Lifestyle & Human Interest

Here's How 100 Years of Breeding Has Changed These Popular Dog Breeds


People who have or have had dogs generally have a favorite breed. Debates between dog lovers who favor different breeds can get just as heated as debates between dog and cat people.

Some people love lapdogs, while others think they’re demon-possessed hairballs and prefer larger dogs.

The most popular dogs in the U.S. are family favorites: Labradors, golden retrievers, and German shepherds.

French-bulldogs have seen a rise in popularity recently, and chihuahuas are common sights in homes.

But the breeds we know and love haven’t always looked the way they do now. Over decades, breeders have selected for certain traits — but not all of them have resulted in healthier, more attractive dogs.

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The looks are definitely more distinct now than they used to be. Take the boxer, for example.

The photo below shows what boxers used to look like. They had longer noses compared to the short, pushed-in noses that they sport now.

Brachycephalic dogs, like boxers, tend to have breathing problems and issues with regulating their internal temperature as a result.

Their bodies have also become more exaggerated and angular and less proportional, except for the cropped ears.

The dog below almost looks like some sort of motley cross-breed, but it’s actually the old school version of one of the most beloved breeds today, used often in police work.

Does it look like a German shepherd to you? The black and tan markings are definitely a trademark for the breed, but the stance and body type are nearly unrecognizable.

Now your average German shepherd is put together at much sharper angles, with a back that slopes back to their hips. They’re much heavier than the original breed and tend to have a lot of hip problems.

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Pugs are another short-nosed breed that has been bred to emphasize their unique traits. The pug used to look more like a puggle (a pug/beagle cross).

Pugs now have much shorter noses, stockier builds, more skin folds, and a double-curled tail. Apparently, the same defect that causes the double-curled tail can cause paralysis as well.

Because of the extreme build of the face, pugs have lots of eye issues as well — their eyes can even pop out of their sockets (though they can be put back by a veterinarian).

One of the most unusual-looking breeds, made famous because of its involvement with Target, is a completely different creature now, other than similar coloring. The current barrel-chested version of the Bull Terrier has a round nose and prick ears.

Not all breed developments have been negative. As more responsible breeders select for healthy traits, dogs will get stronger and live longer.

What do you think about these breeds? Did you recognize all of them?

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