Modern Dog Breeds and a Look at Their Origins

The Grey Wolf AND A Theory

Grey WolfEvery dog breed is said to be a subspecies of the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus); so goes the theory. Yet domestic dogs have been around since ancient times. A 2010 discovery in Siberia has revealed remains of a domesticated dog, similar to the modern Samoyed, dating to around 33,000 BC ! The earliest “cultural evidence”, linking man with a domesticated dog (Canis lupus familiaris) goes back some 14,000 years to the Bonn-Oberkassel burial site in Germany where dog and human remains were discovered buried together.

Dogs Get Domesticated

Whatever the case with other breeds, it’s evident that the wolf


featured prominently in the ancestry of the German Shepherd Dog. Let’s consider how the process may have unfolded. It is likely that wolves ventured into human camp sites or early settlements to scavenge for leftovers. The less timid ones would tend to have offspring with similar traits. Eventually domestication became possible, perhaps aided by the appearance of orphaned wolf pups that, because of their youth, had greater prospects for domestication. It’s been observed that wolf pups under the age of 21 days can be domesticated with relative ease.

Ancient Dog Breeds


There are a number of ancient breeds, amongst them the Afghan Hound, Alaskan Malamute, Pekingese, Saluki, Samoyed, Shih

Tzu and the Siberian Husky and Tibetan Mastif. Clearly, they were created with a striking diversity of color, size, build and character. While some have evolved in small degrees, the fossil record shows others to have remained essentially unchanged up. Genetic and archeological studies have identified about 14 breeds as being ancient, meaning that their origins go back further than 5,000 years.

Kennel Clubs and Today’s Dog Breeds

The organization of dog breeds, as we know them today, dates from the formation of the English Kennel Club in 1873. The American Kennel Club (AKC) was founded in 1884, and many other national clubs sprang up around the globe. For the most part, their breed classifications were based on those of the English Kennel Club.

Here is a sampling of some of the best-known breeds in accordance with American Kennel Club classifications:

1.Sporting Dogs Spaniels Retrievers Setters Pointers      
2.Hounds Afghan Beagle Basset Dachshund Bloodhound English Foxhound  
3.Working Dogs Alaskan Malamute Australian Cattle Dog Boxer German Pincer Great Dane Rottweiler Mastifs
Section 1; Medium & Large Airdale Border Fox Irish      
Section 2; Small Australian Jack Russel Norfolk Scottish      
Section 3; Bull Type Bull Terrier Staffordshire Bull Terrier          
Section 4; Toy Terriers Australian Silky Terrier English Toy Terrier Yorkshire Terrier        
5.Toys; 11sections, including: Bichons Poodles Chihuahuas English Toy Spaniels Pekingese Papillons  
6.Non-Sporting Bulldog Bichon Dalmatian Boston Terrier Chow Chow Poodle  
7.Herding Shepherds Collies Corgis Sheep Dogs      


The German Shepherd & Other Popular Breeds

Since we are, our main focus is the German Shepherd Dog. However, in our article: Popular Dog Breeds, we’ll take a “side-trip”, and look at the top 10 most popular breeds in the United States.

The origins of the German Shepherd will be covered in more detail in our article, The German Shepherd – Introduction.


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