Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dog breed diversity

On the February 16th, 2011 episode of NYSK (download podcast here), we talked about the Westminster Kennel Club's dog show. I enjoy watching this event because it reminds me of the power of selective breeding, also known as artificial selection. For instance, compare the Pekingnese pictured above to the Scottish Deerhound (Best in Show, 2011) below. Can you believe these two dogs are the same species- Canis lupus familiaris? Darwin appreciated artificial selection so much that he used it as an illustration for how the process of natural selection works.

The diversity of dog breeds has been (and still is) important to humans for several reasons. For example, we historically used certain breeds for specific tasks, such as rooting out rodents from holes (e.g. terriers) and guarding property (e.g. mastiffs). Dogs today are still worked around the world for things like hunting, herding, and guarding, but more often we find ourselves utilizing them as companions.

Westminster Kennel Club's annual dog show allows us to marvel at the different breeds, but we should not forget our little buddies that reside in temporary shelters, just waiting for a loving person to adopt them. For information on a shelter in your area, visit and use your zip code to search for a shelter.

As always in the show, we listened to fun music, mostly dog-related, such as the Scooby Doo theme, Elvis's "Hound Dog", and Patti Page's "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window".

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.