More and more often in the newspapers there are advertisements concerning dogs of new breeds, theoretically better than all those known up to now. Anyone who knows the German Shepherd as well as the Poodle, which can now be defined as an ancient breed since it has existed since the last century. But what are the Elo or the Wäller? And what defines a breed?
Is every breed a crossbreed?
Each dog breed is formed as a result of a cross between different existing breeds. The animals are bred for generations until they have both a sufficient genetic heritage and a physical appearance and behavioral characteristics that uniquely define the new breed. The German Boxer for example was born from a cross between small Mastiffs, Pugs, Bulldogs, Bullenbeisser and Bierboxer. Only between 1895 and 1898 did the real Boxer develop. Even the beloved German Shepherd is actually the result of a cross between large and small shepherd dogs, which accompanied the man during his work. A breed standard for the German Shepherd was first established in 1899 by cavalry captain Max von Stephanitz
The birth of new dog breeds
Once dogs were bred for certain purposes, without having to follow particular aesthetic canons: hunting dogs were used for hunting, shepherd dogs had to look after the livestock. Certainly companion dogs, living in the house, had to have specific characteristics regarding size and coat, but in most cases size, color and dog hair were secondary aspects. It was not until the end of the 19th century that one began to standardize the appearance of one dog breed before starting its breeding, establishing the so-called “breed standards”. Through the crossing of dogs with different characteristics, we tried to get as close as possible to the standard and to evaluate the breed created by referring to it. The animals considered more compliant with the standard were subsequently used to continue breeding, the less successful crossings were instead removed from the line. At the origin of the new dog breeds therefore there was, and still is, a couple from which all the dogs of that breed originate. The various attempts and errors derived from them laid the foundation for the so-called line-breeding.
Races fruit of chance
Some new dog breeds were born more or less by chance, as their names still demonstrate today. The Pudelpointer, for example, is the breed deriving from the Pointer and the Poodle (Bottle in German). Even the newer Cockapoo is an initially unsolicited cross between the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle. The positive qualities of this cross, however, soon became evident, so much so that the union between the liveliness of the Cocker and the intelligence of the Poodle has meant that, at least in America, this dog breed dating back to 1982 is today very trendy. In addition, its curly coat that requires very little care and the low loss of hair make the Cockapoo also suitable for allergic people. This family-friendly dog is active, intelligent, and affectionate.
The Cockapoo is also protected by the Cockapoo Club of America (CCA) and aims to gain recognition as an official breed from the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Breeding: a thought for future generations
Breeding a breed always involves developing and maintaining the breed standard over the course of several generations. For this reason a new breed cannot be born overnight. For the creation of a breed, a breeding method based on endogamy is initially required. It involves considerable risks, as it could give rise to a genetic heritage with complications, but it is nevertheless inevitable precisely in order to give birth to new dog breeds.
To get as close as possible to the standard, father and daughter, brother and sister and mother and son are mated. Only at a later time it is possible to continue with the maintenance of the breed through outcrossing, i.e. the mating of animals of the same breed but not related, or with the line-breeding, in which the best specimens are always coupled.
New dog breeds in development
Among the new dog breeds, the Elo is one of the oldest. At the beginning of 1987, the Szobries breeding couple attempted the mating between the Eurasier (breed born in 1960 from Wolsspitz, Chow Chow Samoyed and recognized in 1973 by the FCI) and the Bobtail. From this cross originated the Eloschaboro, later abbreviated to “Elo”, a companion and family dog that is characterized by being suitable for children, very alert and free of hereditary defects.
In 1994 Karin Wimmer-Kiekbusch started the breeding of the Wäller, whose name is the same as the inhabitants of her region of origin, the Westerwald. It is a cross between French and Australian Shepherd dogs – the Brie Shepherd Dog and the Australian Shepherd. The aim of this kennel is to create a sporty and companion dog, easy to train and suitable for families. He is characterized by a confident character, a healthy and robust constitution, vitality and physical fitness. Its height reaches 60 cm, which is ideal for a companion dog. Having renounced inbreeding, for the development of the Wäller, the attention to uniformity in physical appearance is lower than in other breeds, where priority is given instead to the character and health of the animal. For this reason, there is currently no standardized appearance for this breed.
Germanic bear dog
Towards the end of the Eighties a new and at the same time ancient dog breed caused a sensation. At Carsten Kieback’s kennel, hitherto a breeder of different sized breeds, a litter of 8 specimens was born whose broad head, large bear-like paws and light-colored coat recalled the ancient Germanic dogs of the German sagas and legends. The mating of several herding dogs resulted in the Germanischer Bärenhund. The enthusiasm for this litter was so great that breeder Kieback decided to continue the line. In addition to the imposing stature, this breed is characterized by love for children and excellent watchdog skills. Today this animal is gaining popularity especially in its homeland.
The cross between the Boston Terrier and the Basenji gave birth to the “Schenkenberger-Basenji”, now known as the Boston Basenji. Breeder Jürgen Weber from the German municipality of Groß Schenkenberg, in Schleswig-Holstein, wanted to create a breed that combines the “feline” characteristics of the Basenji and the excellent learning ability of the Boston-Terrier. This square-bodied dog, up to 43cm tall, with short back and long legs, can weigh up to 13kg. The most common coat color is streaked brown, sometimes black, while the tip of the tail, the legs (whole or just the ends) and the chest are always white. His intelligence and his affection for his family have also made the Boston-Basenji a much loved dog.
Other new dog breeds are the Goldendoodle and the Labradoodle, beautiful dogs born from the crossing with the Poodle.