Dogs have been man’s best friend throughout history and in return, man has been dog’s best friend too. But over the past hundred years or so, people have gotten a little nuts when it comes to breeding. In an effort to reach the peak of each breed, people have been inbreeding the animals to reinforce particular traits, often with disastrous medical consequences.
It only takes one glimpse of each breed’s history to understand that the animals that we see today at dog shows are mutated forms of what they were intended to be. The best way to understand what people have done to their best friends is to look at pictures of the breed a hundred years ago. It’s also the best way to convince a person to adopt a mixed-breed animal rather than buy a purebred plagued with health issues and support the puppy mill industry.
Bull terriers are one of the first breeds recognized in the United States. At the beginning of the 20th century, they were athletic, beautiful animals with proper proportions. They were named the “gladiators among dogs”. Because of the excessive and irresponsible breeding, Bull Terriers today have lost their proportions entirely. They have football shaped heads and thick bodies with very little in common with the Bull Terriers of 100 years ago.
This dog was used for a violent game in which bulldogs would attack bulls. The game was outlawed but the bulldogs continued to be a popular breed. The animals have far more prominent faces and more skin folds, and it has caused the animals quite a few health problems.
Dachshunds originated in Germany roughly 400 years ago. The little dogs’ proportions were entirely different in the past. They had legs and necks that were roughly proper length in comparison with their bodies. Since then, however, they have been bred to have shorter and shorter legs making it impossible for them to walk normally.
Before humans ever messed around with breeding these animals, they had shorter ears and less droopy faces. Their bellies are now very close to the ground and their back legs have gotten increasingly shorter, causing serious trouble for the breed.
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One of the more popular breeds today used to be a trim animal with a narrow body. Human intervention has led to heavier animals with curved backs. The animal is known for its excellent abilities but they cost the breed some serious hip issues, joint problems and stomach complications.
Boxers were developed in the 19th century in Germany as fighting dogs. Before they became work dogs, their faces were far less compressed and their tails were longer. Today, Boxers have large mouths that cause a range of problems for the creatures. The human experimentation with breed resulted in an animal incapable of cooling itself off in hot weather which can easily be deadly.
Pugs originated in China but reached Europe in the 15th century. The problems started when they were bred with terriers and other small dogs who were popular in England and changed their facial structures entirely. The result? One of the sickest dog breeds out there. They have skin problems and difficulty cooling themselves off in hot weather. Their twisted corkscrew tails are the result of a genetic mutation as well.
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This breed, once thought to be among the most majestic, was often used for search and rescue missions in the Alps. Modern St. Bernards are significantly larger with massive heads and sharper angles between their noses and foreheads. While they were once excellent work dogs, they now have a lot of trouble cooling themselves and suffer from terrible joint pain as well as a range of other illnesses.
The most prominent difference between the modern Airedale Terrier and its historical predecessor is the fluffy fur it’s developed. The modern version has a longer body and is considered to be the largest terrier breed that exists today.
These animals were notoriously small with medium-length hair. The modern versions are double the size with much longer hair.