In the world of pet-dom, dogs are king. They have been rightfully given the title "Man's Best Friend".
If one is to ask, how come dogs, who are descendents of tamed Grey Wolves, now come in diverse range of sizes and looks? The answer lies not only on natural evolution, but also on man's creativity and intelligence. In a way, dogs have been designed to function in a way that suits our needs. More than any animal, dogs have been our chosen partner for our endeavors. Since the early human settlements - 15,000 years ago or more -- dogs have always lived side by side with humans as hunting or working buddies, friend, or protector. Since pre-historic times, man has been actively involved in selective breeding of dogs in order to certain desirable traits or characteristics. In its simplest definition, dog breeding is the process of intentionally mating dogs to produce puppies.
From the pre-historic times up until the 19th century, those desired characteristics were working characteristics, not for their attractiveness or distinctive traits. At first, dog breeding was a hit-and-miss affair, but soon men learned how to select and mate dogs with desirable traits in order to come up or strengthen certain characteristics in the next generation of dogs. This, in a nutshell, how the world has arrived with a diverse group of dogs, including hunting dogs, lap dogs, herding dogs, and sight hounds.
History: Dog breeding, as we know it today, is a recent invention. Up until the 19th century, people did not give any consideration on how their dogs looked. Then towards the end of the 19th century, people began identifying canine bloodlines and classifying them into specific breeds. Breed dog clubs and kennel associations sprouted. Thus began the shift of emphasis from "work" to "looks", the "practical aspect" to the "esthetic aspect" of dog breeding. Breeding standards were developed, putting looks as the most important aspect. Some associations and shows, however, developed two classes for the same breed: the working classes and the show classes.
Dog breeding as a hobby: Now more than ever, that dog breeding has become a widely practiced hobby. As it was in the prehistoric times, the goal of dog breeding is to produce dogs that are better than their parents - be it in looks or in their working abilities. With their passion for dogs, patience, and working knowledge of the science of canine genetics, hobby breeders intentionally select parent dogs, taking into consideration elements such as temperament, standard, pedigree, and genetic health. Dog breeding as a hobby can be fun, and nothing can match the feeling of having produced a dog that outmatches others in terms of looks, showmanship, agility, or obedience. Of course, one can make profitable income out of breeding dogs. For the serious and real hobbyist, profit is not the main concern.
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