A Tale of Three Breeds
Head to a dog park and you’re sure to see a greyhound, a pug, or a German Shepherd. Which one is most closely related to the wolf? The answer may surprise you. Through concentrated effort across continents and centuries, humans manipulated canine raw material into made-to-measure companions. In this installment of Doggy History, we will consider the origin and evolution of three popular breeds, and along the way learn about the process by which humans sought to remake dogs in their own image
“Dog Breeders Issue Massive Recall Of '07 Pugs.” The Onion Issue 43.21, May 2007.
Baillie-Groman, W. and F., eds. The Master of Game. London: Chatto and Windus, 1909.
John Caius. De Canibus Brittanicis. Of English Dogges. Translated by Abraham Fleming. 1576.
Judith Lytton. Toy Dogs and Their Ancestors. New York: D. Appleton, 1911.Harriet Ritvo. The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age. Cambridge MA: Harvard UP, 1987.
Jean-Claude Schmitt. The Holy Greyhound. Translated by Martin Thom. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1983.Aaron Skabelund. “Breeding Racism: The Imperial Battlefields of the “German” Shepherd Dog.” Animals and Society 16 (2008): 354-371.
Max von Stephanitz, The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture. First published 1923. Hoflin Publishing Ltd., 1994
Swainston-Goodger, Wilhelmina. The Pug Dog: its History and Origin. First published 1930. Alcester: Read Country Books, 2005.
This episode is part of our Doggy History Series.
Music by Kevin MacLeod (www.incompetech.com)
5/3/2014 06:33:36 pm
This was a very interesting podcast. I wonder if pugs' uselessness is directly tied to the fact that they were the dogs of the aristocracy, and the aristocracy is seen to be pretty idle and useless?
5/4/2014 11:05:08 am
Thanks for your comment, fellow Dog lover - I'm so glad you enjoyed the podcast!
5/4/2014 11:27:27 am
So the pug is the closest to the wolf would you say?
5/4/2014 01:09:12 pm
Actually, the closest breeds to the wolf today are those 9 ancient breeds I mentioned: Basenji, Afghan Hound, Saluki, Akita, Chow, Dingo, New Guinea Singing Dog, Sharpei, Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute. The argument is that since they were geographically isolated until fairly recently, they retained more wolf DNA. But by the same reasoning, I'd say that yes, the pug is probably closest of these three (since it was geographically isolated in Asia until at least the 16th century).
5/4/2014 07:58:21 pm
Cool! I love Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes! Ever since I saw that Paul Walker movie "8 Below" (and cried and cried my eyes out).
5/5/2014 07:03:41 am
My all time biggest dog-related movie cry out ever was for Samantha the German Shepherd in I Am Legend.
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