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Form after function

All modern breeds of dogs are by design. If you have ever designed something or have seen something designed with multiple, functional parts, you then know that everything must be considered in that design to serve its purpose. This is no different when it comes to the Canine. Its structural blueprint must provide for its function and its need for its master.

In the design of American Molossus the design was such that it could do what his purpose was which was to guard and ward off strangers and unwanted guests, protect at all costs yet stay within close quarters. He needed intimidating size and looks, a large bark, he needed to be powerful and quick and an uncanny sense of loyalty to its owner. It would not require, speed like a greyhound nor a small pointed muzzle like a rat terrier.

Man has always been physically limited and has had the need for a companion and assistant. Dogs over thousands of years have accommodated that need and have been changed or created to do specific tasks.

The blood hound was created to have a keen sense of smell and was bred by design and carefully modified to achieve and unmatched sense of smell for specific tasks. The Labrador retriever was a cross between small water dogs and the Newfoundland to create the type of dog needed to be agile, able to swim quickly and retrieve wild birds for hunters.

In many cases the functions for which dogs were originally created for may not be the function now. Most dogs are kept indoors or in small yards as the family companions where the full display of what they were designed and created for will never be realized.

Understanding what a person wants and what types of breeds there are and what they were created for is keen. A person that lives in a wooded area, surrounded by heavy foliage where large amounts of vermin live may want a small dog that can kill them wouldn't want the large dog bred for hunting boar like the Great Dane. All but 3 dogs the Wolf, Dingo and African wild dog were created and designed by man for thousands of years and will continue but understanding and realizing the function and form is a wonderful thing to educate yourself on.

The show ring has an influence on form and function as well. Is the show ring important? Yes, to display a well bred dog that has a recognized standard is a thing of beauty but is not the reason the breed was created and designed. The gait of a dog for instance in the Neapolitan Mastiff was not the point of focus when it was designed. The focus was on intimidation, guarding functions, power and loyalty not grace but change the design slightly to have more length in the body and the dog can move cleaner with a better gait and is more pleasing to the eye in a show ring. This slight change in the body may or may not change the dogs overall function but is a small example of design.

You can always have a better understanding of the functional aspects of a dog if you think of them in terms of engineering. Think about where the dog came from and what was the original role. Was it a hunter, a retriever, a fighter, a guard of animals, a guard of man, a herder and you will understand more about the function of why they behave a certain way, what they can excel at and wont, how they fit into

your lifestyle of today. A manufacturer would think of these functions as a need or desire and look at it as manufacturing a new product capable of operating in that capacity. With a breeder he may have a dog that has a function and form for a similar capability but see a greater need and start to redesign. It may be accomplished within that same breed through organic, methodic breeding and selection, they may bring in another breed and cross it, maybe recross it maybe introduce other breeds until they get the perfect blend. This could take little time or several developmental stages to get the design. No matter how many different steps it may take, a great engineer (Breeder) never gets away from the intent of the design or blueprint/ standard. That design is for a specific purpose, function and ability and they recognize the value and true importance of that design.

To sum it all up, whether it’s a dog breeder or engineer they both know the importance of design of their dogs or device to make full use of their basic design for which they were created.

I hope this blog was valuable to you and hope to meet you one day. :-)

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