|Barked: Sat Dec 10, '11 1:26pm PST |
|"I was just wondering were the first pet dogs purebreds or mutts. If they were mutts did they have all the same health problems that dogs today have or did health problems in dogs start with purebreds"
Purebred dogs are a recent phenomenon. Almost all of our modern breeds date to the late 19th century, while people have lived with dogs as servants and companions for literally THOUSANDS of years. Before the modern era, individuals bred their dogs to suit the job they were doing, some people kept track of pedigrees, some didn't. The idea of a closed stud book and breed "purity" didn't exist. That idea is tied to to the philosophy of eugenics, which also was immensely popular in the late 19th- early 20th century period.
Dogs have always had health problems. Problems related to parasites, poor diet, and neglect were probably a lot MORE common in the distant past than today. The issue with purebreds is the prevalence of diseases caused by recessive genes. These "bad" genes probably existed for a long, long time without causing much harm, because carriers of the gene were unlikely to mate with each other. But when "pure" breeds were created and refined, a lot of close relatives were bred together, which increased the chance that any particular gene would be homozygous.
I am with Sanka that it would be a sad, sad world if all the dogs were only purebreds. Why should we be stuck with only the dogs that Victorian Europe chose to promote (because that is what most breeds are.) No new breeds? No purpose-bred mixes? Once you get outside the mainstream purebred dog fancy, there are many strains of mixed and hybrid dogs, doing jobs, bred for a purpose. Those breeders and owners would fight tooth and claw if creating mixed-breed dogs were somehow outlawed.
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