A dog’s breed standard is the set of criteria used to define the archetype of each breed. My personal favourite belongs to the Beagle, which includes as part of the official definition:
“The man with the lead in his hand and no dog
in sight owns a Beagle”
Strict adherence to these breed standards defines each of the many different pedigree classes seen in conformation dog shows, where each breed competes to be crowned as its most perfect representation.
Such remarkable diversification is unprecedented in the animal kingdom given the level of genetic diversity seen in the species, and has largely come about through concerted efforts by human breeders to adapt them to …