How to Choose Your Next Dog: The Evolution and Types of Dawgies
Dogs are the magic this world thrives on. It is impossible to imagine a world without their furry paws and snouty licks. The day a pet comes into your life, you know it has changed forever; and for the better. Dogs and puppies light up our lives with their childlike innocence and playfulness.
Being a pet parent is one of the greatest joys in the world. Watching them grow is a blessing. Moments in our life are often marked by how our pet reacted to an incidence; or for most part, how they caused it in the first place. Amidst all the fun and frolic, we also need to remember that being a pet parent is a major responsibility. Pets can’t speak the same language as us, and more than often find it hard to communicate with their hoomans if they’re undergoing any trouble. They can’t vouch for themselves, or feed themselves. Neither can they take themselves to the vet when they’re feeling sick, or out for a walk when they think they need exercise. They depend on their hooman for everything!
This dependence of pets on humans is the reason why we should be completely aware of our responsibilities as a pet parent. For us to be good parents, it is advisable to understand the needs of our babies. Every dog is different, in a special way.
Owing to how their bodies have evolved and changed over the years, every dawgie has different needs. Their diet, exercise, shedding and other regimes can be very different across breeds. While some are biologically required to stay indoors, some other pets would probably bring the house down if confined to one place for so long. Some dogs may also not be equipped to live in a particular climate, or may possess certain allergies to the food that may be the staple diet for other dawgies.
Every dawgie is perfect. To be able to take care of these perfect creatures, it is important to be realistic about their needs. As beautiful and legendary as Siberian Huskies or Saint Bernards are, they are suited to colder environments. Bring them to a tropical climate, and you’ll surely be inviting trouble. Such dogs naturally need more effort on grooming, special considerations for their living conditions (air-conditioning, etc.), exercise and diet. Anything you miss, and your beautiful beast will develop health problems. You may give them all the love in the world, but they’ll still struggle sometimes, because their bodies were never made for the climate they are being subjected to.
An informed choice is the correct choice. Before getting home a dog, it is recommended that you clearly understand what he or she will need, and if you’ll be able to provide for those. This is particularly important today because most people live in nuclear families, have to be away for more than 10 hours for work, and have to leave their pooch alone, or with someone else for a large part of the day. Such an arrangement may not always work out with dawgies who need 24x7 attention. To avoid such situations where you and your pooch may both end up being sad, it is important to understand the needs of your pooch, and realistically estimate if you will be able to provide for those.
That being said, to understand what our pets need, physically and emotionally, it is important to understand their roots. Dogs have all evolved from their common ancestor, the Wolf. But through processes of artificial selection and breeding, selective characteristics were taken to be the defining character and nature of most breeds. Evolution has rendered their bodies fit for particular types of environment and job roles. The changing Environment poses a greater risk than ever, which is why extraordinary measures need to be taken while extending care to our pets. Let’s understand the journey of dawgies from their ground zero.
Evolution of Dogs
The dog family goes by its biological name Canis Lupus Familiaris, known to have originated from one common ancestor who goes by the name, grey wolf (Canis Lupus). A DNA study confirms that all dog breeds originated from the same species of wolf, somewhere in South East Asia (modern day China).
Domestication of dogs goes back to the ancient times, roughly 33,000 years ago. Even though the earliest incident of their human interaction can be traced back through artefacts and inscriptions found in Mesopotamian art and culture, it wasn’t until a few years ago that the relationship between humans and dogs began to be studied with great interest. The dogs, as we see today, is a result of 18,000 years of Evolution. But how did the fierce wolf turn into the most loyal and loving creature on the planet? It’s also said that wolves cannot be tamed, then how did the ancient humans manage to domesticate the grey wolf? They didn’t! Wolves are wild animals. No human has ever domesticated a wolf, not after the pup grew 13 weeks or older.
It is believed that as humans became civilized and settlements grew, and so did the waste produced at these settlements. The earliest dogs emerged at these waste dump sites. A pile of human garbage is called a ‘feast’ in dog language. Wolves with shorter flight distance found it acceptable to venture into human settlements and feast on their garbage. The humans didn’t mind because the animals would eat off the decomposing waste. The flight distance got shorter as newer generations of wolves started trusting people, and thus, eventually the grey wolf domesticated itself.
And so began the chapter of the greatest friendship mankind will ever establish with any other species. People soon began to identify the better wolves out of the lot, and bred them according to their needs. Pups began to be sorted and bred according to how fast they could run, or how loud they could bark, or how well they could smell. This process of selective breeding is called Artificial Selection. That is how the modern day dawgies were developed. Artificial selection is so powerful, that over hundreds of cycles of breeding, we were able to create the Golden Retrievers and the Pugs from the same wolf ancestors.
Artificial Selection: Darwin’s Dilemma
Knowing what constitutes the genetic makeup of our dogs is of great importance because it helps scientists to isolate the genes which are responsible for certain diseases. With advancement in modern molecular dating methods, scientists are trying to find out evolutionary relationships and chronologies.
Contrary to how other species have been chosed for domestication, dogs have developed through the process of artificial breeding. In his age, Darwin proposed that since the variety of dogs present is large, it is impossible for them to come from a common ancestor. He believed that dogs today are a result of species interbreeding. But modern science indicates otherwise. DNA analysis not only shows how all dogs have Grey Wolf as their common ancestor, but also that wolves had begun to adapt to human society way before the paleolithic age!
The Need For Classification
Today there are 340 dog breeds. The recognition of a different dog breed is awarded by World Canine Organisation. Even though the standards of breed vary from country to country, 340 is the most agreed upon number. It is however, interesting to note that American Kennel Club recognizes only 167 of these breeds.
So how do you go about choosing the right breed for you?
We completely understand how tough it can be to choose when all dogs are perfect. But as we mentioned before, pet parenting is not a child’s play. As fun as it is, it also requires major commitment. You will be 100 percent responsible for what your dog eats, how much exercise he gets and everything he poops and does to others!
Since you’re still reading this article, we know you’re on your way to being a kickass pet parent. To help your decision of getting home a new family member, dog people from all over the world have put their heads together to classify dogs on the basis of various parameters. These include their size, the purpose of their breeding, their generation and a tonne of other things including how much they shed, the regions they’re accustomed to, etc.
Classification of dawgies is important because it gives you an idea about what Life with your pet will be like. Based on the purpose of their breeding, you can estimate the amount of food they would require, and how much exercise will they need everyday. A rough idea about their habitat may help you understand whether a breed may survive the climate where you live. Such classification also helps one understand the possible health risks associated with a particular breed and understanding the genetic variations at play. This in turn helps us to isolate the disease causing genes and avoid situations which may trigger a health hazard.
Classification on the basis of Size
On the basis of their size (weight), dogs can be primarily classified into Small, Medium and Large. The following table may help you get a better picture:
|1 - 15 kgs||Pugs, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Poodles, Lhasa Apsos|
|16 - 30 kgs||Bulldogs, Indian Spitz, Dalmatians, Pitt Bull Terriers, Siberian Huskies, Indian Pariahs|
|31 - 50 kgs||Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Boxers, Bullmastiffs, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Rottweilers, Akitas|
Classification on the basis of Breeding Purpose
On the basis of the original purpose of their breeding, dogs can be classified into seven categories:
1. Herding Group
Herding dogs were developed for the simple purpose of monitoring a flock of livestock. They serve as perfect assistance dogs because it is naturally easier to train them. Their affinity to humans comes in handy during the training process. They are fiercely loyal and very affectionate. Some members of this group include German Shepherds, Collies, and Cattle Dogs. These dogs help farmers get their sheep and goat in line and guard them.
2. Hound Group
Members of this group are known for possessing millions of scent glands. In fact, their cranial architecture shows that their nasal cavity is more developed than other dawgies. Known to always be in a hot pursuit of anything warm-blooded, these dogs are also blessed with long legs and agility to catch the fastest of preys. They have been known to catch swift preys, and can track any smell in the world. This is why they are ideal candidates for police and intelligence jobs where they help catch the bad guys and bring the system to justice. Examples of this group include Beagles, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, Bloodhounds and Basset Hounds.
3. Working Group
Built to outperform every other dog on this list, these are the real goodboys of the group. They work hard; they assist their farmer hoomans, guard sheep and other livestock and protect the cattle and hoomans from any kind of danger. They have strong builds, are tall and muscular. Their bodies are designed for the heavy work; that’s why they have strong muscles for pulling sledges and carts. If you’re looking forward to getting a work dog as a pet, vets recommend that you make sure this goodboy gets all the exercise his body was designed for. Some of the work boys you need to watch out for include Akita, Rottweilers, Boxers, Saint Bernards and Siberian Huskies.
4. Toy Group
The perfect choice for all urban dwellers, dawgies of this group were specifically bred for only one purpose; to keep their hooman’s lap warm. Dogs in this group are small enough to fit their owner’s lap, or accessorize their arm. These characteristics make them portable and mobile. Since they occupy such a small space, they are a great option for people who have limited spaces to live. Toy dogs are the ultimate companions; they are the dream toy which actually came true. Some well known toy breeds are Pugs, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, and Toy Poodles.
5. Sporting Group
Also known as gun dogs, the dawgies of this breed are what you need to have on your side if you’re going to hunt and kill. Bred and raised for the purpose of being on their toes to run and catch a prey their master may have missed, or to retrieve the ‘game’ that was shot down, members of this group are known for their agility and speed. Since they are used to being in situations that require loads of mental simulation, these breeds require 24X7 attention and lots of exercise. Members of this breed include Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Cocker Spaniels.
6. Terrier Group
The purpose of breeding of these dogs was to get rid of underground rodents and vermins. Short-legged terriers were engineered to go after mice and small animals who would go inside gutters and hide. The long-legged terriers helped dig out the vermins present, rather than burrowing them in. These dogs are full of self confidence and courage, and are never afraid of a little hot pursuit. Bull Terrier is the most famous member of this group.
7. Non-Sporting Group
Every breed that couldn’t make it to the above six categories, blissfully enjoys their spot here. This group is known for its famous celebrities which include Poodles, Dalmatians, Bulldogs and Bichon Frise.
Classification on the basis of Generation
If you remember anything at all about your Biology lessons from tenth grade, you’d remember how Mendel made charts for tracking how a specific trait gets passed on to the next generation. In dawgies, classification on the basis of generation means classifying them according to the amount of genetic content from the purest species of their class.
This group includes pure breeds. They are the first parent generation and all subsequent breeds are derived from them. Example : a labrador, poodle or a pug.
When two purebreds are bred together, or two members from the P-Generation are mated, we get an F1 generation dawgie. This means that 50% of the genes of an F1 generation dawgie come from a P-Generation mother, and the remaining 50% genes come from a P-Generation father. E.g. a Labradoodle who’s mother is a purebred labrador and father is a purebred poodle.
Also called F1 Backcrossed dawgies, this generation results from the mating of an F1 generation dawgie with a P-Generation dawgie. E.g., a Labradoodle who has resulted from a labradoodle mating with a doodle would be an F1B Generation dawgie. This is often used to strengthen the characteristics of a P-Generation dawgie.
Let’s do some simple math to understand how this happens. Let’s attach a significance point of 100 to a purebreed. Now, if this breed mates with another to produce an F1 breed, the offspring F1 will contain 50% of both the purebreeds. In case this F1 breed mates with a P-Generation dawgie, the genetic content of P in F1B now goes up to 75%.
When two F1 generations mate, an F2 generation is produced. Eg, a Labradoodle who’s mother and father are both F1 labradoodles is an F2 Generation labradoodle.
This breed is produced when an F1 and an F2 are allowed to breed. Such crossing of one breed with its origin breed is called backcrossing.
Two F2 Generation dawgies breeding gives us an F3 generation puppy.
Crossing over and above the F3 Generation refers to as multi generational breeding.
Popular Indian Dog Breeds and their Classification
|Labrador Retrievers||Large||Sporting||22 - 25 inches||30 - 36 kgs||High||Short||High||10 - 12 years|
|Golden Retrievers||Large||Sporting||23 - 24 inches||30 - 36 kgs||High||Long||High||10 - 12 years|
|Beagles||Small||Hound||13 - 15 inches||11 - 13 kgs||High||Short||High||12 - 15 years|
|Pugs||Small||Toy||10 - 13 inches||6 - 9 kgs||Moderate||Short||Moderate||13 - 15 years|
|German Shepherds||Large||Herding||22 - 26 inches||30 - 40 kgs||High||Long||High||7 - 10 years|
|Cocker Spaniel||Small||Sporting||13 - 15 inches||10 - 13 kgs||High||Long||Moderate||10 - 14 years|
|Shih Tzus||Small||Toy||8 - 10 inches||4 - 7 kgs||Moderate||Long||Low||10 - 18 years|
|Lhasa Apso||Small||Non Sporting||9 - 11 inches||5 - 7 kgs||Moderate||Long||Low||12 - 15 years|
|Indian Spitz||Small, Medium||Working||12 - 15 inches||12 - 20 kgs||Moderate||Long||Moderate||13 - 15 years|
|Siberian Huskies||Medium||Working||20 - 24 inches||20 - 27 kgs||High||Long||High||12 - 14 years|
|Indian Pariahs||Medium||Non Sporting||16 - 19 inches||16 - 22 kgs||High||Short||Low||10 - 12 years|
|Boxers||Large||Working||21 - 25 inches||30 - 36 kgs||High||Short||Low||10 - 12 years|
|Bulldogs||Medium||Non Sporting||14 - 15 inches||18 - 22 kgs||Moderate||Short||High||8 - 10 years|
|Bullmastiffs||Large||Working||24 - 27 inches||45 - 55 kgs||High||Short||Moderate||7 - 9 years|
|Chihuahuas||Small||Toy||5 - 8 inches||2 - 4 kgs||Moderate||Short||Moderate||14 - 16 years|
|Dachshunds||Small||Hound||7 - 9 inches||8 - 14 kgs||Moderate||Short, Long||Low||12 - 16 years|
|Dalmatians||Medium||Non Sporting||19 - 24 inches||20 - 28 kgs||High||Short||High||11 - 13 years|
|Doberman Pinschers||Large||Hound||24 - 28 inches||35 - 45 kgs||High||Short||High||10 - 12 years|
|Great Danes||Large||Working||28 - 32 inches||50 - 80 kgs||High||Short||Moderate||7 - 10 years|
|Pomeranians||Small||Toy||6 - 7 inches||2 - 4 kgs||Moderate||Long||Moderate||12 - 16 years|
|Poodles||Small||Toy||7 - 9 inches||2 - 3 kgs||Moderate||Short, Long||Low||10 - 18 years|
|Pit Bull Terriers||Medium||Terrier||21 - 22 inches||22 - 30 kgs||High||Short||Moderate||12 - 13 years|
|Rottweilers||Large||Working||22 - 27 inches||40 - 60 kgs||High||Short||Moderate||9 - 10 years|
|Saint Bernards||Large||Working||26 - 30 inches||50 - 80 kgs||High||Long||Moderate||8 - 10 years|
|Akitas||Large||Working||24 - 28 inches||45 - 60 kgs||Moderate||Long||Moderate||10 - 13 years|
No matter which breed you choose, always remember that all dawgies need love. Love needs understanding. It requires you to understand your dawgie’s needs to be able to provide for him or her. Choose the best for your dog by knowing what’s right for your dawgie’s health and well-being. Always remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog. Apart from exercise and grooming, it’s food that your dawgie’s health depends on. You become what you eat. Good nutrition equates to good health, for hoomans and dawgies alike!
Click here to kickstart a nutritious journey with your pawsome poochie!
Don't miss an update!
Subscribe to delicious news, pet nutrition & lifestyle tips and new offers.