Man and his dog

At an early stage of their contact, man learned to recognize the good qualities of the dog and to use them for his own purposes. The begin with these uses were limited, but with the development of civilization, dogs were used for an increasing variety of humans activities. Whenever a man needed a dog for a specific purpose, he tried to obtain a puppy from parents which had proved particularly apt in this sphere. So breeds came into being distinguished not only by their different external features but also by the most varied behavioral qualities.

In general, the origin of the breeds known today can be sought:
1.    In isolated areas where an almost purebred type of dog developed, characteristic of the particular area;
2.    At the kennels of the nobility where comparatively purebred features were maintained;
3.    In the deliberate and purposeful crossing of various breeds with the intention of establishing a new breed with certain external and behavioral characteristics.

Whether a breed expanded or not was conditioned, in the first place, by its usefulness. And only in isolated cases by the fact that it was exceptionally interesting. There are some people who will always endeavor to obtain a breed which hardly anyone else has. If successful, other people usually begin to take and interest and a new breed comes into being. This pioneering work is not always successful. Either there is no particular use for the breed or it is unsuited to the climatic conditions of the country of its origin, or it does not arouse sufficient enthusiasm to ensure its continued expansion.

In enlarging breeds an important part is often played by the fashionable popularity of one breed or another. A wave of popularity may rise very quickly and then, after a few years, fade away and another breed comes to the fore. While such heightened enthusiasm does much for the expansion of the breeds, it is only always to the advantage of the type of dog concerned. For instance a boom can lead to a breed deteriorating because there taken by breeders’ clubs to se that untypical individuals are not bred.

There are many examples which go to prove that, after sudden bursts of popularity only those breeds whose health and temperament have not suffered in the expansion maintain the desired level.

At the present time the popularity of large breeds is declining slightly and interest in medium-sized and small breeds is growing. A small dog does not need so much space, it is easier to take by car out of the town or city, and finally it does not need so much food. This, of course, does not mean that there is any real threat to the larger breeds but merely that there are fewer of them in towns and their breeding and keeping has transferred to the country. Large, long-legged dogs will have an assured existence as long as they are needed for work that a smaller dog could not perform.

What is clear is that in the past breeds whose working function ended because of technological advances tended to become extinct. Some types of droving dogs for example disappeared when the need to move cattle on the hoof ended with the development of road and rail transport. Nowadays it is more likely that such breeds would survive, kept alive by the interest of dog show exhibitors and the pet-owning public.

The system of the breeding of dogs is based on the relationship of various breeds to each other as well as on their various uses and specific purposes.
The division of dogs according to their purposes has been stabilized into the following categories: working, hunting, terriers, greyhounds, utility and toy breeds.

Working dog is a term used loosely to describe a large group of dogs which provide for haulage, police dogs, guide dogs, service dogs, and guard dogs and so on. For the most part these are large dogs, highly intelligent, quiet, inherently wary and faithful.

Originally hunting dogs were also classed as working dogs once they had passed trials of efficiency as gundogs. Later, however, the term working dog was only applied to non-hunting breeds.

The next large group consists of dogs used mainly for hunting dogs and were used for bolting foxes and badgers in the same way as dachshunds were used on the European continent. Although with the passage of time many of them were weaned away from their original job, they retained some of their characteristic features, such as their temperament and instinct to hunt rodents even when they became house dogs. The Airedale Terrier which is also a member of this group has been successfully trained as a service dog.

Another special group is constituted by greyhounds. They too used to be classed as hunting dogs. Unlike other breeds of hunting dog, the greyhound is a sight hound using its eyes rather than its sense of smell.

In the last group are dogs of various breeds which do not usually perform any specific service for man other than that of being his companion – and as such are as important to him as the other though in different ways. A great many unrelated breeds fall into this group – dogs of different color. But whether they are large or small, black or white, short or long haired, they are characterized above all, by their faithfulness and devotion to man. They are loyal companions to all who love animals and want their affection returned. But the utility dog fulfills its mission in other ways, too. In family life, it helps to form the character of children, teaches them love for living creatures, influences their behavior and helps them to be unselfish. All these qualities contribute to the dog’s value and fully justify its place at man’s side.