Posted by Dan Hinds on July 25, 2016
Researchers have analyzed the DNA of 85 dog breeds, and they have found startling genetic similarities between all of the breeds. In total, there are four main groups of dogs, the wolflike, the herder, the hunter and the mastifflike. Most modern breeds are a little bit of each of these four major types, and the infographic below will show you where your dog lies on the scale.
The length of the colored bars in a breed’s genetic profile shows how much of the dog’s DNA falls into each category.
With roots in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, these breeds are genetically closest to wolves, suggesting they are the oldest domesticated breeds.
Familiar herding breeds such as the Shetland sheepdog are joined by breeds never known for herding: the greyhound, pug, and borzoi. This suggests those breeds either were used in the creation of classic herding dogs or descended from them.
Most in this group were developed in recent centuries as hunting dogs. While the pharaoh hound and Ibizan hound are said to descend from dogs seen on ancient Egyptian tombs, their placement here suggests they are re-creations bred to resemble ancient breeds.
The German shepherd’s appearance in this cluster, anchored by the mastiff, bulldog, and boxer, likely reflects its breeding as a military and police dog.