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Ancestry vs Purebred dogs

Updated: Mar 15

Did you know? As you have begun to see with our posts the Pyrenean Mastiff has evolved over time like any breed, selective breeding by breeders causes traits to change over time. The dogs of the 70s look different than the dogs of 2000's and we even see style differences between countries and even between kennels today.

A good perspective of purebred dogs vs ancestry of dog breeds is like comparing genealogy vs genetic ancestry in people. The term "Purebred" is a man made term defined by Kennel Clubs to indicate a dog that has a documented pedigree and documented lineage aka genealogy. For example I say I am Mexican/American however my ancestry way back actually comprises of a variety of genetics from other places beyond Mexico and North America. Ancestry and the genetics behind it are more scientific in terms and relates to common genetics shared amongst a population. Breed testing for dogs is based on ancestry and the common genetics shared within a breed. However, these breed definitions in the genetics side are based on a panel of select dogs who are pedigreed to help try and identify common markers in the genetics that can define that ancestry. This data is constantly changing just like if you have ever done a test with Ancestry . com, from time to time your results change as more and more people are getting tested.

Dogs are broken up primarily into 2 foundation groups, you have your breeds who are known as land races, like the Pyrenean Mastiff, and dog breeds who were created artificially so to speak like the Dalmation (it is thought that early ancestors were certain breeds of pointers and spotted danes). Here is a great read about the differences:

All breeds have an ancestry that is a mix of all kinds of things, most genetic testing can't see past 3 generations, but what makes dogs purebred is being recognized as such by a Registering Authority such as AKC, RSCE, FCPR, ENCI etc.

The Pyrenean Mastiff started as a land race, a breed of dog bred over time for a particular purpose that was primarily shaped by its environment with some human involvement. A great example of the evolution of the Pyrenean Mastiff is that both the Great Pyrenees and Pyrenean Mastiff did in fact derive from the dogs that worked the Pyrenees Mountains millennia ago and as time went on the single "type" of dog split into what is now the 2 different modern breeds. We know the Great Pyrenees has relationships to more Italian Flock Guards while the Pyrenean Mastiff has more relationships to Mountain breeds based on research done by the Dog Genome Project. This is the ancestry behind the 2 breeds showing the relationships of the genetics between the two and independently.

When Rafael Malo Alcrudo began working alongside the other breeders who worked to recover the Pyrenean Mastiff they searched the origin region looking for dogs who met the phenotype (the look) of the Pyrenean Mastiff. As they found these dogs the dogs were then added to the breed stud book to begin the pedigreed data collection we now have today for the breed. These dogs were dogs that were selected based on phenotype or appearance and purpose, then selective breeding is what has created the modern Pyrenean Mastiff we have today.

Some great articles from Embark regarding ancestry of purebred dogs and how breeds split

Some good information from National Purebred Dog Day about open vs closed stud books.

Open stud books allow dogs to be added who do not have a complete 3 generation pedigree while closed stud books require a complete 3 generation pedigree. In Spain the Pyrenean Mastiff has an Open stud book, this will be a discussion for another day!

Again stay tuned for more! Photos of dogs through the decades, see each picture for details!

Cuqui 1975, his offspring were added to the studbook for the Pyrenean mastiff. One of his daughters is Talapieza. Owner was Mr. Joaquin Isturiz, Photo credit Rafael Malo Alcrudo. The very first CMPE logo was based on his head in 1977

Sultan 1977 Photo credit Rafael Malo Alcrudo

Altea-Tania 1978 Photo Credit Rafael Malo Alcrudo

Rex - 1976 Rafael Malo Alcrudo

Tio Roy de Limoeiro 1989 - photo credit Rafael Malo Alcrudo

Ulises de Castell de Ximen with Jose Tello - 1992 - photo credit Rafael Malo Alcrudo

Tufa de la Tajadera del Tio Roy - 1995 - Photo Credit Rafael Malo Alcrudo

Onofre de la Tajadera del Tio Roy - early 2000s - Photo Credit Rafael Malo Alcrudo

Monografica Teruel Spain 2019

Left - Nuria dei Magenifa owned by Fausto Nicolini

Right - Bertok del Paso del Oso - owner Antonio Donoso

Photo Credit - Ruud Buddenberg

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