Stef (firecat) wrote,
Stef
firecat

Maybe it's 20/20 hindsight...

But what's reported in this article from the New York Times (free registration required) makes sense to me as an observer of dogs:
More surprising to dog lovers might be some of the relationships among breeds that the research revealed. The German shepherd, for example, is closer genetically to mastiffs, boxers and other "guarding" dogs than to herding dogs.
Makes sense. What German shepherds primarily do, in my experience, is stand and watch. Herding dogs are always running around.
The fleet greyhound, Irish wolfhound, borzoi, or Russian wolfhound, and lumbering Saint Bernard count herding dogs among their closest kin.
Similarly, makes sense: The sight hounds have a strong prey drive, and the prey drive is part of what makes shepherds herd. (I have to admit the St Bernard's belonging to the same group isn't particularly intuitive, though.)
And the pharaoh hound and Ibizan hound, often called the oldest of breeds, are really recent constructions, as is the Norwegian elkhound.
It makes sense that pharaoh hounds and Ibizan hounds can't be "the oldest of breeds." They look entirely unlike wolves, which dogs are bred from.

I'm looking forward to hearing whether the Animal Planet dog show announcers change some of their patter in response to this information.
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