Dogs are often referred to as ‘man’s best friend’, but could that be because man has purposely bred dogs to have specific physical and mental traits?

The following images show what 15 dog breeds looked like before and after years of selective breeding, with some of the total 167 different breeds becoming almost unrecognisable compared to hundreds of years ago.

Almost all breeds have been developed to look a certain way in order to best perform their function (such as hunting and carting), whilst others have been bred purely for the conformation show ring.

Unfortunately, some of those changes have not impacted the dog life in a positive way – often leading to them being prone to more diseases than ever before.

You will be extremely surprised by some of the drastic changes over the years, and how unrecognisable some of our beloved dogs are today in comparison to their origin.

Dachshund, 1915


The Dachshund we recognise was developed in Germany over 400 years, and was a stockier build that was helpful during hunting as it could follow animals underground and in thick vegetation.

Dachshund, 2015


Now, Dachshund’s backs and necks have stretched out unproportionately and their legs have shrunk to the extent to which they struggle to walk over obstacles that are just a few inches off of the ground.

Unfortunately, this means they have the highest risk of any breed for intervertebral disc disease (which can result in paralysis) and are prone to have problems with their legs.