Recently, someone on Twitter reminded us of a very important truth: that when corgis are bred with any other dog, they just end up looking like those dogs just dressed up like a corgi. There's even a thread proving it:
You get the point.
Of course, mixed breeds are all the rage these days. The more breeds you can pack into one little dog, the better -- you know, like a malshipoo, cavapoochon or even a cavalier jack spaniel. Purebred, schmurebred!
But, even considering the popularity of all these "new" breeds, they're not exactly official -- though the people in charge definitely aren't against recognizing newfound dogs. Just this year, the American Kennel Club introduced the barbet and dogo Argentino.
But what does it take for an actual new breed to be ~created~ (besides the biological obvious, of course)? If a corgi mix is always just going to look like a corgi, how do true, original breeds come to be?
We first have to look at how we were blessed with dogs in the first place, which is, expectedly, hard to pinpoint. According to Smithsonian Magazine, domesticated dogs as we know them diverged from their wolf ancestors (likely the gray wolf of central Asia, specifically) somewhere between 15,000 to 40,000 years ago -- not the most narrow of timeframes. There's even a thought that domestication happened more than once, so we're just going to say we are forever grateful that it happened at all and leave it at that.
Theories suggest that ancient civilizations captured wolf pups to keep as pets, and growing up around humans, the pups acclimated to a more docile existence (anyone getting "Game of Thrones" vibes?). Other theories say that wolves domesticated themselves, needing to appear friendly to humans in order to be fed and survive. That friendliness, scientists say, is what created the physical changes that we know and love in our doggos now: floppy ears, curly tails, furry coats, etc.
Friendliness is any dog's primary characteristic, so that all checks out. But how in the heck did we get both a great dane and a chihuahua from the same wolves?
Even as far back as dogs were thought to be domesticated, experts believe the splitting of breeds likely happened just in the last few centuries or so. And, turns out, mankind gets the credit for the phenomenon. As these newly-domesticated dogs were bred for favorable traits (louder barks for protection, submissiveness for compliance, hunting skills), man was messing with their literal genetic makeup. These natural-ish changes eventually became distinct enough to delineate between the breeds. Get it? We bred the breeds.
These not-so-accidental genetic modifications, though, also created those unfavorable traits our poor dogs deal with, as well, as William Saletan at Slate pointed out in 2005: pugs' flat noses (that lead to breathings problems), corgis' stumpy legs (that hinder speed), short tempers (that instill fear in society).