Dog Breeds – Before and After 100 years of Breeding


Since prehistoric times until today, dogs remains our best friends. But, did you know that they didn’t look always the way they look today. Many dog breeds have changed a lot, thanks to the human factor. We have made a side-by-side comparison of several popular dog breeds from the 1915 book “Dogs of All Nations” by Walter Esplin Mason showing what they look like today.

Here are some of the most popular dog breeds from that list:

Bull Terrier (1915)

The Bull Terrier was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1885. On this photo from 1915, it appears to be fit, good-looking dog, with well-proportioned head and slim torso. Bull Terrier has been called “Gladiator of the Canine Race” in the book.

Today, is quite a different story. Bull Terriers today are bred to have a football-shaped head and squat, thick body – just a distant memory of the handsome dog of 1915. The AKC has also changed the standard of the breed and according to the present standard, the dog’s face should be oval in outline and be filled completely up giving the impression of fullness with a surface devoid of hollows or indentations.

English Bulldog (1915)

Unfortunately, this is one of the few breeds that have been artificially shaped by breeding. In Great Britain, the dogs were used for bull-baiting – a bloodsport where dogs were used to bait and attack bulls – until it became illegal in 1835. In 1915, the English Bulldog already had some of the characteristic features we see today, like saggy jowls and a squat stance.

Today, breeders have bred the English Bulldog to have more pronounced facial wrinkles and squatter and thicker body. The AKC describes the ideal English Bulldog as having a heavy, thick-set, massive short-faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. Because of the human factor English Bulldogs suffer from a number of health issues (overheating and breathing issues.)

German Shepherd (1915)

The eternal symbol of everything from friendship to loyalty to police brutality, the German Shepherd was recognized by the AKC in 1908. In 1915, the German Shepherd is described as medium-sized dog weighting 24 kg. (55 lbs.) with straight back, strong loins and deep chest.

Today, many things have changed when it comes to German Shepherd. The dogs are bred to be larger 34 to 43 kg. (75 to 95 lbs.) with sloping back. According to the AKC, the ideal specimen from this breed, should be strong, well muscled animal, agile, alert and full of life. Sadly, the same case as the English Bulldog, today’s German Shepherds suffer from many health issues such as hip dysplasia or bloat, a condition in which the stomach can expand with air, and could be fatal sometimes.


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