Dog breed

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A dog breed is a distinguishable breed of domestic dogs .

The concept of the dog breed

In the case of domestic dogs, a breed is considered as such if it has been defined as a breed. This is usually done by a breed association, but it can also be done by a breeder or by individuals. Most known dog breeds are described by associations and clubs. There are no standards or uniform scientific bases for the designation.

The cynologist and animal painter Ludwig Beckmann gave the following definition of a dog breed in 1893: “The only definite character of a breed is that the latter regularly produces its own kind. Even crossbreeding products must be addressed as 'races' and 'purely bred' as soon as their offspring display the desired breed signs or characters. "

W. Herre said that a race "[is] nothing uniform, but [it] comprises a group of different, species-like individuals who only have a few things in common that can only be described using statistical methods". He defines a breed as follows:

“Races are widespread sub-units of a species that are kept in sexual isolation by humans, which differ from one another in several characteristics and hereditary units. They are collective units whose peculiarities can only be reproduced by statistical methods. A wide field is left to the subjective discretion in the delimitation and selection of features. "

- W. Herre : in: Räber, Hans: Vom Wolf zum Rassehund , p. 108

In 1984 the FCI adopted the following breed definition at the suggestion of Raymond Triquet :

“Race is a group of individuals who share common characteristics that distinguish them from other members of their species, and which are inherently transmittable. The species emerges naturally, whereas the breed is the result of breeding within the framework of cynology. "

- Raymond Triquet : in: Encyclopedia of Dogs (Royal Canin)

It is estimated that there are over 800 breeds that exist worldwide. However, the geneticist W. Schleger is of the opinion that one can only speak of a maximum of 100 breeds in domestic dogs - he considers the rest to be varieties . The number of individuals per breed varies from a few to thousands. The breed descriptions are maintained by different associations and clubs. The largest of these associations is the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), a global umbrella organization to which clubs from over 80 countries are affiliated.

There are no fixed rules for differentiating between the FCI breeds: some breeds differ, for example, in the color of the spots (some French hounds ), others in their size (such as the pinschers ). With the German Spitz or Poodles it does not matter how big they are or what colors they are, there is only one breed of German Spitz and one breed of Poodle . The Belgian Shepherd is as a race in different strokes bred that have different names; the closely related Hollandse Herdershond as well, only these lofts have no special names. Breeds bred by breed societies outside the FCI may differ from those of the FCI, but have the same name.

In the case of offspring from crosses of different breeds and dogs without a pedigree, one speaks of a mixed breed dog , bastard or a promenade mix . If two breeds are crossbred in a targeted manner, one speaks of designer or hybrid dogs for some time .

Offspring from crosses with other species from the family of dogs (Canidae) are not domestic dogs ( Canis lupus familiaris ), with the exception of wolf crossbreeds such as the Czechoslovakian wolf dog , Saarloos wolf dog and Lupo Italiano . Direct crossbreeds, i.e. the F1 generation, differ considerably from domestic dogs, especially in their behavior, which has been proven by numerous studies (for example by Erik Zimen ). Improper keeping of such animals poses a significant risk.

Historical development of dog breeds

While there are a large number of very different types of dogs, breeds are created through breeding.

Finds of peat dogs suggest an early selection, as some skulls found show traces of a violent death, so that it can be assumed that not the whole litter was raised, but only individual individuals.

During the Hallstatt period , the dog population became inconsistent, with differences in size and jaw width. In addition, the first dental anomalies appeared. In the Middle Ages there were probably only twelve dog breeds in Europe. In the fifth to ninth centuries, Germanic legal collections listed breeds, which are classified according to their use: up to seven hunting dog breeds - Leithunt , Triphunt ( driving dog), Spurihunt ( detection dog), Greyhunt , Hapuhunt (hawk dog) - as well as the shepherd dog and the Hovawarth ( Farm dog).

From the 13th century a controlled hunting dog breed was practiced so that the "pure-bred" dogs did not mix with the farm dogs. Here the appearance of the dogs was of secondary importance; "Thoroughbred" were those who could hunt well. Presumably, inbreeding has already been practiced many times , since good dogs were increasingly used for breeding. In the 19th century many new breeds were bred and breed standards were established in order to preserve a created breed. Often the breeding of a new breed began with a few dogs ( genetic bottleneck ), for example the breeding of the Appenzell Mountain Dog was started with eleven animals, that of the English Setter with only two animals.

The industrial revolution made the dog superfluous as a labor force, which resulted in competitions which primarily aimed at the different looks of the dogs. At the beginning of the 19th century, when there were already organized dog shows , numerous pedigree dogs were bred. As the cities grew, there was also an increase in lap and domestic dogs. Dog breeding as it is today (with stud books and so on) originated in Great Britain because, due to the great popularity of dog fights, the first commercial breed of so-called "bull biters" was created there. Many breeding associations emerged later, which were initially limited to working dogs, but later also included local special forms such as herding dogs, greyhounds or "Toydogs". Most dog breeds come from England, followed by Central and Northern European countries. Together they make up 204 of 313 breeds (65%) described by Bo Bengtson in 1978. 11% (37 races) of today's races come from southern European countries, 8% (25 races) come from Eastern Europe and Russia.

Systematics of the dog breeds

Historical systematics

The ancient Romans were the first to classify dogs according to their use. They differentiated between villatici (guard dogs), pastorales (shepherd dogs) and venatici (hunting dogs). The hunting dogs were further subdivided into sagaces , which followed the trail of the game, celeres , which followed by sight, and pugnaces , which attacked the prey and fought.

In 1755 Buffon established a division according to the shape and position of the dog's ears. Jean Pierre Mégnin , on the other hand, relied on the shape of the skull and distinguished four groups. The first group were the Bracchoidae , whose features were a prism-shaped head, hanging ears, a clear forehead, a snout of the same width at the top and base and long, drooping lips (e.g. bracken, retriever, spaniel). The second group ( Lupoidae ) was characterized by a horizontally pyramidal head, upright or hanging ears, a long, narrow snout and narrow lips (for example, terriers, pinschers, pointed dogs, shepherds). The third group ( Graioidae ) had a long, conical head, a weak forehead, ears pointing backwards or upright, narrow lips and a slender body (e.g. greyhounds). The last group ( Molossoidae ) has a round or angular head, a clear forehead, a short snout, small ears, long lips and a massive body (for example mastiffs).

Modern system according to the FCI system

The modern system of domestic dogs uses breed standards , in which the appearance and behavior of dogs of this breed is described. The standard describes the ideal dog of this breed and can also be understood as a breeding goal. The affiliation of individual dogs to the races is documented by means of pedigrees and stud books .

A cynological system of dog breeds is maintained by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) , among others . It currently recognizes 344 breeds, including provisionally accepted breeds (as of November 2017).

The FCI system divides the dog breeds into ten groups, which in turn are divided into sections:

Modern system according to Anglo-Saxon systems

The British Kennel Club , the American Kennel Club , the Canadian Kennel Club and other umbrella organizations in English-speaking countries have certain differences in the breeds they recognize, both among themselves and in comparison with the FCI. The classification of the recognized races follows a similar system in many clubs, in which a division into seven groups is made. A similar classification was used in Ireland until recently , but in 2005 it adopted the FCI system.

The British system divides dog breeds into the following groups:

  1. Hound Group → Category: Hound Group (KC)
  2. Working Group → Category: Working Group (KC)
  3. Gundog Group → Category: Gundog Group (KC)
  4. Terrier Group → Category: Terrier Group (KC)
  5. Utility Group → Category: Utility Group (KC)
  6. Pastoral Group → Category: Pastoral Group (KC)
  7. Toy Group → Category: Toy Group (KC)

The AKC system uses the following groups, which are also managed by the CKC under this name:

  1. Sporting Group → Category: Sporting Group (AKC)
  2. Hound Group → Category: Hound Group (AKC)
  3. Working Group → Category: Working Group (AKC)
  4. Terrier Group → Category: Terrier Group (AKC)
  5. Toy Group → Category: Toy Group (AKC)
  6. Non-Sporting Group → Category: Non-Sporting Group (AKC)
  7. Herding Group → Category: Herding Group (AKC)

Genetic differentiation of dog breeds

Studies have been carried out earlier to clarify the relationships between the individual breeds of dogs. For example, Theophil Studer set up a family tree in 1901, which is supposed to show the development of today's dog breeds from prehistoric dogs and postulates the existence of primordial breeds . He designed this family tree based on craniometric features, but had to disregard numerous other features. The pedigree turned out to be wrong, especially because Studer thought the different types of dogs were breeds with corresponding lines. Instead of the wolf ( Canis lupus ), he held the hypothetical, dingo-like wild canid Canis ferus , which was believed to be extinct, and which merged into the (equally hypothetical) domesticated primeval dog ( Canis poutiantini ), as the progenitor of all dogs.

Experiments by John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller on genetic aspects of social behavior showed that the breeds of dogs differ genetically. The two researchers selected five dog breeds (Basenji, Sheltie, Cocker Spaniel, Fox Terrier and Beagle), with puppies being interchanged and animals of different breeds being crossed. It turned out that the fox terriers developed a rigorous ranking even as puppies, while the beagle and Sheltie puppies were much more peaceful and did not form a ranking. The Basenjis were particularly successful in learning attempts where independence was required, as they still live under harsh conditions today, but they failed in constantly changing surroundings or with foreign objects, as the fear and flight reactions then masked all other drives. In second place came cocker spaniels, fox terriers and beagles. The Shelties were the most dependent because they had to work as shepherds under the direct influence of humans. Scott and Fuller came to the conclusion that the specific behavior of the purposefully bred dogs is strongly genetic; However, the crossings of these dog breeds showed that the very different behavioral traits are mostly only determined by one or two genes.

For another study to show that dog breeds differ genetically in their behavior, an experiment was done at the University of Molecular and Cell Biology in California. Border collies and Newfoundlands were taken and their behavior was examined. Newfoundlanders love water, often bark and have their tails high, while Border Collies tend to shy away from the water, are very calm and keep their tails lowered. In addition, Border Collies show many behaviors (e.g. crouching, staring eye contact) that they exhibit due to their herding dog heritage, which the Newfoundland dog lacks. When the two breeds were crossed, it was found that the F1 (1st daughter generation) showed both the herding behavior of the Border Collie and the Newfoundland's love of water; their barking behavior was in the middle of the two races. In the F2 (2nd daughter generation) there were all imaginable combinations.

Studies of mitochondrial DNA showed that there are certain relationships between the races, which researchers have divided into four groups. The first group includes the Australian dingo, Leonberger, St. Bernard, Irish setter, Rottweiler, Poodle and other modern breeds. In the second group is the Norwegian elkhound as a close relative of the wolves from Italy, France and Romania. In the third group are the German Shepherd, Siberian Husky and Mexican Xoloitzquintle. The last group includes Flatcoated Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Bassethounds and Wire-haired Dachshunds. However, these results showed that it was not possible to read the mitochondrial DNA accurately enough at the time. Recent studies have shown that all dog breeds worldwide have a common homogeneous gene pool that can be divided into ten large haplotypes . The entire genetic range is only found in dogs in China, south of the Yangtze River , from which it was concluded that this region was the starting point for domestication . Only four of the haplogroups are found in Europe.

It is believed that the different appearance of dog breeds results from changes in what is known as junk DNA ( i.e. DNA whose function is unknown). In some breeds, sections of the junk DNA are repeated frequently. These repetitions, known as tandem repeats , cause, for example, the six-toedness of the hind feet in the Pyrenean mountain dog ( tandem repeats around the ALX-4 gene) or the different shapes of the snouts ( tandem repeats around the RUNX-2 gene). Changes in appearance can also be detected within a breed through the tandem repeats . For example, in the Bull Terrier, the changed shape of the snout (lowering of the snout) is accompanied by changes in the junk DNA .

In 2004, a genetically based system of 85 dog breeds was published in Science for the first time. The authors led by Heidi G. Parker formed four groups ( clusters ) of dog breeds on the basis of genetic analyzes . Common names for the groups are: Oriental , Mastiff , Shepherd and Hunting . This system has been used frequently in scientific publications ever since.

Distribution of pedigree dogs to the breeds

Statistics from the FCI from autumn 2012, in which 25 countries are taken into account and over 2 million dogs were recorded, lists 293 breeds because some breeds with their own FCI numbers were combined into one, for example long-haired collie (FCI No. 156) with Shorthair Collie (FCI No. 296) to Collie. According to this statistic, there were fewer than 100 new entries in a stud book worldwide in 51 breeds per year in 2012 , in a number of them none at all. 86 breeds, almost 30%, have fewer than 200 worldwide registrations per year. Almost a quarter of all new entries are attributable to the four most common breeds, and more than half of the new entries to the 15 most common breeds.

The survey yielded the following results for the breeds with the most frequent new entries. (The columns with the percentages and cumulative figures are not included in the published results.)

New entries in a stud book must not be confused with the total number of dogs of this breed. The new entries rather reflect the number of dogs thrown .

position Race name Number of new entries P% (P New entries accumulated K% (K
1 Labrador Retriever 191.988 8.4 191.988 8.4
2 German shepherd dog 129,186 (* 5.7 321.174 14.1
3 Poodle (all sizes) 118,653 5.2 439,827 19.3
4th Chihuahueño 107.114 4.7 546.941 24.0
5 Golden retriever 92.994 4.1 639.935 28.1
6th Yorkshire Terrier 92,438 4.1 732.373 32.2
7th Dachshund (all sizes) 81,516 3.6 813,889 35.7
8th beagle 53,938 2.4 867.827 38.1
9 boxer 52,983 2.3 920.810 40.4
10 Miniature Schnauzer (all colors) 45.263 2.0 966.073 42.4
11 Shih Tzu 44,564 2.0 1,010,637 44.4
12 Bulldog 44,325 1.9 1,054,962 46.3
13 German Spitz (all sizes) 40,530 1.8 1,095,492 48.1
14th English Cocker Spaniel 40.174 1.8 1,135,666 49.9
15th Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 39,670 1.7 1,175,336 51.6
16 Bouledogue Francais 39,337 1.7 1,214,673 53.3
17th Pug 33,528 1.5 1,248,201 54.8
18th rottweiler 31,447 1.4 1,279,648 56.2
19th English setter 29,771 1.3 1,309,419 57.5
20th Maltese 28,909 1.3 1,338,328 58.8
21st English Springer Spaniel 28,050 1.2 1,366,378 60.0
22nd German Shorthaired Pointer 23,855 1.0 1,390,233 61.1
23 Staffordshire Bull Terrier 23,562 1.0 1,413,795 62.1
24 Border collie 23,262 1.0 1,437,057 63.1
25th Shetland Sheepdog 22.805 1.0 1,459,862 64.1
26th Doberman Pinscher 20,941 0.9 1,480,803 65.0
27 West Highland White Terrier 20,904 0.9 1,501,707 66.0
28 Bernese Mountain Dog 20,423 0.9 1,522,130 66.9
29 German Mastiff 20.001 0.9 1,542,131 67.7
30th Epagneul Breton 19,828 0.9 1,561,959 68.6
Total number of dogs 2,276,864 100

(P Percentage of new registrations
(K Proportion of the cumulative number of the total number of new registrations
(* Number from 24 countries, one country did not submit the number of German Shepherds

Natural races

The Basenji is originally a natural breed.

In relatively closed regional dog populations, types with a largely uniform appearance and behavior often form, without the dogs being specifically bred for this purpose. Descriptions of such dog types have a lot in common with breed descriptions, which is why the term natural breed is also used for the described dog types , even though they are not breeds in the sense of the definition presented here.

Some types summarized under the term pariah dogs are considered natural races. This means that they were created without targeted breeding by humans. They form a well-defined group of dogs that have remained relatively pure-bred. They occur in Asia and North Africa and live there in a loose domestication relationship with humans. These natural breeds are not subject to controlled breeding. They are not completely feral, some live in close proximity to humans and their offspring can be easily tamed. This has already happened to one breed, namely the Basenji .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: dog breed  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • FCI regulations for the international (provisional) recognition of a new breed and FCI regulations for the international (final) recognition of a new breed (FCI regulations, appendix 1, as of 2015)


  • Juliette Cunliffe: Dogs - Breeds, Care, History. Parragon Books, Bath 2003, ISBN 1-405-48472-1 .
  • The dogs. In: The secrets of the animal world. Ruler of the animal kingdom (= Lekturama encyclopedia). Volume 3: Mammals III. Lekturama, Cologne 1975.
  • Eva-Maria Krämer: The great cosmos of dog handlers. With all 341 FCI races and 150 additional races. 5th, completely revised, enlarged and newly illustrated edition. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-440-10645-7 .
  • Hans Räber : From wolf to pedigree dog. Kynos Verlag , Mürlenbach / Eifel 1999, ISBN 3-933228-14-X .
  • Erik Zimen : The dog - descent, behavior, man and dog (= Goldmann 12397). Approved paperback edition. Goldmann, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-442-12397-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ History and description of the breeds of the dog. Two volumes. Volume 2, page 259, Ueber Rassenzzüung, Friedrich Vieweg, Braunschweig 1894/95
  2. Hans Räber: From the wolf to the pedigree dog . P. 107.
  3. Breed, variety and standard ( Memento of the original from January 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed February 8, 2013  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Compare Hans Räber: From the wolf to the pedigree dog . P. 107.
  5. Hans Räber: From the wolf to the pedigree dog . Pp. 55-56.
  6. a b Desmond Morris : Dogwatching. The dog's body language. 2nd Edition. Heyne, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-453-11508-2 .
  7. Karl Gottlob Anton : History of the Teutschen Landwirthschaft from the earliest times to the end of the fifteenth century. One try. Anton, Görlitz 1799, p. 153 ( online ).
  8. ^ Gustav Klemm : Handbook of Germanic antiquity. Walther, Dresden 1836, pp. 90, 91 ( online ).
  9. Leop. Jos. Fitzinger : The Raçen of the tame dog Division I and The Raçen of the tame dog Division II. In: Meeting reports of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. Mathematical and scientific class. Vol. 56, 1867, ISSN  0375-2488 , ( online ).
  10. Hans Räber: From the wolf to the pedigree dog . Pp. 114-119.
  11. Erik Zimen: The dog . Pp. 175-177.
  12. Zimen refers to Bo Bengtson: Piper's Book of Breeds of Dogs . R. Piper, Munich et al. 1978, ISBN 3-492-02330-4 .
  13. Erik Zimen: The dog . P. 189.
  14. Compare "The Dogs". Article in: Lekturama encyclopedia . Pp. 29-59.
  15. Raymond Piquet: For a component-related definition of group, breed and variety. In: Revue Officielle de la Cynophilie Française. Issue 38, 2nd quarter 1982, Société Centrale Canine .
    Published in German in: The current nomenclature of the races of the FCI: who, how and when? Part 2/2. . In: FCI Newsletter No. 19 of February 28, 2014.
  16. FCI general information (as of November 2017) .
  17. Kennel Club Breed Standards ( Memento of the original from September 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. ^ AKC Breed List
  19. CKC Breed Standards
  20. Erik Zimen: The dog . Pp. 145-146.
  21. John L. Fuller , John Paul Scott: Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London 1965, full text of the unchanged new edition from 1974 .
  22. Erik Zimen: The dog . Pp. 249-251.
  23. Stanley Coren: How Dogs Think and Feel . P. 149.
  24. Hans Räber: From the wolf to the pedigree dog . P. 20.
  25. Jun-Feng Pang, Cornelya Kluetsch, Xiao-Ju Zou and a .: mtDNA data indicate a single origin for dogs south of Yangtze River, less than 16,300 years ago, from numerous wolves . In: Molecular biology and evolution . tape 26 , no. 12 , 2009, p. 2849-2864 , PMC 2775109 (free full text).
  26. The gene stutterers . Article of December 28, 2004 in: Die Presse , (as of April 13, 2008).
  27. Heidi G. Parker et al. a .: Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog . In: Science . Vol. 21, No. 304 , 2004, p. 1160–1164 , doi : 10.1126 / science.1097406 .
  28. See FCI newsletter 3/2013. At the end of the article in the FCI newsletter the following 26 (!) Countries are thanked for their contributions to these statistics: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Ukraine, USA, United Kingdom.
  29. a b Worldwide registration numbers - from the top 30 to endangered breeds. In: FCI (Ed.): Newsletter 3/2013. , June 26, 2013
  30. Juliette Cunliffe: Dogs - Breeds, Care, History . P. 171.
  31. Hans Räber: From the wolf to the pedigree dog . P. 111.
  32. Juliette Cunliffe: Dogs - Breeds, Care, History . P. 171.