It’s a known fact that dogs are descendants of wolves, but have you ever wondered how we ended up with so many different dog breeds? Scientists are still studying that, but some of the evolution has been at the hands of humans.
Domestication has come a long way in tens of thousands of years, but a look at selective breeding practices by people during the last 100 years have created over 150 deviations from doggie ancestors. So much has changed!
A comparison of photos from 1915’s Dogs of All Nations to what we see today shows some interesting tidbits. What happened and to which pups?
One of the most tampered with dog breeds has been the English Bulldog. This video from Wochit mentions how the jowls of the dog were saggy and its posture was squatty, but today you’ll find this beloved dog has many more wrinkles and is pudgier.
If you’ve ever met one, you know they’re pretty chill, but their lifespans are typically around 6 or 7 years. Prone to health issues with their breathing, body heat, joints, skin, and spine, it seems evolution has not been for the better for these guys.
Some of your other favorites are the German Shepherd, St. Bernard, and Bull Terrier. Once upon a time, German Shepherds weighed an average of 55 pounds. Today, that average ranges between 75 and 90, with their spines being shaped differently too. Instead having a straight back, it is sloped, causing hip and leg problems.
Oh, and the much-loved St. Bernard was a hardworking rescue dog, revered for its ability to thrive in cold temperatures and tracking down lost or injured humans, keeping them warm until more help arrived. Now, they overheat easily and are often plagued with hemophilia.
Bull Terriers’ heads are distinctly unlike what they were in the early 20th century. You easily recognize the football shape, but their faces used to be longer, flatter, and wider towards the top of the head. Dog historians theorize that the egg head may be the result of some sort of “alien” gene introduced sometime in the 1900s.
Although nature has run its course and continues to do so with dogs (and other animals), humans often tinkered – and still do – with dog genes to breed certain features. Sometimes it’s for the bark, other times it’s for looks, and yet others, for their abilities.
That’s how we’ve gotten “designer” dogs like the Labradoodle, Puggle, Maltipoo, Yorkipoo, and many other poos. They weren’t even around 100 years ago! While we love the cuteness, intelligence, and playfulness in our “evolved” dogs, in many cases their health suffers from being so mixed up.
To hear more about canine evolution and other breeds affected, click on the clip below. One can only wonder how the dogs we know and love today will look in another 100 years. But we can probably still expect our furry friends to love digging in the trash.
Were you aware the amount of human tinkering on dogs? What’s your favorite dog breed? Are there any old traits you would want to bring back?