Oldest Dog Breed

The most ancient type of dog, which still keeps its appearance similar to the wolf and a great part of its ancestor’s primitive style, is the Nordic. These are the nomad arctic breeds, sometimes named Spitz. Its appearance is very natural, savage color distribution, erect ears, dense fur, wide and long muzzle, curled tail, with protective fur stripes such as the wolf’s and a lot of flexibility. Gregarious, although reserve, these are independent canines that bond strongly to man. Amongst the breeds in these group are sled dogs, such as the Husky, the Samoyedo and the Alaskan Malamute; the Nordic shepherds, such as the Elkhound, the Chow Chow, and other company breeds, as the American Eskimo, the Keeshond and the Pomeranian.

Other primitive group is the pariah dogs, probably survivors of the first housebroken dogs. The Basenji in Africa, the Pharaoh Hound, and the Canaan Dog from Israel are examples of the latter. These breeds are less people-oriented than the Nordic, which coexisted with man, and were not expelled from the camps as the pariahs.

Close to the pariah dogs are the greyhounds and sighthounds. These dogs were developed in South Asia and North Africa for open field hunting, using their sight instead of their smell. These breeds are ancient as well, and the group currently comprises breeds as the Greyhound, the Saluki, the Afghan Hound and the Whippet. These breeds have similar morphology, with the typical elongated muzzle, deep chest, long and potent limbs, flexible spine and fast, hare style, movement when running (some can reach 70 km/h speeds).

The breeds we know as molossers are developed as guardians based on giant breeds. Man’s fascination for such oversized wonders, resulted in the creation of real life monsters, with other domestic dog’s docility, incredible strength and supernatural protective instinct. These dogs were used as war beasts, home and flock guardians. Amongst the breeds that survive these dogs are the Mastiff, the Tibetan Mastiff, in the Pyrenean Mountain, the Animal Dogge and the Saint Bernard.

Above: Spitz breeds are group animals; they are very intelligent and bond strongly to people. The Husky is still amongst the Nordic breed favorites.

Below: Faster than a hare, the Whipped is an elegant and playful Sight hound breed.