The demand for pure bred dogs across the world has reached an all-time high. Many people choose specific breeds for their temperament, their aesthetic, and their overall behavioral history.
While being able to choose the specific dog you want is definitely your prerogative, one has to remember that like humans, dogs all have individual personalities and needs, no matter what breed they are — and that overbreeding can cause some serious problems.
Below, we take a look at the six most popular dog breeds on the market today, and what over a century of breeding these animals has changed about their appearance, health, overall ability to thrive. Some of the transformations are remarkable, and it's a reminder that our preference for purebred animals might have too many negative lasting effects on the animals themselves.
#1. The Dachshunds, aka The Weiner Dog
These dogs first made their appearance in Germany over 400 years ago. They used to be proportioned quite differently, with a neck that functioned better with the dog’s size. Now, these dogs have been bred to the point where they often have back, neg, and leg issues.
#2. The German Shepherd
These came around in the 1850s, first with a much thinner abdomen and a sharper stance. The dogs are beefier today, possibly bred to be that way because they are no longer used to herd sheep — instead, they are often used for security or training purposes.
#3. The Pug
The pug was created from the Chinese happa dogs that were brought and developed over by the Portuguese during the 15th and 16th centuries. They are incredibly popular now, which means they have been intensively bred to the point of many of them having serious health problems.
#4. The Bull Terrier
This stocky fighter breed was first created in the early 1800s with the combination of the old English Terrier and the bulldog. The shape of their skulls has changed significantly over time due to breeding techniques.
Madlab Bull Terrier
#5. The Saint Bernard
The original Saint Bernard descended from dogs used as soldiers in the Roman army. Now, they have much thicker fur, broader skulls, and flatter faces. Like many big dogs, these massive canines are prone to heal problems, particularly with their joints and internal organs.