The Myth of Dog Breeds

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The Myth of Dog Breeds

This is a discussion on The Myth of Dog Breeds within the Dog Breeds forums, part of the Other Dogforum Interests category; This is a bit of a mini-rant. There is a lot of interest around what breed(s) a dog is. And, there definitely is some value ...

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Old 12-21-2017, 04:08 PM
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The Myth of Dog Breeds

This is a bit of a mini-rant. There is a lot of interest around what breed(s) a dog is. And, there definitely is some value classifying a dog by its breed, because members of a certain breed tend to share certain traits.

But, a "breed" is an entirely arbitrary construct. A dog belongs to a breed when a community of people agree that it does. Organizations like the AKC have attempted to redefine this by declaring that a dog's breed is determined entirely by its parents and its conformance to a particular appearance standard.

The Alaskan Husky (not Siberian Husky) could never meet those requirements, but is also clearly a particular kind of dog. Is it a breed or not? Well, depends on whom you ask. Unfortunately, the main criteria which the Alaskan Husky fails is that there is too much diversity in size and appearance. Yet, there is remarkable consistency in temperament, personality, and work ethic.

And, this is why the concept of "breed" is inherently detrimental to dogs in general. With the emphasis on breeding a dog that looks like its breed, this too often comes at the expense of what a dog can do or how the dog behaves. Over time, many breeds just become less capable.

Now, many responsible breeding programs place high emphasis on performance by deliberately seeking out breeding pairs with high accomplishments in various trials. But, at the end of the day, very few breeders will breed a highly capable dog that doesn't meet the appearance standards set forth by some committee, even though that standard was never put in place with the intention of improving the breed - only in enforcing a particular appearance.

That's my rant.
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Old 12-21-2017, 04:57 PM
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I actually understand why an Alaskan husky isn't seen as a breed it can be made from any northern breed Akita, Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamute. Any northern breed which means there could be so many variables in it for it to established because they can be breed from any of them. They need to some what look consent to be able to run in Idiatrod which is normally what they run. They are simply tested on their endurance and stamina nothing else that what makes them so popular. They don't look for looks except the fact they need a double thick coat.
They will never be recognized as a breed because of the way they are made. People who race them and use them see them as a breed I do also but they are nothing more then what ever couple of northern breeds the racer put together to get the best results it's painful but it's reality.

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Old 12-21-2017, 07:16 PM
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Arrow not just "any old Nordic breeds, mixed"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markie View Post

I actually understand why an Alaskan husky isn't seen as a breed -- [they] can be made from any northern breed: Akita, Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamute.

Any northern breed - which means there could be so many variables in it for it to [become an] established [phenotype], because they can breed from any of them. They need to somewhat look cons[ist]ent to be able to run in the Idiatrod, which is normally [the race that] they run. They are simply tested on their endurance and stamina, nothing else -- that's what makes them so popular [as sled-racing stock]. They don't [breed] for looks except [for] a double thick coat.

They will never be recognized as a breed because of the way they are made. People who race them and use them, see them as a breed -- I do, also, but [in fact], they are nothing more [than] whatever couple of northern breeds the racer put together, to get the best results -- it's painful, but [that's] reality.

.


Alaskan Huskies are a lot more than "a couple of Northern breeds" cross-bred -
for starters, these are speed-racing dogs, so why would U want any Akita or Malemute ancestry? - neither of those Nordic breeds is a speedster; Akitas weren't used as harness dogs, but as hunters, guardians, & finally, as pit-fighters. They're often dog-reactive or outright dog-aggro, so they won't get along nicely in a team of powerful personalities; & they're not fast - they have endurance & power, not speed.
Same for Malemutes - they're freighters, not flyers. If yer hauling a half-ton of flour & 500# of Spam to a general store to sell over the coming winter, Malemutes are perfect for the drafting job; Sibes are a little too light.


The primary foundation stock of the Alaskan Husky was the Siberian, for a light wiry frame, speed, & moderate muscle without bulk; they were outcrossed to hounds & gundogs for endurance & greater speed, particularly the English Pointer. As a result, their winter coats are thinner & slicker than a Sibe, *much!* less coat than a Samoyed; they may need a good coat while racing, & once they stop running, they can feel the cold. // They need good straw bedding to hunker into; Sibes, Sammies, & Akitas or 'Mutes can all curl up directly into a hole in the snow, but Alaskan Huskies will shiver in those circs, & waste fuel trying to get warm - the straw provides insulation to lift their bodies off the snow & ice.

Many Alaskan Huskies also need booties when racing, to protect their pads from the cold, from cutting ice-edges, & to prevent ice-balls from forming between their toes; Sibes, 'Mutes, Akitas, & Samoyeds don't usually require booties to haul a sled, unless the trail is ice with sharp ruts cutting it, which will slice even tough pads open.

Also, Alaskans have been around for decades, now - racing stock is descended from racing lines, proven over generations, not F1 crosses of Sibes & GSPs or Sibes x Pointers or Sibes x Coonhounds. They have multi-generation racing pedigrees, not merely parents from 2 different breeds, with utterly dissimilar pedigrees.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaskan_husky


https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_alaskan_husky#


Alaskans also run in many-more races than only "the Iditarod" - they're the breed of choice for any sprint sled-race, whether that's in Alaska, the USA, or Canada. These races can be anything from 20 to 1,000-miles long - dogs running the longer, 250 to 1K mile races, will be more substantial in build than the dogs who specialize in 20 to 200-mile courses.

- terry

.

Last edited by leashedForLife; 12-21-2017 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 12-21-2017, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markie View Post
... it can be made from any northern breed Akita, Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamute ...
That's how every breed ever came to be. Let's take the Border Collie, for example. For a long time, there were (and still are) a number of landrace breeds created regionally for the purpose of getting a better herding dog. At some point, a certain strain of these landraces became known as "Border Collies".

But, if you look at the AKC standard for the breed, you'll find two dense pages describing the appearance and other superficial qualities, and the following tiny (and rather generic) paragraph:
Quote:
The Border Collie is energetic, intelligent, keen, alert, and responsive. An intense worker of great tractability, it is affectionate towards friends but may be sensibly reserved towards strangers. When approached, the Border Collie should stand its ground. It should be alert and interested, never showing shyness, fear, dullness or resentment
At no point does it say the Border Collie should be a competent herder or any of the other things we associate with breed, other than its appearance. The UKC standard is a bit better, but not much.

I have an English Shepherd, and he perfectly meets the AKC definition of a Border Collie. Does that make him a Border Collie? If not, why not? Is it because his parents were not Border Collies? And, if they weren't Border Collies, why not - what made them English Shepherds instead. I guarantee that if you go back even just a matter of decades, he will share some common ancestors with modern Border Collies. So, at what point did his line cease to be Border Collies and become English Shepherds?

This is my point. It is pretty much arbitrary.
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Old 12-21-2017, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
.


Alaskan Huskies are a lot more than "a couple of Northern breeds" cross-bred -
for starters, these are speed-racing dogs, so why would U want any Akita or Malemute ancestry? - neither of those Nordic breeds is a speedster; Akitas weren't used as harness dogs, but as hunters, guardians, & finally, as pit-fighters. They're often dog-reactive or outright dog-aggro, so they won't get along nicely in a team of powerful personalities; & they're not fast - they have endurance & power, not speed.
Same for Malemutes - they're freighters, not flyers. If yer hauling a half-ton of flour & 500# of Spam to a general store to sell over the coming winter, Malemutes are perfect for the drafting job; Sibes are a little too light.


The primary foundation stock of the Alaskan Husky was the Siberian, for a light wiry frame, speed, & moderate muscle without bulk; they were outcrossed to hounds & gundogs for endurance & greater speed, particularly the English Pointer. As a result, their winter coats are thinner & slicker than a Sibe, *much!* less coat than a Samoyed; they may need a good coat while racing, & once they stop running, they can feel the cold. // They need good straw bedding to hunker into; Sibes, Sammies, & Akitas or 'Mutes can all curl up directly into a hole in the snow, but Alaskan Huskies will shiver in those circs, & waste fuel trying to get warm - the straw provides insulation to lift their bodies off the snow & ice.

Many Alaskan Huskies also need booties when racing, to protect their pads from the cold, from cutting ice-edges, & to prevent ice-balls from forming between their toes; Sibes, 'Mutes, Akitas, & Samoyeds don't usually require booties to haul a sled, unless the trail is ice with sharp ruts cutting it, which will slice even tough pads open.

Also, Alaskans have been around for decades, now - racing stock is descended from racing lines, proven over generations, not F1 crosses of Sibes & GSPs or Sibes x Pointers or Sibes x Coonhounds. They have multi-generation racing pedigrees, not merely parents from 2 different breeds, with utterly dissimilar pedigrees.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaskan_husky


https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_alaskan_husky#


Alaskans also run in many-more races than only "the Iditarod" - they're the breed of choice for any sprint sled-race, whether that's in Alaska, the USA, or Canada. These races can be anything from 20 to 1,000-miles long - dogs running the longer, 250 to 1K mile races, will be more substantial in build than the dogs who specialize in 20 to 200-mile courses.

- terry

.
Alaska is the USA but I get what your saying they are all mixtures of northern breeds and I know but the race thing but the race most racer race in where the dog is a super start is the Iditarod which is the race most people use them on. Siberian HUSKIES need booties while racing what's your point it's part of it. It's to protect their feet from sharp ice or being to cold. Siberian/pointer can't race in the Idiatrod it's illegal not enough of a thick coat. They are used for racing but can't be used in freezing negative temperature because their coats aren't thick enough. I understand why it's not a breed they have no pin point Siberian/ pointer isn't a breed either.
Have you ever met an Alaskan husky those babies have a lot of fur and usually people confuse them with Siberian husky. They don't usually shiver they are breed to live in cold conditions why they where breed to began with mushers need a dog similar to husky that they think can go longer.
Most sled dogs can run 250 mile run without any issue.
Also most sled racers of they have room on the sled will bring hay and things most places have check points where the racer and the dogs stay in tents they curl up in a little ball to stay warm the same as a Siberian husky.
An Alaskan Husky is a mixture of Northern Breed dogs not an English pointer.
A Siberian and English pointer is called an Eurohound not an Alaskan Husky both are used for racing but in different places and most people will choose the Alaskan Husky over an Eurohound any day.

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Old 12-21-2017, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foswick View Post
That's how every breed ever came to be. Let's take the Border Collie, for example. For a long time, there were (and still are) a number of landrace breeds created regionally for the purpose of getting a better herding dog. At some point, a certain strain of these landraces became known as "Border Collies".

But, if you look at the AKC standard for the breed, you'll find two dense pages describing the appearance and other superficial qualities, and the following tiny (and rather generic) paragraph:

At no point does it say the Border Collie should be a competent herder or any of the other things we associate with breed, other than its appearance. The UKC standard is a bit better, but not much.

I have an English Shepherd, and he perfectly meets the AKC definition of a Border Collie. Does that make him a Border Collie? If not, why not? Is it because his parents were not Border Collies? And, if they weren't Border Collies, why not - what made them English Shepherds instead. I guarantee that if you go back even just a matter of decades, he will share some common ancestors with modern Border Collies. So, at what point did his line cease to be Border Collies and become English Shepherds?

This is my point. It is pretty much arbitrary.
Yes okay I understand that but can it be mixed up with other breeds similar and still be the breed. No it can't it would be called something else there are to many variables with a Alaskan husky to many could make that dog German Shepard/ Akita bam northern breed.. now if your not racing you will call it that mix but if you are and the dog has been tested to have what it takes they will call it an Alaskan husky I told you it would be nice if it is a breeder but there is way to much going on the genetic pole for that to happen.

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Old 12-21-2017, 07:53 PM
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True about Akitas, but some Alaskan Huskies get some genes from Malamutes if they are intended for heavier work, such as wheel dogs. (Wheel dogs are the two dogs at the back of the team that help muscle the sled around curves and obstacles.)

And, the Alaskan Husky sometimes (often) inherits from distinctly non-northern breeds such as Border Collies, Poodles, and Greyhounds (in addition to the breeds Terry mentioned).

Tangentially, I will say that Akitas make terrible sled dogs. We had a small team for several years and ended up adopting an Akita to save him from a bad situation. I naively thought he would make an OK member of the team. Long story, short: He did not.
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Old 12-21-2017, 07:56 PM
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... there are to many variables with a Alaskan husky to many could make that dog German Shepard/ Akita bam northern breed...
If a Poodle from a long line of purebred Poodles was born with straight hair, would it be a Poodle?
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:04 PM
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If a Poodle from a long line of purebred Poodles was born with straight hair, would it be a Poodle?
Yes

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Old 12-21-2017, 08:06 PM
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Red face sheesh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markie View Post

...
An Alaskan Husky is a mixture of Northern Breed dogs not an English pointer.

A Siberian and English pointer is called an Eurohound not an Alaskan Husky both are used for racing but in different places and most people will choose the Alaskan Husky over an Eurohound any day.
.

ya know, just once, @Markie , it might be nice if U'd actually read the article at a link given to U before U fire off another self-referenced reply.

The foundation stock & outcrosses of the original Alaskan Husky began with LOCAL NATIVE DOGS, belonging to native ppls, hence 'Alaskan', to develop a racing dog - these were outcrossed to Siberians, then to various European breeds for speed, including Engl Pointer & Greyhound, among others, plus some scenthound or HPR breeds for endurance, such as GSPs, Coonhounds, etc.
Early-on in the 1920s, there was a massive infusion of Siberian Husky - which is why so many superficially resemble Sibes, but may have drop ears, ticking, & other non-Sibe traits.


I will quote from the articles U refuse to bother reading -
_________________________________

"History
Today, Alaskan Huskies may be hound crosses, husky types, or a combination of both. They also range in size and build, depending on the use of the dog, whether for racing or working. A working sled dog may be 50 to 80 lbs and a racing sled dog may be 35 to 60 lbs for a male or female. The old-time village dogs were bred to imported Siberian dogs, and more recently to European dogs."

=========================================

Article #2
_______________________________

"Originally, Alaskan Huskies were developed by mushers (the human dog-sled racers) from the different bloodlines of native Inuit dogs. Some of the main breeds used now in developing Alaskan Huskies include the Eskimo dog, Siberian Husky, Greyhound, and German Shorthaired Pointer."


=========================================


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- terry

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