International dog and cat show “Latvian Winner 2017” tells more about the ancestors of dogs and cats!

Dogs and cats of various breeds will compete for the title of “Latvian Winner 2017” on 10-11 June, in Ķīpsala International Exhibition Centre. The participants will be evaluated on the basis of standards of the particular breeds, but, interestingly, the criteria would be quite different if the show had taken place a hundred years ago. In what ways have dog and cat breeds changed?
The lovely muzzles and splendid coats we love so much in our pets are the result of a process that has taken more than a hundred years. Depending on the particular region of the world and human needs, the appearance of each breed also evolved. For instance, dogs were mostly bred as helpers for hunting various animals. The show “Latvian Winner 2017” offers a look into the transformation of the Great Dane, the Pekingese, the Afghan Hound, the St. Bernard and also the Maine Coon and the Siamese cat.

The Great Dane – the 19th century ‘Apollo of the dogs’
The Great Dane is one of the breeds that has changed the most visually. In the second part of the 19th century these dogs were considered to be the ‘Apollos’ among all dog breeds because of their beauty and harmonious build. Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, also liked these dogs and he owned several of them. The modern Great Dane is also harmoniously built and noble, but its body has become shorter while the muscle mass has increased. The most striking changes are seen on the head – the muzzle volume is bigger and the transition from the forehead to the muzzle has become more pronounced. The ears of Great Danes were originally cut very short, but gradually breeders started to prefer slightly longer ears and cut only about a third of the length.

From a decorative lap dog to a dog with a lion’s heart
The Pekingese has also experienced striking changes! It was originally a small decorative dog, easy to be carried in one’s arm and slightly resembling today’s Tibetan Spaniel. Now, for example, the head has become bigger, legs – shorter and stronger, and the coat has become richer and more luxurious. The only thing that hasn’t changed over time is the character of the Pekingese. These dogs are still independent, brave fighters with a reasonably stubborn nature. No surprise, they are called the dog with the heart of a lion!

From athlete to model – the Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound was once quite different too. It was a working-dog breed used for hunting in the desert, primarily in the Middle East. For this reason, these hounds were endowed with features that enabled them to run very fast – light bones and a streamlined body, but they had short hair so as not
to hinder hunting. As a result of breeding, the today’s Afghan Hound is a handsome dog characterised by its long, silky and flowing hair that fascinates every animal lover.

From big to biggest – the St. Bernard
The first St. Bernards were quite different from the mighty dogs we know today. Their body size was smaller, they were more agile, had an excellent sense of smell and the ability to feel a snowstorm coming. Breeding of pure-bred St. Bernards started only at the end of the 19th century. Currently, the Swiss-bred St. Bernard has become even bigger and more massive than at the beginning of the century. Only the handsome muzzle has become shorter. The ancestors of the St. Bernard in the 18th and 19th centuries had a darker coat, but now the white colour dominates the coat of this Swiss mountain rescuer.

From a big cat to the biggest – the Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is the largest breed of cat in the world. However, as late as 1990’s the head shape of these cats substantially differed from the head of a modern Maine Coon. They had wide cheek bones, marked lips and a strong chin, but the muzzle itself was much shorter. Ears were medium-sized and placed lower on the head, and the body size has also changed over time. The typical Maine Coon used to weigh in between 6 and 8 kg, but now it weighs between 7 and 14 kg.

Ancestors of the Siamese cat – the Thai cat
In 1965, Thai cats arrived to the Soviet Union, which only slightly resembled today’s Siamese cats. The only common feature was the colour pattern of the coat and the blue eyes. These ancestors had a strong, muscular body, a wedge-shaped head and a medium-long tail. The modern Siamese cat is one of the most elegant of all cats and features a delicate body with long, slender legs. These cats can be recognised by their triangle-shaped head, long, straight nose, large eyes positioned low on the head, and almond-shaped eyes. Besides, the Thai cat also exists today, but these are very different from their descendants, the Siamese.

Cats and dogs of today’s noblest breeds from across Europe will gather on 10–11 June in Ķīpsala International Exhibition Centre, where the international dog and cat show “Latvian Winner 2017” is taking place.

More information on the fair: www.bt1.lv/latwinner/
Follow the news of the fair: www.facebook.com/petekspo.lv/

“Latvian Winner” is organised by the international exhibition company BT 1 in cooperation with the Latvian Cynological Federation and Latvian Felinology Association “Felimurs”.

Sponsor of the dog show – “EUKANUBA”, sponsor of the cat show – “JOSERA”.