Breeding dogs with the intent of preserving or producing particular characteristics is called dog breeding. Developing physical characteristics, movements, and personalities through selective breeding over decades produces a dog breed that consistently exhibits them.
Each breed has distinct traits associated with morphology, evident in skull shape, body size, tail phenotype, coat color, and fur type. Furthermore, each breed is characterized by distinct aspects of their behavioral traits including herding, hunting, and guarding, and features of their personalities include hypersociality, aggression, and boldness.
The unique combination of physical and behavioral traits are what define a specific breed. Breed registries and kennel clubs typically set and maintain breed standards which are written descriptions of each trait necessary for breeding an ideal specimen of the breed.
According to a report in July 2021, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) also known as the World Canine Organisation maintains the largest dog breed list recognising between 390 and 400 unique breeds. The fluctuation is due to new breed registrations not included yet, or deleted breeds not yet removed from the list.
According to the American Kennel Club, dog breeds are classified in seven main groups, listed below, with examples.
- Sporting Breeds: Bred to assist hunters in the capture and retrieval of feathered game, like the Labrador Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, and Cocker Spaniel.
- Hound Breeds: Bred to pursue warm-blooded quarry from raccoons to escaped convicts, like Bloodhound, Dachshund, and Greyhound.
- Working Breeds: Bred to assist humans in tasks from pulling sleds to guarding homes, like the Boxer, Rottweiler, and Great Dane.
- Terrier Breeds: Bred to go underground in pursuit of rodents and other vermin, like Bull Terrier, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier.
- Toy Breeds: Bred particularly to work hard as lovable, affectionate and attentive companions, like the Chihuahua, Pug, and Shih Tzu.
- Non-Sporting Breeds: A patchwork group of breeds defying all six of the other categories, though they all have fascinating histories.Today, the work they do for humans is seldom more than companionship, like the Dalmatian, Bulldog, and Poodle.
- Herding Breeds: Bred with exceptional intelligence to allow training for herding livestock, but also proved to be ideal members of law enforcement, like the German Shepherd Dog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and Border Collie.
All dogs have the same number of teeth, regardless of breed. Due to their meat-eating evolutionary history, dogs have the teeth typical of carnivores. Dogs have many types of teeth, just like humans, to perform different jobs. However, certain breeds have more dental problems than others, like breeds with narrow muzzles like Dachshunds and Collies that often have problems with the lack of space for 42 teeth.
Pregnancies in dogs do not vary by breed.All breeds’ gestation periods are approximately 63 day. However, it could vary between 57 and 65 days. Breeds play a role in the litter sizes, though. Large breeds typically produce more puppies per litter.
Although the breed of a dog will indicate some innate personality traits, like humans, each dog has a unique personality. Two purebred puppies from the same litter can have different personalities. They are much more than bundles of genes that were pre-programmed. A dog’s human family could also contribute to a dog’s personality.
How to define a dog’s breed?
Determining a dog’s breed is not an exact science. When an organization like the American Kennel Club determines the breed of a dog, they set standards for that breed to help with future identification of pups born to two parents of one breed. There are 20,000 genes in the genome of a dog, each gene determining one aspect. One gene determines the shape of the dog’s head and the remaining 19,999 determine every other physical, personality and health-related characteristics.
However, identifying the breed of an adult dog is more complicated because training, socialization, environment, diet and health management can cloud innate characteristics. The physical appearance of a dog involves only about 50 genes, the other 19,950 are responsible for invisible traits like brain function, playfulness, aggression, loyalty, etc. Therefore, visual breed identification could be questionable.
What is the definition of a Dog Diet?
The definition of a dog’s diet is an appropriate amount of well-balanced nutrients for the dog’s overall health and well-being.
Expanding the definition shows that a well-balanced canine diet must include appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids obtained from proteins. Furthermore, the diet must include certain fats to provide essential fatty acids. The required amounts of each component varies according to a dog’s size, and life stage such as senior, adult, adolescent, puppy or a pregnant female. A healthy diet contains all these nutrients to build and maintain tissue, bones, teeth and support healthy biological reactions.
What is the definition of dog care?
Definition of dog care is providing for all the needs of a dog, including food, shelter and medical treatment.
Dogs, like humans, need shelter, water,and food to survive. However, to ensure a strong bond and a happy life with a thriving canine pet, the owner must ensure the dog gets enough physical exercise and mental stimulation.
Different breeds have different needs. Although the same diet could be suitable for most dog breeds, the amounts of food must meet the dog’s metabolism, size and age. Likewise, the exercise needs of different breeds vary. Grooming needs vary significantly, with some breeds being high maintenance and others requiring no more than occasional brushing and bathing.
Breeds play a significant role in the health of dogs. For example, some large breeds are predisposed to hip dysplasia, and Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome (BAOS) is a pathological condition affecting short nosed dogs, which can lead to severe respiratory problems. It is always a good idea to learn about a dog’s unique needs before adopting or buying a specific breed.
What are the anatomy differences between dog breeds?
Dogs have between 319 to 321 bones in their bodies, regardless of breed. The number could vary slightly because dogs with long tails have a few more tail bones. All breeds have the same number of muscles, the same respiratory and digestive system. However, in appearance, every one of the about 400 registered purebred dogs is unique. Compare the following two breeds.
- Smallest: An adult Yorkshire Terrier that was once named the smallest canine, weighing 4 ounces, with a height at shoulders of only 2 ½ inches and 3.7 inches length measured along the head and body.
- Heaviest: Zorba, an English Mastiff, weighed 314 pounds.
- Tallest: A Great Dane was measured at the withers, standing 42 inches tall.
One can hardly believe the tiny Yorkie has the same skeletal structure with the same number of bones as the Mastiff and Great Dane.
However, significant differences between breeds exist, although not anatomical. Their coat types, texture, density and color vary, and so do the shapes of their heads, their shape and color of their eyes, their paws and more.
What is the heaviest dog breed?
The breed considered the heaviest is the Mastiff. Although there are 14 different Mastiff breeds, the English Mastiff is regarded as the heaviest, although not the tallest. English Mastiffs can weigh between 110 and 343 pounds.
What is the longest living dog breed?
The longest living dog breeds are typically the smaller breeds, with the Chihuahua’s expected lifespan between 15 and 20 years. However, nothing is guaranteed, as proved by a rare large breed Australian Cattle Dog that lived for 29 years, although that breed typically has a 15 year life expectancy.
What is the lightest dog breed?
According to registered breed standards, the Chihuahua is the lightest dog breed. They typically weigh below 6 pounds. The lightest dog recorded in Guinness World Records was a Chihuahua called Miracle Milly, born in Puerto Rico in 2011, weighing less than one ounce, fitting in a teaspoon. Her mature weight was one pound, and she lived for nine years. She died after developing breathing problems.
What is the shortest dog breed?
The shortest dog breed, the Chihuahua, is a tiny dog with a big-dog personality. Chihuahuas height, measured at the shoulder, is only 5 to 8 inches. This tiny canine breed is the national symbol of Mexico, among the oldest breeds of the Americas, with a lineage going back to the ancient kingdoms of pre-Columbian times.
What are the growth rate differences between dog breeds?
The growth rate of different breeds depends on their size. The growth continues until all the bones are fully developed. That happens sooner in small breeds. Growth continues as long as the growth plates produce new tissue. When they calcify, bone growth stops. But fat and muscle continue to grow. With purebreds the growth rate is more or less predictable.
On average, small breeds like Pugs and Pomeranians continue growing for the first six to eight months of their lives. Medium-sized breeds like Beagles and Border Collies reach adult size by the time of their first birthdays.
Large dogs’ bones take a bit longer to grow. Breeds like boxers or any of the Coonhounds are typically fully grown somewhere between 12 and 18 months. Giant breeds like Saint Bernard and Rottweilers typically continue growing until about their second birthdays.
What is the fastest growing dog breed?
The fastest growing dog breeds are the smallest breeds. Dogs in the Toy and Small categories typically reach maturity in just 8 to 10 months. In contrast, Giant breeds such as the Great Pyrenees, Great Dane, and the Irish wolfhound may not fully mature for up to two years.
What is the slowest growing dog breed?
Dogs of the Giant breeds have giant bones that take longer to grow than those of any other size breeds. Even after their bones are fully grown, muscles and body fat continue to grow. Long-boned Giant breeds like Great Danes and Newfoundland dogs could weigh up to 200 pounds and could reach maturity after as long as 36 months.
What is the slowest dog breed?
The slowest dog breed is the Pug, based on speed tests carried out. At the 2019 Berlin International Pug Race, most participating Pugs could not go faster than 2.7 miles per hour. That is slower than the walking speed of average humans who can walk at between 3 and 4 miles per hour. However, there is a reason for the lack of speed when Pugs run. They are Brachycephalic, meaning they are short snouted, causing impaired lung capacity. Other Brachycephalic breeds include Bulldogs, Boston terriers, Shih tzus, Chow Chows etc.
What is the fastest dog breed?
The speed and endurance of a greyhound is unmatched among other canines and many land mammals. Greyhounds can run 45 miles per hour, reaching that speed within their first six strides, and then they can maintain 35 miles per hour over distances up to 7 miles, or more.
What is the reproducing frequency of dog breeds?
Although most female dogs have two reproductive cycles per year, exceptions exist. Small breeds could have three heat cycles per year, and giant breeds might have one cycle per year.
Litter sizes are also affected by breed. Smaller breeds have fewer puppies per litter, and large breeds have more. The litter sizes listed below reflect the outcome of a study involving 728,271 litters:
- Labrador Retrievers were estimated to give birth to about 5–10 puppie per litter, but 7 was the average number after analysis of the study.
- German Shepherds had between 5–9 with an average of 6.6.
- American Cocker Spaniels had between 3–7 with an average of 5.
- Shetland Sheepdogs had anywhere between 2–6 pups with an average of 4.3.
- Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas had 2–5 pups with an average of 3.3.
However, consider that some small breeds may still yield large litters; the Pekingese, for instance, may have up to 10 puppies in a litter.
Which dog breeds are predators?
Dog breeds with a high prey drive are predators. Some breeds have inborn instincts to retrieve and other breeds cannot resist chasing anything that moves because their ancestors were bred to hunt. Dog breeds bred to hunt, but since domesticated, will chase after anything from cats or birds and even leaves blowing in the wind. Examples of predator dogs are listed below.
- Rhodesian Ridgeback: Originally bred to hunt lions and big game in Africa
- Airedale Terrier: Originally bred to track otters and trap them
- English Springer: Their instinct to rush and scare small animals from their hiding places come from their innate instincts to flush out quarry for their hunting owners.
How to understand your dog’s breed?
Humans have bred dogs for thousands of years in their quest to produce different beads with particular mental and physical traits for specific types of work. Examples include sleek Greyhounds to chase down quick-footed prey, mastiffs to serve as warriors or guard dogs, and tiny Yorkshire terriers to chase rats.
Breeder clubs like AKC keep records of the ideal traits for each breed, including temperament, physical traits, movement, and more. The breed standards can, for instance, show why a particular dog is a Springer Spaniel rather than a cocker Spaniel. The list below shows the traits that can help with identifying dog breeds.
- Is the dog calm or energetic?
- How much exercise does the dog need?
- Is the dog very vocal?
- Does it only bark when necessary?
- Is the barking frequent, average or infrequent?
- Breed size like small, medium, large, or giant
- Intelligence level
- Hypoallergenic or regular, occasional, frequent , infrequent or seasonal shedding
- Interaction with family, children, seniors, neighbors, guests, strangers and other dogs
- Is it a good Guard Dog?
- Does the dog adapt to changing circumstances easily?
- Is the dog hairless?
- Does it have a double or single layer coat?
- Is the coat short, medium or long?
- Is the coat texture smooth or coarse?
- What is the color of the coat?
- Weight and height
- Is the dog stubborn, independent, eager to please, agreeable?
- Is it easy to train the dog?