Ancient dog breeds
Fourteen ancient breeds of dog have been identified through advances in DNA analysis. These breeds of domesticated dog show the fewest genetic differences from wolves. The breeds are geographically diverse, including dogs from Siberia, Japan, Alaska, China, Tibet, and Africa.
|Cladogram of ancient dog breeds.|
DNA from dogs of 85 (mostly) AKC-registered breeds (5 individuals per breed in most cases) were tested by Parker et al. This study had some surprises, especially the suggestion that three breeds – the Norwegian Elkhound, Pharaoh Hound, and Ibizan Hound – are not as old as typically stated, but rather are more recent recreations of old types. Also, five pairs of breeds are closely related: Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky, Collie and Shetland Sheepdog, Greyhound and Whippet, Bernese Mountain Dog and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and finally the Bull Mastiff and English Mastiff.
However, the assumption that a small sample from a single dog breed can be representative for the entire breed is argued to be invalid by long-time repeated incidental or intentional interbreeding with local dogs, thereby gradually replacing original wolf clade elements but maintaining the original phenotype by ongoing selection for the original use and conformation. Also, as there are some 400 known dog breeds (of which the AKC recognizes 167), it is possible that an extended study would reveal additional "ancient" breeds.
Gallery of the fourteen ancient breeds
- Parker, H.G.; Kim, L.V.; Sutter, N.B.; Carlson, S.; Lorentzen, T.D.; Malek, T.B.; Johnson, G.S.; DeFrance, H.B.; Ostrander, E.A.; Kruglyak, L. (2004-05-21). "Genetic structure of the purebred domestic dog". Science 304 (5674): 1160. doi:10.1126/science.1097406. PMID 15155949.
- Quignon, Pascale; Herbin L.; Cadieu, E.; Kirkness, E.F.; Hédan, B.; Mosher, D.S.; Galibert, F.; André, C; Ostrander, E.A.; Hitte, C.; (2007-12-19). "Canine Population Structure: Assessment and Impact of Intra-Breed Stratification on SNP-Based Association Studies". In Awadalla, Philip. PLoS ONE 2 (12): e1324. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001324. PMC 2129117. PMID 18091995.
- Derr, Mark (2004-05-21). "Collie or Pug? Study Finds the Genetic Code". The New York Times.
- Petura, Barbara Bradley (2004). "New Breakthrough in Dog Genetics". The Racing Siberian Husky Online & WorkingDogWeb.com. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
- Travis, John (2004-05-19). "Breeds Apart: Purebred dogs defined by DNA differences". Science News 165 (21). Retrieved 2008-05-10.