Greyhounds bred with bulldogs

I was reading in Chapter I on “Domestic Dogs and Cats,” in Darwin’s Volume I of his “Variations book”, 1897, that greyhounds who had “failed in courage” had been successfully bred with a bulldog to improve their “perseverance.”  Apparently, after 6 or 7 generations, the bulldog external traits disappeared in the greyhounds, but the vestiges of the bulldog”perseverance” and “indomitable spirit” remained within the artificially selected greyhounds.  I did not know this until I read the paragraph beginning with “As changes in domestic breeds,” in in Volume I of his “Variations book”, 1897.


  1. Genetically I find this very interesting, just hope that, within breeding, proper protocols are being effectively carried out to cause as few genetic deforminites/illnesses along the way!


  2. I think it is very interesting that the exterior traits of the bulldog faded out after 6 or 7 generations but that the greyhound kept the personality traits of the bulldog.


  3. So did this mean that the greyhounds physical traits were more dominant than the bulldogs, and the bulldogs’ personality traits were more dominant than the greyhounds? Perhaps, it is a nurture vs. nature situation instead.


  4. That is really interesting! It is neat that he thought of breeding the greyhound with a dog that had a different nature, who had the courage he needed for hunting.


  5. This is surprising due to the major differences in the breeds. Grey hounds are seen as racing dogs, but pit bulls are seen as “dangerous”. It is clear that the bull dog physical characteristics are no longer seen in today’s grey hounds.


  6. This seems very interesting because, really… I have always wondered how new breeds of dogs appear. I have also kind of wondered if scientists breed different animals together. Like sometimes I think some people would actually breed two species together to make money. Crazy thinking, right? At first I was all like, “failed in courage?”


    1. “Failed in courage” is a nice way to say “wimp.” Also remember that this was 125 years ago…the lingo is different.

      The bulldogs were bred into the greyhound line to lend a more “assertive” personality to the greyhounds.


  7. I find it interesting that the bulldogs physical features faded while its perseverance stayed. It could’ve taken a different turn and looked physically like a bulldog in time and lacked courage like a grey hound instead. It makes me think about evolution more simply when dogs are used as an example.


  8. That is pretty wild. Very cool that he was thinking and doing experiements on this topic back then. And, he wrote about.


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