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sandgrubber

First Breed Standard?

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Was a Pointer called Major the world's first pedigree dog? Historians uncover the earliest attempt to define a canine breed standard

  • Major was described by John Henry Walsh in an 1865 edition of The Field
  • It is believed to have been the first attempt to define a dog breed standard
  • Walsh was aiming to end disagreements over the judging at dog shows

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2288465/Was-Pointer-called-Major-worlds-modern-dog-Historians-uncover-attempt-define-dog-breed-standard-based-physical-form.html#ixzz2Mis0hoX3

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Diva   

The quote below is from the AKC history of the Borzoi

"By 1260, the coursing of hare for sport is mentioned in connection with the Court of the Grand Duke of Novgorod, and in 1650 the first Borzoi standard was written (which did not differ greatly from the modern standard)."

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The quote below is from the AKC history of the Borzoi

"By 1260, the coursing of hare for sport is mentioned in connection with the Court of the Grand Duke of Novgorod, and in 1650 the first Borzoi standard was written (which did not differ greatly from the modern standard)."

I am no expert on Borzoi, but know that many breeds make claims for long-standing breed standards, eg, Pekingese claiming to date back to some Chinese standard written thousands of years back. These usually don't stand up to critical review. Google fails to turn up the 1650 standard. The most detailed description of Borzoi history I could find says:"It is sometimes said that the first Borzoi standard was written in 1650, but this is more of a description of the breed than what modern day dog fanciers would consider a Breed Standard. "

It would be interesting to see a translation of the 1650 "standard".

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The Philo Kuon Standard for the Bulldog was first written in Feb 1865. A club was formed in 1864 but it didnt last.

It was later replaced by The Official Bulldog Standard from The Bulldog Club Inc.

Just as a note, the oldest Breed Club in the world is The Bulldog Club Inc which commenced in 1875.

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This is the earliest reference I can find to a greyhound type. Although it's not strictly a standard.

post-2283-0-45601800-1362808146_thumb.jpg

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Alyosha   

I have a copy of "The 1888 Modern Borzoi Standard Description by Nicolai Yermolov". It is obviously slightly later than the above mentioned one. Maybe that says something about changes during the time period?

As the Yermolov family had been breeding Borzoi for two centuries prior, it may well have been the publication of a standard that the family had held for a long time.

It would be difficult to obtain old borzoi documents from Russian history given the isolation that many of the old time kennels existed in, and the high esteem their breeding records would have been held in. Jealously hoarding information and bloodlines is not a new practice in the dog world...

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Sounds like a rather Eurocentric view of the world.

Methinks the Saluki holds the honour of the first pedigree dog and those better versed in the breed can probably point to written accounts of the dogs that predate Christ.

Then, of course, there is the well known description of the Greyhound, dating from the 15th Century

"a head like a snake,
a neck like a drake,
a backlike a beam,
the sides of a bream, (fish)
be footed like a cat
and have a taillike a rat"

ETA: Snap Greytmate!

Edited by Haredown Whippets

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Janba   

I don't know about the first breed standard but I would think the first pedigree dog would go back to when people first started recording pedigrees for their own breeding records which as HW says probably predates Christ

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I don't know about the first breed standard but I would think the first pedigree dog would go back to when people first started recording pedigrees for their own breeding records which as HW says probably predates Christ

Maybe, but dog standards and pedigrees as we know them today really stem from 19th century thinking. This was a time when documenting history and scientific knowledge became really important. The pointer standard that this thread is about is interesting, because of the way it tries to rationally and objectively describe the dog and give it a score, unlike the old proverbial dog standards from an earlier era. When you think about who used dogs and what they were used for, it is likely that before this era most breed information was passed down verbally through the generations. Genetics was not understood well. There are examples of where modern historians have been able to construct some old pedigrees from their research, but I'm not sure that people actually kept records of their dog's lineage before the 19th century. Are there any primary sources of older pedigrees being kept for dogs?

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To respond to HW, the earliest on Salukis in written form is probably Al-Mansur's "On Hunting" (1247). Nothing in it takes the form of a standard as we understand standards in pedigree dog world - the section titled "Observations on their good qualities and their faults" probably comes closest. Some of the material in it is definitely not to be followed - treatment for mange for example, tie them in the sun on a hot day with oil on the mangey bit... :eek:

Edit - for completeness Abu-Nuwas al-Hasan ben Hani al-Hakami (756–814) wrote poetry about Salukis but it wasn't anything that you could describe as a standard. Some beautiful stuff tho'.

Edited by SkySoaringMagpie

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I don't know about the first breed standard but I would think the first pedigree dog would go back to when people first started recording pedigrees for their own breeding records which as HW says probably predates Christ

Maybe, but dog standards and pedigrees as we know them today really stem from 19th century thinking. This was a time when documenting history and scientific knowledge became really important. The pointer standard that this thread is about is interesting, because of the way it tries to rationally and objectively describe the dog and give it a score, unlike the old proverbial dog standards from an earlier era. When you think about who used dogs and what they were used for, it is likely that before this era most breed information was passed down verbally through the generations. Genetics was not understood well. There are examples of where modern historians have been able to construct some old pedigrees from their research, but I'm not sure that people actually kept records of their dog's lineage before the 19th century. Are there any primary sources of older pedigrees being kept for dogs?

My guess is that for most breeds outside of companion dogs performance dictated which dogs were bred and which were not.

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Janba   

My guess is that for most breeds outside of companion dogs performance dictated which dogs were bred and which were not.

I would too with the choice of dogs used for breeding and it is still the case in many working registries. Te original border collie registry - the ISDS - predates any KC registry for the breed by 50 or so years and it is still the largest BC registry and the ISDS dogs are still bred for ability. You can trace pedigrees further back than the official stud book but the are farmers records.

One of the reasons I've been told why the ANKC doesn't recognsise the ISDS is that they don't have a breed standard but generations of breeding for ability produces a dog that is obviously a BC. Almost every other KC recognises them and will register them on their equivalent of the MR.

I would think that official working records of some of the hounds are far older and that they are still bred on ability in many countries.

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