The differentiation of dogs from wolves dates to more than 100 million years ago. However, basic breeding began when humans realized canids possessed a wide range of abilities and began an intentional selection of advantageous traits.
Since then, desirable talents were reinforced in successive generations giving origin to today’s breeds.
As dogs continued to fulfill needed functions in human activities such as hunting, herding, tracking or protecting, men continued breeding the best of each functional group as well as arranging crossbreeds to obtain new desirable traits. As a result, today there are more than 200 registered dog breeds worldwide, all of them with a common ancestor: the wolf.
While humans traveled the world they took their dogs with them. Together, they settled and conquered different corners of the planet. Throughout time, dogs adapted to different environments, even to extreme climate conditions that seemed impossible to endure. Sometimes their presence was essential to the survival of certain cultures. For example, the Inuit Sled Dog allowed the ancestors of today’s Inuit culture to survive the hostile conditions of the Arctic.
Such variety of breeds created the need for their organization and classification, resulting in the establishment of the first kennel clubs and associations by the end of the nineteenth century.
Nowadays, these organizations are responsible for maintaining standards for purebred dogs, keeping records of pedigrees, arranging dog shows and certifying judges. They are official sources of information and advice on dog health, training and breeding.