How are dog breeds determined

Whether poodle, pug or shepherd - there are countless different breeds of dogs. Each breed has its own characteristics and is something very special in its own way. The breed of the dog determines its appearance, character and posture.

What is a breed of dog?

Today we understand a dog breed to be a special breed of domestic dog with similar characteristics. This includes, for example, the height at the withers, the length and color of the fur or the shape of the muzzle and ears. Certain character traits such as the urge to move or the hunt are also important distinguishing features of dog breeds. A breed association or an individual sets a standard for a dog breed, whereby the breed can be recognized by an association or association. The largest association is the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) - a global umbrella organization.

The French cynologist and founder of the FCI classification, Raymond Triquet, defined the breed term in his encyclopedia of dogs as follows: "The breed is a group of individuals who share common traits that distinguish them from other members of their species, and which are transmitted by heredity. The species arises naturally, whereas the breed is the result of breeding in the context of cynology."

The offspring of a cross between several breeds of dogs are known as mixed breeds or hybrids. When two breeds are specifically mated, such as the Labradoodle, one speaks today of so-called designer or hybrid dogs.

Historical development of dog breeds

Dogs originally served as farm animals, which were assigned various tasks. So from an early age there were different dogs for guarding the house, herding cattle or hunting. The dogs were specially bred for their performance and there were hardly any external guidelines. Desired properties should be strengthened and undesired properties should be minimized. Up until the Middle Ages there were only about twelve different "dog breeds". These included cattle dogs, sniffer dogs, greyhounds, shepherds and farm dogs.

The term dog breed first appeared in the early 19th century when humans started out Keeping dogs as pets. Dogs were no longer just farm animals, but became family members. The first dog show took place in England in 1859. At that time, the first dog breeds still had names that were based on their use or origin. Shortly after the show, the first pedigree dog clubs were founded in England.

Unfortunately, with some dog breeds, breeding went so far that it eventually led to health problems.

What breeds of dogs are there today?

Over the centuries, new dog breeds have been added, some of which are already extinct today. World War II was a huge setback for many dog ​​breeds, with many drafted for military service.

Estimated exist today over 800 different dog breeds worldwide. However, only about 350 of these are currently officially recognized by the FCI. There are around 8.6 million dogs in Germany, of which around 69% are pedigree dogs and 31% are mixed breeds.