The artificial selection of dogs today is often associated with cutesy intentions.
But many of today’s dog breeds aren’t the result of “designer” breeding, so much as breeding that had been done with specific purposes to hone certain doggie traits (NOT just cuteness).
So here are 11 breeds with a more complicated history than you’d expect.
The Sheepadoodle is a mix between an Old English Sheepdog and a Poodle. When breeding a light shedder with a virtually shed-less dog, you are likely to get a bunch of puppies with an increased hypoallergenic factor. Aspiring Doodle owners can learn more about these mixes through Doodle Rescue Inc., a non-profit organization who has saved hundreds of Doodles since 2005.
Contrary to popular belief, although the Golden Retriever and Border Collie are both of Scottish origin, the Gollie does not generally enjoy hanging out in a kilt. In fact, it is a very intelligent breed with a strong sense for herding. They’re quick learners with the intense Collie endurance and beautiful silky coat of the Golden.
3. Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
Resulting from a breeding experiment in 1955 Czechoslovakia, this super sweet pup is a hybrid of a German Shepherd and a Carpathian wolf. They were originally Special Operations service dogs, but today are considered the national breed in Czechoslovakia. Having the temperament and trainability of the German Shepherds while also being as strong as the Carpathian wolf, they were inspired by Catdog to be the best of both worlds.
Other than learning to perfect saying, “The term ‘Chiweenie’ is derogatory, we prefer ‘ Chihuahua Dachshund mix’”, these “Mexican hotdogs” are known for being avid barkers. They were originally bred in the 1900’s in an attempt to reduce the back problems that are common amongst Dachshunds. Like the name suggests, Chiweenies are little but the hound in their blood makes them independent spirits.
Eurohounds are one of the few crossbreeds without a wacky name. These Scandinavian athletes are half Alaskan Husky and half Pointers, two of the best sled dog breeds in the world. Together they made the fastest, strongest, shortest-coated puppies Sweden has ever seen.
While Lurchers may seem like their own breed, the name actually classifies a type of dog that is crossed with a sighthound. Legend has it that they originated during the middle ages, when only the royal families were allowed to own purebred sighthounds, and the hounds began to be accidentally mixed with other breeds, making them available to everyone. As it became more clear that these hound-mixes were extremely athletic, they slowly evolved to be recognized solely as Lurchers, the gentle hunters.
As the only dog on this list recognized by the American Rare Breed Association, the Kyi-Leo has done far more in its short timeline than the first litter of puppies could have ever imagined. The Kyi-Leo was introduced in the 1950’s when a Lhasa Apso and a Maltese eloped, they were continually bred for the next 20 years until eventually there was a clear distinction between a Kyi and a first generation Lhasa-Maltese mix.
8. Bull Terrier
Bull Terriers have a massive family tree that dates back to the 1800’s. They are essentially half Old English Bulldog and half Old English Terrier, making them a cross-bred dog that evolved into its own kind about a hundred years later. It wasn’t until 1917 that Lord Gladiator was born, the very first “official” Bull Terrier whose skull was completely leveled from crown to nose.
9. Majestic Tree Hound
Much like the Bull Terriers, these hounds also evolved into their own breed after many centuries. Their bloodline can be traced to the St. Hubert Hound, named after the “Patron Saint of Hunters” Francois Hubert, during early 8th century Southern France. The National Majestic Tree Hound Association was founded in 1980 when it was decided that the hounds’ outstanding hunting skills needed to be recognized.
Very similar to, family of, but not to be confused with the Lurcher, the Longdog is a crossbreed of two pure sighthounds, whereas the Lurcher is a sighthound mixed with a non-sighthound (E.g. a Collie). They are excellent coursers, because of their close relationship to fast Greyhounds and the legendary hunters Salukis.
The Xoloitzcuintle (Pronounced Sho-lo-eets-quint-lee) a.k.a. Xolo a.k.a. Mexican Hairless Dog has been around for about 3,000 years. Although archaeological evidence has proven this breed’s seniority, its only recently been recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club. According to Aztec mythology, the god Xolotl gifted this dog to mankind, instructed them to guard them with their lives, and in exchange the dog would guide the man toward the evening stars in the heavens. Although there are a few speculations with this particular theory, the Xolo’s long history has earned it its sacred spot in the doggie world today.
Featured image by Katherine