- from Dogs
What happens when you cross a Labrador retriever with a poodle? You get a Labradoodle—and a new breed of dog. In 1989, an Australian breeder wanted a better guide dog for blind people allergic to dog hair. Poodles hardly shed, and Labs make great guides. So he put the two together and created the Labradoodle.
This is how the world ended up with over 400 known breeds of dog. People watched for dogs with the traits to do the job, and then they bred them. The process, called selective breeding, started thousands of years ago.
The two oldest breeds—greyhounds and mastiffs—developed because people wanted fast-running dogs for hunting and powerful fighting dogs for war. Today, these and other selectively bred dogs are known as purebreds. Because purebred dogs are bred only with each other, you can trace their pedigree, or family tree. Some greyhounds have pedigrees that reach all the way back to ancient Egypt!
Many dog clubs, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), track pedigrees for dogs that are registered with them. The AKC, founded in 1884, recognizes over 140 breeds of dog, and divides them into seven categories.