How Dog Breeds Have Changed Over the Years
If you are looking at a dog right now, chances are, it might have not looked that way a hundred years ago. Dogs come in various shapes, sizes, and forms and if that is not enough, each breed is continually changing. A change in physical stature and characteristics could be caused by their environment or in most cases, due to intentional breeding “improvements.”
Some changes have become an advantage to their breed, while others were not as helpful. In fact, some people bred their dogs through selective breeding to exaggerate or enhance a certain physical trait to the expense of sacrificing their health and quality of life.
When you look at how dog breeds have changed over the years, it’s interesting how remarkable some of those changes really are! If you lived a hundred years ago, you would probably have a hard time identifying even the most recognizable breeds.
So let me share with you some dog breeds that have changed dramatically over the past years.
Most people would agree with me that one of the most unique dog breeds today is the bull terrier. They have this unusual egg-shaped head with small, slanting eyes. Some might liken a bull terrier’s head to a football. Whatever you might think, they are simply different when you compare to other dogs.
While some people may consider their head’s structure as cute or pleasantly unique, the bull terrier does not look this way in the early 20th century. They actually had a head that looks like most usual dogs. Their legs isn’t short like it is today, but they are longer with a thick and squat body.
Do you know that English bulldogs were popularly used in the as a bull baiting dog until it became illegal in 1835? For this reason, it is kind of difficult to see how modern English bulldogs could have outrun or outsmart bulls in the past if they have such short and fat legs and wide back.
Here’s the truth: they weren’t like this in the 1800s. If you find a picture of English bulldogs at that time, you will soon see the noticeable difference. The English bulldog in the past are taller and more slender. Not only that, but though they also have these wrinkles on their face, they are not as long, more saggy, and pronounced as they are today. The modern English bulldog has a squatter and thicker body compared to its past predecessor.
Chinese Shar Pei
Over a century ago, Chinese Shar Pei only had mild wrinkling. However, because of modern breeding techniques, their wrinkles have become bigger and thicker thanks to their excess skin. Their wrinkles have now extended beyond the face, toward their chest, and slightly to their front legs. Some breeders today are trying to reverse the breeding process and restore the traditional look of Chinese Shar Pei.
Because of the cute and lovable look of pugs, it is not difficult to see that it is among the most popular dog breeds. They became more popular following their appearance in the Men in Black movies. However, they didn’t use to exactly look this way. Breeders intentionally bred pugs to have a flat nose and big, wide eyes. Not only that, but pugs were also bred to have that double curl on their tail.
There are a few problems with these changes though. For one, with a flatter nose, pugs can easily develop breathing and respiratory problems. In addition to that, bigger and wider eyes led to eye problems. And the double curl on their tails are actually a genetic defect that may lead to paralysis. You'd never guess they have a risk of health issues considering how energetic and sweet they are.
One of the physically largest dog breeds today is the Saint Bernard. In the past, they were usually smaller and their face wasn’t as pushed in as it is today. Saint Bernards were traditionally farm dogs where they got enough exercise playing and chasing with other farm animals. Today, because of their huge bodies and thicker hair, they don’t get much work done since they can quickly overheat.
The List Goes On
So far, we've listed just some of the dogs that have seen little to big changes in their physical appearance. There are plenty more! Other breeds with significant changes you can learn about include: German Shepherds, Great Danes, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Rottweilers, Dachshunds, and many more!
There’s no doubt dog breeds have changed over the last century. However, one thing that has never changed is they have always been the loyal friend and furry family member to us. May we all appreciate the uniqueness, beauty, and characteristics of each dog breed. What's your favorite dog breed of all time? Comment Below!
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