Dog breeds can also become extinct. And several of them face a disturbing future

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When we think of endangered animals, we probably imagine some species inhabiting some remote forest on the planet. Surely we do not think of domestic animals, much less dogs.


Far from being in Danger of extinction, dogs (canis lupus familiaris) are one of the most widespread domestic animals of the world. (The most common according to some metrics.) However, there are dog breeds that are considered to be in a vulnerable situation.

How does one come to be considered an endangered breed? For the British Kennel Club, it is for the birth of less than 300 copies per year, but it applies only to native breeds in this region. This implies, for example, that the Pembroke Welsh corgi (the breed we commonly associate with the term “corgi”) was cataloged as an endangered breed a few years ago in the islands despite being relatively frequent in the United States.

In the latest version of your listthe Kennel Club appoints 31 breeds in a vulnerable state, which include the San Hubert dog (bloodhound) and the English greyhound (greyhound), which with 19 and 10 births in 2021 could be considered the most vulnerable according to the club’s metrics. Other breeds on the list are the mastiff, the English setter, different breeds of terriers and spaniels, or the Cardigan Welsh corgi.

We are looking for more than 2,100 species.  They are not extinct, but we have no trace of them

The Kennel Club’s is the main list, but each region of the world has its native dog breeds. Other breeds included in lists Endangered dogs include American dingoes, Carolina hounds, Korean donggyeongi, or Indian jonangi.

Like species, dog breeds can disappear by converging on others. Unlike what happens in the wild, in the domestic environment, breeders can change at will, generation after generation, the characteristics of the dog breeds until they become unrecognizable.

A change in lifestyle

Dogs are bred for their usefulness and many of these have traditionally been linked to agricultural work. The changes in the work in the field have implied changes in what dog breeds are required by the people. This means that some breeds have been falling into “disuse” and thus in danger of disappearing.

The risk of disappearance of domestic animals It doesn’t just affect dog breeds.. Agriculture and industrial cattle raising have tended to homogenize cattle, always giving preference to the most efficient breeds in terms of generating product, be it meat, milk or eggs. Pig and poultry farming are the most homogenized.

The Livestock Conservancy is an American NGO focused on the preservation of biodiversity in livestock. The races in hisconservation priority list” cover different types of livestock, such as cattle, chickens, geese, donkeys, goats, sheep or turkeys among other species.

The organization also distinguishes several categories of priority, from species in critical condition to those that are “under study”, as well as those that are in the process of recovery, among other categories. The association also distinguishes between native species, those imported before the 20th century and those imported during and after the s. xx.

The disappearance of breeds and livestock species can be a bad news. Genetic diversity is one of the key tools for your survival. The scarcity in this can make certain cattle more vulnerable to, for example, the spread of a virus.

This can have other effects, such as increased drug dependency. The use of antibiotics in livestock has been noted as a key factor in the evolution of bacteria and their increasing resistance to treatments that must eliminate them. As if this were not enough, the same economic pressures can affect crops and even trees in the same way.

The links between society and the environment are increasingly complex, but above all they change rapidly. The interconnectedness is such that it is difficult to know how the loss of a breed of canid or livestock might affect an ecology shaped by thousands of years of human habitation. In any case, with these extinctions there will always be a small lossif not in the ecosystem, in the culture that has led us to live in the company of these animals for so many generations.

Image | ron lach

When we think of endangered animals, we probably imagine some species inhabiting some remote forest on the planet. Surely we…

When we think of endangered animals, we probably imagine some species inhabiting some remote forest on the planet. Surely we…

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