Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Lessons from history

There's a wonderful, and free, online resource for old breed pictures  - called Dog Breed Historical Pictures by Pietoro (the source of the old Beardie pix on the post before this one).

Here you can learn that the Bull Terrier never used to have a head like a sheep:

 And that Borzoi never used to have hump backs:

And that Dachshunds used to have legs:


  1. That dog breeders use to have brains

    ......and hearts.

  2. no one had more brains than Raymond Oppenheimer when it came to Bull Terriers and he advocated the "roman" finish we see on our BT's of today.. There is no "evil effect" in the head of the Bull Terrier today and it has not caused any health problems. Having a head like a sheep is.. well just having a head like a sheep.. who cares?
    The picture you show is an old fashioned early Bull Terrier who would in most cases have had cropped ears.. BT breeders have, along with improving head type, also bred prick ears so that the look can be accomplished without cropping.. an improvement wouldn't you say?
    Sadly a dog that looks like this old one would be probably taken and killed in the UK today as a "dangerous dog".. a sad commentary on the state of politics and dogs in the UK today. I much prefer the clown of the terriers.. the "sheep head" although we prefer "Roman finish" that we know as the Bull Terrier of today to the dog of yesteryear..better temperaments too

  3. My Daxie would kill for legs like that. Especially in this snow!

  4. There is a breeder in the States who is aiming for a more original style Dachshund like the one in that picture: http://www.eridox.com/history/index.php

    Her explanations of the superior structural soundness of the breed's original style of topline, etc. are very interesting.

    1. Yet if you go to her website and look at her available puppies, you see a dapple sire X dapple dam breeding. So, either she isn't aware of the health risks of a merle to merle breeding, or she doesn't care.

  5. Thank you very much for this link, Pai - fascinating. Worth a blog post all of its own.

  6. There are some amazing breeders out there, I fail to to understand why the kennel club doesn't yet acknowledge them.

  7. I'm told that Dachshunds in Poland still have the original, longer legs.
    Julia Lewis

  8. A fascinating link! What's really interesting is to see the evolution of each breed through time. The GSD's from the 19th century have very "normal" horizontal top lines but by the 1920's you can already see the trend toward a sloped hind end has taken hold. By the '30's that trend is well established. The same thing goes for the Dixie's legs and the Afghan's coat as well as several other breed's characteristics. Seems that the 20's and 30's were a critical period for the establishment of many of the breed specific traits we see in today's dogs.

  9. Borzoi from the era your picture dates from had a wide range of phenotypes, including with a rise over the loin. ANY correct modern borzoi still should NEVER have a hump back. It's still very common, acceptable, and within the standard today for females to be flat backed (like the female in your photo). Ideally they should have a slight rise of the loin starting three ribs from the bottom of the rib cage, as all sighthounds have had for thousands of years. This gives their back the flexibility and range of motion they need to reach such high speeds..

    Also, it's impossible to tell a borzoi's true topline just by looking at them, even in person. Their coat hides it, which is why a judge must put their hands on the dog to judge them correctly. The dogs have a thick flap of hair on their shoulders that we joke is sort of like a toupee. Its function is to protect the dogs when they are grappling with wolves. This can also make a dog appear to have a flat topline and disguise that rise over the loin.