About Breeds

100 Years of Breeding Ruined These 10 Popular Dog Breeds

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For hundreds of years, dogs have lived side-by-side with humans, not only offering companionship and unconditional love, but working alongside us, performing tasks suited to the inherent physical and mental traits of their breeds.

Throughout the history of canine companionship, humans have shaped and altered the physical appearance and attributes of dogs to make them most suitable to perform a specific task. By isolating desirable characteristics, such as size and weight, body and face shape, muscular structure, prey drive, coat texture, length, and color, humans have successfully created more than 300 distinct and unique breeds.

However, with the popularity of conformation and breed judging, many breeds began to be bred for physical appearance alone, with certain physical characteristics, even those that are a hindrance to performing the jobs they were once bred for, becoming more desirable and more important than the health, vitality, and quality of life of the dog.

In 1915, W.E. Mason compiled and wrote Dogs of All Nations, a book that detailed every variety of dog that was, at the time, being bred true to type and for certain attributes, most usually to perform a specific task.

Now, over 100 years later, many of the breeds described and illustrated in his book are barely recognizable due to breeding to enhance particular characteristics. Many of these once healthy, vibrant breeds now suffer genetic health complications, breathing problems, bone and muscular dysfunction, and more – all as a result of these breed “improvements.” With help from Science and Dogs, take a look at how your favorite breeds have changed in the last 100 years.

Click NEXT to visit 10 popular dog breeds who, over the last 100 years, have been bred to the point of being nearly unrecognizable from their ancestors.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Tammy

    Jan 24, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    State taken they act like every dog has been ruined rubbish just rubbish I call this breeder bashing ..

  2. Sara

    Jan 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Double merle is NOT lethal! It can cause deafness and blindness, but no other “serious health issues” are attributed to the coat pattern. It is wrong to breed merle to merle, but do not pass on myths and misinformation!

  3. Pat Jackson

    Dec 30, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Sadly, they didn’t include what they have done to the Collie either. It is shameful as they only slightly resemble what they are meant to be!

  4. Mike M

    Dec 29, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    You didn’t even mention the catastrophic health problems of Goldens and Dobermans. Once Victorian ideas of racial purity led to the concept of ‘pure breeds’ and closed breeding books, all current registered pure breeds became inevitably doomed to genetic collapse due the mathematical certainty of loss of genetic diversity. Drastically selective breeding that created such disasters as the modern English Bulldog hasten the process, but the overall result is determined by principles of population genetics discovered almost a hundred years ago. It doesn’t matter how many dogs there are in a breed if they are all essentially cousins.

  5. Diana L

    Dec 23, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    I just scheduled to share this post on my business FB page. Very interesting read! I love the photos, well researched.

  6. Ginny Mobley

    May 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

    We’ve got a Dogue de Bordeaux..and thankfully they’ve not changed much since the 1800s revival of the breed.

  7. Elizabeth Brinkley

    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:17 am

    I have raised, trained and shown Shetland Sheepdogs for more than 40 years and the breed has improved immensely. When I first started it was very common for shelties to spin and twirl on a leash and spook at every loud sound. We have bred away from that kind of temperament and the modern sheltie is friendly and stable. Health testing for the “problems” you mention have removed those problems from the breed in general but we keep testing to make sure they don’t come back. The same problems can occur in shelter mixed breed dogs but nobody tests them. Double merles have always been around and are NOT the creation of modern breeding. Quite the contrary – blue to blue breedings that can result in a double merle are seldom EVER done anymore. I would strongly suggest anyone interested in a sheltie check out the website of our parent club – the American Shetland Sheepdog Association (ASSA) for the TRUTH about our beautiful breed and not believe the half-baked outdated ideas in this article

  8. Ellen Antoniades

    Apr 12, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    I had a beautiful German Shepherd of the old kind. This was over 30 years ago. He was very fast, smart, loyal, agile, great health, and ran like a greyhound. I do not care for any of these new unattractive versions. I live in a high end neighborhood that is full of these new breeds. I dare say most are very unattractive to down right ugly. Unfortunately, the changes match the owners obsessions with small upturned noses, over blown cheekbones, and other new deformations that do not match the classic beauties. I suggest everyone visit the shelters for some beautiful dogs and cats and show them what real beauty is.

  9. Chuck

    Apr 10, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Sharpei. Look up the original. Bone Mouth Sharpei. Todays are mostly known with out their true tile which is Meat Mouth Sharpei. The original came from China, a Long time ago. The breeding has given them skin allergies, along with sight issues due to the amount of skin on their face. More skin more sight issues. The original Bone Mouth was like a Hot Rod , compared to the Meat Mouth, which is more like a Bulldozer. I have my second one. He has the Bone Mouth head but the Meat Mouth body. Nice looking Bulldozer.

  10. Harlan Weikle

    Apr 10, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Of the 200 dogs we have assisted with “loaner” wheel chairs through Red Flyer, The Handicapped Pets Community – FB, 85 are represented by these 10 breeds or approximately 43%.

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