The Story of Dog Breeds


Modern Dog Breeds and a Look at Their Origins

The Grey Wolf AND A Theory

Every 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

Ancient Dog Breeds

There are a number of ancient breeds, amongst them the Afghan Hound, Alaskan Malamute, Pekingese, Saluki, Samoyed, Shihrian Husky, and Tibetan Mastiff. 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. Genetic and archeological studies have identified about 14 breeds as being ancient, meaning that their origins go back further than 5,000 years.

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Kennel Clubs and Today’s Dog Breeds

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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 DogsSpanielsRetrieversSettersPointers   
2.HoundsAfghanBeagleBassetDachshundBloodhoundEnglish Foxhound 
3.Working DogsAlaskan MalamuteAustralian Cattle DogBoxerGerman PincerGreat DaneRottweilerMastifs
Section 1; Medium & LargeAirdaleBorderFoxIrish   
Section 2; SmallAustralianJack RusselNorfolkScottish   
Section 3; Bull TypeBull TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier     
Section 4; Toy TerriersAustralian Silky TerrierEnglish Toy TerrierYorkshire Terrier    
5.Toys; 11sections, including:BichonsPoodlesChihuahuasEnglish Toy SpanielsPekingesePapillons 
6.Non-SportingBulldogBichonDalmatianBoston TerrierChow ChowPoodle 
7.HerdingShepherdsColliesCorgisSheep Dogs   
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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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