Ever since wolves were domesticated to become dogs, dog breeding has been an important part of human-canine relations. And while we all know and love our current dog breeds, there are some surprising origins of our four legged-friends that no longer are around.
The Talbot is related to the modern day beagle or the coonhound. Since this white dog was related to the bloodhound, it was thought to have bred into the line over the years. The Talbot was used for tracking on the battlefield (as opposed to hunting), and was believed to have brought to England by William the Conqueror.
This New Zealand breed was brought to the island in the 14th century, possibly from East Polynesia. While the dogs were companions to Maori women, the stubborn and ugly dog was recorded as being mean. “They were always treacherous and bit us frequently,” said French explorer Julien Marie Crozet. It is unclear why the Kurī died out, but is believed to have been bred with other dogs.
Cordoba Fighting Dog
The purpose of the Cordoba Fighting Dog is right there in its name. The Argentinian dog was bred for pit fighting. The bulldog, bull terrier and mastiff mix was bred to be too aggressive. These dogs would constantly try to fight each other, and eventually died out because of it.
Hare Indian Dog
Native to Canada, the Hare Indian Dog was used to help Athabaskan tribes hunt. This dog was believed to be a cross between the domestic dog and the coyote. Eventually this dog bred with other dogs and slowly became less of a coyote and more of a dog.
This ancient Greek dog was the forefather of today’s massive dog breeds, including the Mastiff, the St. Bernard and the Rottweiler. Some of their major functions were to guard both humans and livestock and to fight along side men in battle. The Molossus is referenced in literature, and Aristotle once said of the dog, “Of the Molossian breed of dogs, such as are employed in the chase are pretty much the same as those elsewhere; but sheep-dogs of this breed are superior to the others in size, and in the courage with which they face the attacks of wild.”
Braque du Puy
Native to France, this pointing dog never reached the same levels of popularity as other hunting dogs. It was originally bred in the 19th century and is largely believed to no longer exist today even though some breeders claim they exist in remote parts of Europe.
This German bulldog eventually became the dog we now know as the Boxer. This dog was bred for bull-baiting and boar hunting. The Bullenbeisser is thought to have become extinct through crossbreeding.
These large dogs were used by farmers in the Caucasus Mountains to guard livestock. They were imported into England after Sir Dudley Marjoribanks saw one performing in a circus. This breed eventually turned into what we now know as the Golden Retriever.
Salish Wool Dog
Salish Wool dogs were originally bred in Washington and British Columbia by the Salish Native Americans. Known for its white coat, the fur on this long-haired dog was used to make blankets.
The Norfolk Spaniel was an elegant dog bred by the Duke of Norfolk. It looked like a large Cocker Spaniel and was also known as a Shropshire Spaniel. They were bred to hunt birds. While the Norfolk Spaniel was once considered the most popular dog in England, it no longer exists today.