Q&A: What dog breeds existed in the 11th century?

by Llima

Question by Jenks: What in the 11th ?
From all over the world. Give me a list, and if you're knowledgeable about such things, perhaps a brief overview of the place of dogs in the 11th century.

Thank you!

Best answer:

Answer by Sniper
There weren't actual until like the 1800's when rich and middle class people had too much time on their hands.

Back then, it was more of type. You had hounds for hunting, there were dogs for herding, etc.

What do you think? Answer below!

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    • 4Her4Life
    • December 27, 2013

    Dogs in the 1100s were not classified by breed but were loosely divided based on geography and function into what we would now call “land races”. There were various sheepdogs and drovers in both England and on the Continent that were beginning to diversify based on regional needs – “collies” on in Yorkshire (the border of Scotland and England) needed to be more agile on rough ground and so gradually drifted from the longer-legged collie-types of the level ground farther south, for example, or the Mastiff types were refined for urban guardian duties (Neapolitan), draft and droving work (Rottweiler), or large game hunting (Great Dane).

    Because dogs were kept and bred according to their worth at a specific task or tasks, there developed very different types of dogs that were only bred together by accident (the pups of working parents of different types rarely were well qualified for either task and so wouldn’t be kept and fed). Thus the terriers diverged from the sheepdogs and mastiffs and sight-hounds and scent-hounds and spaniels and sled dogs. Though genetics was not thoroughly understood, it was known that “like begets like” and so like dogs would be bred together when more like dogs were needed.

    Because travel was limited these geographically diverse strains remained distinct, basically natural line-breeding was taking place as after only a few generations of outcrosses, all dogs within the practical limits of use for breeding were loosely related to a few common ancestors. Dogs DID still travel so this isolation was never complete – Gypsies, for example, are thought to have brought their Dalmatian precursors along throughout Europe and it was not unusual for prize hunting dogs (or their progeny) to be given as gifts to foreign dignitaries, but by-and-large the local strains predominated.

    Many breed names still reflect this grouping by geography and function – Irish Terriers at that time would describe any terrier from Ireland, where a certain type predominated, Border Collies were collies (sheepdogs) in function from the border of Scotland and England, German, Belgian, and Dutch Shepherds were the sheep-herds of different places in the continent, etc.

    Recording dog pedigrees and formally opposing function-only crosses came along in the 1800’s as people became more mobile, the world became more industrialized, and dog breeds of great historical value began to die off, standards were written to help preserve the form that originally followed function as functions began to change – otter hunting became illegal and the Otterhounds almost died out, railroads meant that long-range livestock travel was no longer performed by dogs and the endurance drover breeds needed a reason to keep existing, with dogs coming in from all parts of the world it was becoming a real fear that soon there would be so much cross-breeding that the ideal types – perfected by years of informal selection – would be lost to more generic dogs. Couple all of those factors with the patriotic fervor to have “our county’s” breed for each function, and you have the modern kennel clubs and stud books roaring onto the scene.

    So, none of the dogs of the 1100’s would really be recognizable by today’s breed names and standards, but distinct land-races of dogs – based on type and geography – were present and the modern classifications of “shepherd” or :”terrier” or “mastiff” were beginning to evolve.

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