started domesticating dogs. In some parts of the world, dogs were also used by humans as faithful partners in hunting and gathering activities. Their keen sense of smell helped humans in finding food sources and wild animals as well. Throughout the centuries, selective breeding practices bore up to 400 unique dog breeds that differ from elements and qualities namely:
- Form and structure
- Coat length
- Disease susceptibility
Dog breeding has long been a practice by humans, but it was only in the 19th century that people started taking note of canine bloodlines. In addition to this, humans started to categorize dogs not on their generic type or function, but according to their specific brand instead. It was the Victorian-era passion for dog fancy that selective breeding became very popular. In essence, this type of breeding pertains to the enhancement of specific characteristics.
By modifying the genetic makeup of dogs, our ancestors were able to develop the most varied animal species in the world. Although selective breeding was beneficial in that it created wife variety of dog breeds, it also created a host of problems as well, the biggest of which is that most dog breeds are now haunted by a myriad of hereditary medical problems.
Categorization by Role
Although majority of dogs are named after the functions they executed in the ancient times, they still carry their original names, however now, majority only play the role of loving companions to us humans.
To date, purebreds are listed under six main categories:
Dogs that are classified as part of the herding group are very intelligent in nature. They are gifted to with the innate instinct of herding and protecting, thus they are ideal to be made as guard dogs and cattle herders. They are easy to work with especially during training since herding dogs are always eager to learn and please. In modern applications, herding dogs make excellent police dogs and guide dogs, eg. German Shepherd, Bearded Collie, Australian Cattle Dog, Belgian Malinois and Old English Sheepdog.
Hound dogs were developed a few hundred years ago with the primary intention of developing a breed of dogs that can assist humans in the activities of hunting for food and sport. Characteristic quality of dogs classified under this group is that of keen sense of eyesight and sense of smell. Hound dogs have highly developed vision and boast the ability of following even the faintest of smells. Dogs under the Hound Group stand out mainly due to their great stamina, speed, and agility. They are some of the fastest dogs in the world, as they can tirelessly run for miles when hunting. Eg. Afghan Hound, Basset Hound, Beagle, Dachshund, Bloodhound, Greyhound and Whippet.
Sporting dogs make excellent pets for those with active lifestyles. Dogs classified under this category are very energetic and are always up and about. In order for them to expend their energy properly, it is recommended that sporting dogs are provided opportunity to exercise on a regular basis. Sporting dogs are very lovable dogs, thus they are known to be favorite for households too. Eg. Cocker Spaniel, Flat-coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, English Pointer and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
The working dog breed were specifically developed to assist humans in activities such as rescues, guarding, and pulling cargo with the use of carts, sleds, and carriages among others. These dogs are dependable and loyal companions, especially when they are given ample amounts of work and exercise. Until now, these dogs are known to be used by humans when working. Working dogs are big in size and stature, thus it is ideal for pet owners to train them at a young age.
Eg. Alaskan Malamute, Akita, Boxer, Black Russian Terrier, Giant Schnauzer, Great Pyrenees, Great Dane, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Rottweiler and Siberian Husky.
Terrier dogs are feisty, but are incredibly altogether. They are known to be expert diggers and were originally bred to hunt down vermin. Terrier dogs are highly energetic and are full of enthusiasm. Eg. American Staffordshire, Bedlington Terrier, Standard Bull Terrier, Irish Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Parson Russell Terrier and Welsh Terrier.
Small dog breeds with big personalities perfectly identify toy dogs. They are the perfect lap dogs and the ideal companion mainly due to their compact size. They are not as active as bigger dogs, thus they do without exercise. Toy dogs are excellent for pet lovers who have limited space at home. They are great for those who need therapy as they are not only cute, but extremely sweet canine pals as well. Eg. Chihuahua, Maltese, Papillon, Pekingese, Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier.
Categorization by Size or Characteristics
The above categorization might seem too technical or irrelevant for the ordinary dog owners, as nowadays most of the dogs only play the role of companion after all. Most of the dogs are categorized by their size:
- Small Dog Breeds – 29 lbs and below
- Medium-sized Dog Breeds – 30 – 59 lbs.
- Large Dog Breeds– 50 lbs and above
Some of the breeds can also be categorized by their characteristic, eg. hypoallergenic dogs. These dogs shed less, and thus, disperse less dander – which is good for allergy sufferers.