Adrian, 10 years old, asks:
Everyone knows the German shepherd. Poodles, pugs, Labradors and Jack Russells are also well-known dog breeds. But why did people breed different dog breeds in the first place? And are there also new breeds? This is what Adrian, 10 years old, asks us
CoockapooThe Coockapoo was initially created by a chance cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. In the meantime, the fuzzy four-legged friend has become a breed in its own right and a popular family dog.
Every breed a mixture?
Every dog breed consists of a mixture of different, previously existing breeds. They have been bred over generations in such a way that, on the one hand, sufficient genetic material is available, and on the other hand, a uniform appearance and character traits clearly identify the newly created breed. Thus, the Boxer descended from a mixture of small bull biters, pugs, bulldogs, bear biters and boxing dogs, and it was not until 1895 to 1898 that the first true Boxer developed.
Even the popular German Shepherd is actually a hybrid of large and small herding dogs that have proven themselves in work. A breed standard for the German Shepherd Dog was not established until Rittmeister Max von Stephanitz in 1899.
Origin of a breed
In the past, dogs were bred for specific purposes. Hunting dogs were to be used during the hunt, herding dogs had to herd well but not look good. Lap dogs should be good to keep in a home, which affected the coat and size. However, shape, color and coat were mostly secondary. It was not until the end of the 19th century that people began to standardize the image of a dog breed by establishing so-called “breed standards” before breeding began.
What is line breeding ?
By crossing dogs with different characteristics, one finally tried to reach the standard and to judge the created breed according to it. Animals successfully brought closer to the standard continued to be used for breeding, failures were taken out of the line. Thus, at the beginning of each breed there was and still is a breeding pair to which all dogs of this breed can be traced. Trial and error laid the path of the so-called “line breeding”.
Some breeds, however, came into being more or less by chance, as evidenced by many a breed name even today. The Poodle Pointer, for example, came out of the mating of Pointers and Poodles. And also the new Cockapoo is an initially unintentional crossing of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. Quickly, people discovered the positive qualities that this mixture brought. The cheerfulness of the Cocker combined with the intelligence of the Poodle makes the Cockapoo, which has existed since the 1970s, currently a fashionable dog, at least in America. Added to this is the fuzzy appearance that requires hardly any grooming and is also suitable for allergy sufferers, as Cockapoos do not shed. The active, intelligent and affectionate family dog is cared for by the American Cockapoo Club (CCA) and is seeking recognition as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
“Breeding means thinking in generations”
Breeding a breed always means developing and maintaining the breed standard over many generations. For this reason, no new breed can be created overnight. To build the breed, “incest breeding” must first be chosen as the breeding method. It holds great dangers, because bad genetic material can be mixed in, which, however, is indispensable for the emergence. Here, father-daughter, brother-sister and mother-son are mated to come as close as possible to a standard. Only later can the continuation of the breed be worked on by outcrossing, i.e. the mating of unrelated animals of a breed, or line breeding, in which the best specimens are always joined.