The variety of human four-legged closest friends is striking: for more than 10 thousand years of evolution, dogs have "divided" into huge mastiffs and tiny Chihuahuas, aggressive pit bulls and good-natured Labradors, flexible poodles and wayward Siberian huskies. But all of them are representatives of the same species. So how many dog breeds exist in the world?
Number of breeds and thoroughbred
According to the International Kennel Federation, a bit is officially recognized at the moment. more than 400 breeds. Moreover, this number is constantly increasing, albeit rather slowly: after all, as a result of selection, more and more varieties of dogs appear.
The main criterion for the dog to belong to a particular breed is purebred. It is determined on the basis of information about the parents of the dog, which must belong to the same breed.
Since ancient times, people have been actively involved in the formation of those animal species that could be of practical use: to hunt, herd cattle, and protect property. At the moment, all officially registered breeds are divided into groups selected according to the functional basis:
- Security - the most numerous group, which includes both large and small dogs. These dogs are complaisant, well trained, need proper upbringing and training and a competent approach of the owner (representatives are schnauzers and pinschers).
- Shepherds - these dogs are characterized by the ingenuity, intelligence and stamina necessary to monitor the herd and protect it from various dangers (representatives - all shepherd dogs).
- Terriers are burrowing dogs bred to chase prey underground. Now these dogs get along well in urban conditions and perform well as companions, thanks to their inexhaustible energy and lively temperament (Jack Russell Terrier).
- Primitive, or native, breeds that formed under conditions of natural selection, that is, without human intervention. These dogs were used by nomads (Mansi, Yakuts, Eskimos, etc.) as sled, hunting and watch dogs. They are hardy, have good health and work data (representatives - huskies, spitz, Siberian husky).
- Dachshunds are loyal, intelligent, and temperamental pets that are close in spirit to terriers. Dachshunds were bred in Germany, their purpose was to hunt badgers.
- Retriever - working dogs that need sufficient physical activity and are prone to training. In addition, they are distinguished by a pleasant appearance, fidelity and intelligence (an example of a representative is a Labrador).
- Pointing dogs are hunting breeds with the corresponding characteristics: good reaction and acute sense of smell. By nature, they are flexible and calm, which makes them excellent companions and frequent exhibitors (representatives - setters, pointers, kurtshaara).
- Hounds - this hunting subgroup is one of the most numerous. Bred to track down and pursue prey. Pets are loyal, unpretentious in maintenance, but at the same time, self-sufficient slopes to wander.
- Greyhounds are hardy, stubborn and very beautiful, unusual dogs. Designed to chase prey. A distinctive feature of these dogs is that they are not very well trained and need an experienced owner (representative - Russian canine greyhound).
- Decorative - the subgroup includes, as a rule, small breeds of companion dogs - Chihuahuas, Pekingese, Pugs, etc. They vary greatly in appearance. Despite their miniature size, these pets need special care.
The aforementioned groups are recognized by the International International Kennel Federation. A similar classification is used in our country. However, in other states the list of groups may differ from the international one - for example, American, Australian and Scandinavian dog handlers use their classification system. So it’s impossible to say exactly how many dog breeds exist in the world.
Development and consolidation of breed qualities
Previously, the properties of a particular breed were determined mainly by the exterior (appearance) of the dog, as well as its working data. Now, in addition to this, dog handlers have another method - genetic analysis. The DNA of representatives of different groups or one of them is scrupulously studied and compared, and later on the basis of these data, dog handlers and breeders plan to consolidate and develop breed properties by crossing different genetic lines between each other.
All this allows you to maintain and develop positive traits, get rid of the negative aspects of character and appearance, get puppies with the necessary characteristics and improve the breed as a whole, as well as create new varieties. Thanks to modern methods, this process is much faster than before.