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Why Do Dogs Look So Different From Each Other?

There are lots of species out there in the vast animal kingdom, and most of those species look pretty much the same. Whether it's lions, horses, or cats, there isn't much variation in many of the species out there. Except, of course, for our furry canine friends. Why (and how) do most dogs look so different from one another? 

While there are lots of different cat breeds within the domestic cat species, most of them look alike. Similar size, face, tail, and ears. But dogs are a different story. While a Russian Blue cat might not look too different from a Maine coon, a Chihuahua certainly looks very different from a Great Dane. 

It's not just about the 190 different dog breeds classified by the American Kennel Club, but also about how far dogs go back. Dogs were domesticated by humans over 19,000 years ago. Their relationship with their humans back then wasn't quite the same as it is now, but it shows just how far back the human and dog bond goes.

Because of this bond and humans' attachment to dogs, the practice of breeding dogs grew increasingly popular. Humans realized just how much of a useful companion a dog could be, so dogs began to be bred for specific purposes. This is when we started getting dogs for herding, dogs for hunting, dogs for sporting, and more. 

Dogs began to be bred for specific purposes that relied on their appearance, agility, size, form, and more. This caused dogs to start looking very different from one another. Nowadays, we mostly refer to this process as "selective breeding". Cats, on the other hands, were simply admired for their looks and companionship. Since cats weren't being used for versatile jobs, they were never bred to look too different from one another. 

Part of the reason we love pups so much is because they can all look so different! But no matter how big or small, long-haired or short-haired, dogs always manage to carry that amazing "man's best friend" attitude. 

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Jenna Gomes

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Jenna Gomes