100 Years of Breed “Improvement” – Pictures Only

To my surprise an old post has received over 4200 views in the last two days. Probably because of the pictures included. Looks like it’s hard to argue breed “improvement” when you can see the before and after pictures. A repost with the addition of two skulls for those who missed the original post.

From the top: Bulldog, GSD, Pug, St. Bernard, Dachshund, St. Bernard skull (1850/1967), Bull Terrier skull (1931/1976)

From the top:
Bull Terrier, Basset hound, Boxer, Bulldog, GSD, Pug, St. Bernard, Dachshund, St. Bernard skull (1850/1967), Bull Terrier skull (1931/1976)


17 thoughts on “100 Years of Breed “Improvement” – Pictures Only

  1. Thanks for reposting this as I missed it first time round.
    Personally, I think you could have posted a different specimen of the ‘modern’ GSD – one showing the (very) sloping back, the unbelievable rear angulation causing the dog to walk on it’s toes and wobble all over the place with no strength whatsoever in it’s back legs – definitely NOT ‘fit for purpose’.

    • I saw many pictures like you describe; I was trying to find a middle ground that is representative of ‘show’ dogs without being accused of choosing the worst example.

      • I don’t believe these ARE the ‘worst example’, rather they are practically the norm now in the show ring – as evidenced by the fact that you saw many of them.The one you show is ‘too normal-looking’ – not much different to the original – and so will not have the same impact, imo. I’ve shared these pics on a number of FB groups and most comments are similar to mine. But thanks for (still) trying to get the message ‘out there’.

  2. I have a bunch of pictures of the early Afghan hound imports and some modern (living) native dogs in Pakistan on my blog. Anyone who seriously thinks that modern Western Afghans are an ‘improvement,’ or worse, that the early dogs would have grown huge coats if they’d only had a proper shampoo and brush is deluding themselves. Afghans should not look like they are running through an invisible viscous substance.

    [click on the name of the poster to go to her site]

  3. Hi! I posted that thread. Hope we didn’t reddit-hug you too much! I really enjoyed your post and thought it was important for moderate dog people to see what is happening. The voice for changes in breed standards is so limited, because people don’t understand things like genetic disorders and sine qua non diseases/disorders, they simply aren’t educated about these things, typically. I made a lot of enemies with that post, but thank you so much for providing the information necessary for me to post it and thank you for putting it up in the first place. I’ve since ordered the book you pulled the photos from and have been digging up old dog photos via various sources.

    Have a great day!

    • I had no idea that Reddit had so many people, for 2 days I was getting 10X traffic. Someone mentioned the Shelties, look them up and see how much they’ve changed.

  4. Very interesting. What breeds would you consider to have really improved? Are there any that have actually benefitted from human interventions?

  5. I saw this post on one of the science newsgroups on facebook. It got shared all over the outlets that have a link to science/genetics, hence the number of views

    First of, I’m not an expert on dogs, nor on genetics… I just like dogs as pets, in general! I also have no clue about the show rings, I always considered that to be occupational therapy for bored housewives. However, now that you have drawn attention to the subject, and with a bit of digging on my part, I am totally outraged about what these idiot breeders are doing to those dogs. They’re just in it for their own vanity and their delusional idea of how certain dogs should look like. Says who?? Seems like religion, someone tripping on dope must have had this screwed up vision of how a certain breed should look like, and suddenly it’s set in stone. Not only that, but everyone is overshooting the desired traits. Leave it to humans of average intellect to obsess and go overboard, as usual.

    My point is, the breeding standards are man-made in the first place. They can easily be toned back a bit in the right direction and allow for some genetic enrichment of the gene pool within a certain breed.

    When I was a kid, up to my teens we had two GSDs at home, successively. And both of them looked much more like the left picture, than the right one. And that’s how my favorite GSD looks like. First of all they were mostly all black, with brownish ‘shoes’. High posterior stance and smaller ears. I’ve seen the right ones, obviously, while walking around, and always found them weird. Don’t like the big ears (for a GSD that is) and that ridiculous hyena stance. And the older these dogs get, the more they suffer and their walk is totally crooked and looks painful. Even myself, with an untrained eye, could immediately see that. However I didn’t realise it was a trait they were actively seeking and breeding towards!

    Your post led me to this BBC documentary: ‘pedigree dogs exposed’. Well worth watching and totally eye opening. For those who haven’t seen it, look it up! Some GSDs are featured in their, and it seems like their motor skills are botched up with the low dragging posterior!

    To round this of, I’ve never liked these short nose breeds at all. Just looks frigging ugly and ridiculous! Watch the documentary and the follow up, and see how the excess skin creates infected slimy patches in the creases, and how they have to struggle to breathe, even have to sit up straight to sleep or they would just choke. Hideous practices.

    For sure my next dog will be a mutt from a shelter, or an ‘old school’ looking dog like the Belgian Shepard.

  6. I was responsible for breeding the modern Bull Terrier that you have featured on here. In my opinion she is a very good example of the breed, and she won at a lot of dog shows so clearly some judges shared my view. It’s a little disappointing that you have chosen to use my picture without my permission, but I am very proud of her so why should I mind? I don’t know much about the older Bull Terrier (if you can give me its name I can research that for you) but what I know about my dog is that she lived till she was 14 years of age hardly ever needed to go to her vet throughout her life and had the most fantastic temperament and totally changed the lives of her owners whose life was fulfilled by owning her. I would suggest that the temperament of the modern Bull Terrier is far more suited to modern day life that the older one as it is far more removed from the older “sporting” dogs from which they were descended
    Sorry that you don’t like the way she looks, you probably wouldn’t find me attractive either but we are all entitled to our opinions

    • You posted the image for public viewing. I am using it for educational/criticism non-profit purposes which falls under proper use. I do not need permission to do so and I linked to where I originally found the image – at the bullterrier site. It’s exactly that kind of attitude that is the problem, “you like the look” without any regards to the fact that the look you like is directly related to various health impairments.

      Your rationalization is a little bit like that of heavy smokers who all know someone who lived to 100 by smoking and drinking every day. And while it’s great that your dog lived a long healthy live, at the population level this is not so.

      • You have made a huge assumption without having any facts and seem to be extremley defensive. At no point did I suggest that you needed permission to use the photograph, I simply said I was disapointed- It is a matter of common courtesy.

        There are no known health issues related to the shape of the Bull Terrier; In the case of the Bull Terrier the look is not related to any health impairments. You do not know anything about me or of the health testing reigeme that my breeding plan incudes. You refer to the population yet you have no information or evidence of the health of the population at the time of the “orginal” Bull Terrier. You appear to be taking an unscientific approach to what is a serious issue.

        Whilst you were looking at the Bull Terrier website you could have taken the opourtunity to look at the health issues which are known to affect the breed none of which are limited to the breed by the way. Careful breeding is reducing the incidents of disease. You refer to “tail chasing” in the breed, whilst it is a distressing condition it is on the decline in the breed and is not realted in any respect to the shape of the dog I would also refer you to the research being carried out at TUFTS uni on this subject where the research is failing as they are unable to find enough cases. We have a similar issue in the UK where the AHT are attempting to look into Kidney disease in the breed, which in my opinion is the most serious problem. However the reasearch is currently being held up by a lack of samples from affected animals despite widespead appeals, perhaops the conditionis not as widespead as It ios believed to be. Despite that breeders like I will not cease to research it and attempt to eliminate it

        Your smoking analogy is an intersting one; Smokers are now aware of the dangers thanks to the reasearch and evidence that supported it. Where is the evidence that suports your hypothesis?

      • I commend the bull terrier’s breeder for breeding this bull terrier with sound temperament and healthy breed longevity. Both attributes are important genetic characteristics worthy of breeding. Your assessment shows your serious ignorance about breeding better dogs. Just because you saw some 60 Minute segment on canine genetic disorders does not make you an expert IMHO.

  7. Pingback: Breed Standards Have Gone to the Dogs | Paws For Thought

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