Why is There a Variety of Breeds?

The modern world is not only rich in material things but also in the number of dog breeds. There are quite a lot of them, Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognizes 360 different breeds. And they are not only different from each other when it comes to appearance, but also in their nature, needs and approach to humans. However, all breeds have something in common and it is their origin – dogs come from wolves. What was the reason for this development and how do different breeds...

The most important change occurred when wolves joined people. The domestication came with a different approach, lifestyle and food, when people started giving it plant-based food – all of this caused different breeds to emerge. It was also accompanied by selection in breeding when people only bred the dogs they needed at the time and which were perfectly suitable for them. So, these combined various appearance features, characteristics, and different approaches to life. Over time, the tasks that dogs which were originally bred for work had to handle were changing. Therefore, their appearance and nature were constantly changing as well. 

The differences between different breeds were not so significant at first. While some dogs focused on watching the herd, others were kept at home to protect it. Some were raised for hunting, others were purely sociable – their main task was to entertain people. 

There is currently an international categorization of dog breeds which divides dogs into ten groups – and it was created by the above-mentioned FCI. Dogs in each group have similar physical and psychological features:

1) Shepherd and cattle dogs – those are primarily characterized by their strong desire to work, they are very intelligent and vigilant, and they are able to learn how to live with a human quickly. They’re not good for living in flats. These breeds require an active lifestyle, nature and a lot of exercise is perfect for them. 

2) Pinschers, schnauzers and molossoid breeds – they come from England, they are very sociable and unlike shepherd dogs, they don’t need a lot of physical activity. They are perfect dogs for cuddling, but they can watch your house as well. 

3) Terriers – this group was created because of the need for a resilient dog capable of hunting in water, as well as the movement among cattle. Due to their robust appearance and resistance to cold, terriers were recognized as watchdogs, but they also proved themselves as skilled fox hunters in England. 

4) Dachshunds – these dogs have been bred for hunting on and below the ground, which is why they have short legs with thick but short fur. They can live to very old age. Their nature is pleasant and even-tempered and they are very agile. 

5) Spitz and the so-called primitive types – huskies, nordic watchdogs and European as well as Asian spitzes belong to this group. These are lively and loyal dogs which also learn quickly, so it is very easy to train them. They are characterized by their beautiful fur and also by their distrust towards strangers, so they are also suitable as watchdogs. 

6) Scenthounds – as the name of this category suggests, it includes mainly the dogs that are suitable for hunting game thanks to their sensitive muzzles – they can easily track game and hunt in a pack as well as alone. 

7) Pointers and setters – these are versatile dogs that were mainly used for retrieving hunted game. But they are no killers, they only point the hunter to the spot where the catch is. Besides practical use, they are also reliable and loyal companions.

8) Flushing dogs, retrievers and water dogs – while flushing dogs are mainly good for finding small game, water dogs mainly specialize in underwater hunting. Moreover, they can also break through an ice layer and withstand in cold water.

9) Sociable breeds – this category includes dogs that are used to be with people and require their presence. For example, Bolognese Dog or Boston Terrier belong here. They are great friends, they like playing and they are very affectionate. On the other hand, they can be vigilant and try to protect their owners. 

10) Sighthounds – the dogs belonging to this group are above all incredibly fast, they are even among the fastest animals in the world. Therefore, it is clear that they have been bred primarily for hunting game. They have long legs and they are very slim. 

Besides this categorization that includes all recognized breeds, there are breeds that aren’t officially and internationally recognized and many dogs belong to them. These include the Bohemian Spotted Dog, Czech Mountain Dog, Prague Ratter, Multi-Colored Poodle and other breeds. There are various reasons why they don’t belong to the official categories. It might be because the breed is not developed enough or it is too similar to other breeds. In some cases, they are also national breeds, their owners breed them according to the conditions set by the FCI and they are still waiting for their international recognition. 

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