Dog Breeds, Then and Now

Grand Champion Bill, a ChihuahuaRecently I came across a photo of a champion Chihuahua from the late sixties.

I was surprised at how different the dog looked compared to champion Chihuahuas today. The breed has certainly changed and evolved over the years.

The Chihuahua was first recognized by the AKC in 1904. The first champion, “Beppie” was registered in 1908. The first registered Chihuahuas were long coats. The two coat varieties were recognized in 1952.

Chihuahuas of yesteryear were larger, longer and the heads were not as “apple” shaped. My very first Chihuahua was a pet but pedigree non the less. He was born in 1962. Piccolo as we called him was a big boy, about 9 pounds, long and deer headed. Not a show dog by far but typical of the Chihuahuas of that time.

Show Chihuahuas today cannot exceed 6 pounds, must have a level topline, and a perfect apple shaped head. Shorter bodies are preferred. This is what AKC breeders strive for today to conform to the current standards.  But is it good for the breed? How small is too small? And what about other breeds?AKC Official Standard of the Chihuahua

My first show quality dogs were Welsh Pembroke Corgis. I had 2 lovely dogs. They were both long but not too long and had expressive foxy faces. The were both well balanced and athletic and came from excellent breeding. This was back in the 1980’s. The breed was first recognized in 1934.

Last year I ran into the breeder who I had gotten one on the dogs from. I asked her if she thought the breed was changing. I said, the dogs I see in the ring today look so much bigger and too long! Their heads seem larger as well. She agreed, but that was the way the breeders were going. We both admired the dogs from years gone by.

More dramatic changes can be seen in the Bulldogs, especially the French Bulldog which has become a completely man made breed. These dog s cannot even breed on their own without artificial insemination. And they need C-sections to give birth. This breed was first recognized in 1898. Even champion Frenchies from 10 years ago look different than today’s top dogs.

One breed has gone back in time. With the approval of the AKC in 2003, The Parson Russell Terrier Association of America officially changed the name of what was commonly known as The Jack Russell Terrier to Parson Russell Terrier to maintain the original integrity of the breed. They wanted to go back to the breeding standards they prized in the original breed.

Times change but not always for the best. The breeders that I know are totally dedicated and strive for high standards, but maybe it’s time to go back to the old days.

Examples of Chihuahuas from the 1950s & 1960s
Ch. Tejano Texas Kid Ch. Tejano Texas Kid
Was the foremost Best In Show Chihuahua of all time with 15 all-breed wins. Shown in the mid-1950’s and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bob Rob Roberts of San Antonio, TX. and handled by Clara Alford.
Can. Am. Ber. Mex. Ch. Brecon's Individualist Can. Am. Ber. Mex. Ch. Brecon’s Individualist
Group and Best in Show winner and sire of many champions, pictured at his win of the Smooth Coat Variety at Westminister in 1966 under judge Haskell Schuffman, with Lorraine Heichel handling. Owned by Sandra Nelles, Brecon Kennels, Unionville, Ontario, Canada.
Ch Luce's Little Flash Ch. Luce’s Little Flash
A steady winner and sire. Was owned by Mrs. Rozel G. Luce of Kennedy, NY. Brother of Ch. Luce’s Flash-E-Gayla.
Ch. Luce's Flash-E-Gayla Ch. Luce’s Flash-E-Gayla
Took Best of Variety at Westmininster in 1961. Sister of Ch. Luce’s Little Flash.




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