What is the difference between a Landrace versus a dog breed?

Recent DNA research has indicated that the transition from wild Canis lupus (wolf) to its domestic form: the dog (Canis familiaris) took place in the South Eastern China more than 15,000 years ago. From this cradle the domestic dog - in its generic form - travelled with nomadic prehistoric people to finally occupy the entire populated world. In this process, and depending on the local geographical and ecological conditions, humans and their dogs adapted to the demands of the environment. For thousands of years the generic dog evolved into a number of heterogeneous geographical landraces. Such a 'Landrace’s' is a domestic dog that emerged as an ecotype within a specific niche.

To understand the LANDRACE/Aboriginal dog, phenomenon the western (Eurocentric) fancier should for a moment reflect on the effect of the establishment of The Kennel Club (London) in 1873. This was the first ever organization to officially register dogs and to issue breed standards. Within two or three decades this example was followed worldwide and national kennel organizations were established in a multitude of countries.

The idea behind this movement was to ‘improve’ the existing regional dog and changing them to create new ones based on the principles of selectively breeding for exterior looks out of a small foundation stock. The majority of the about 350 recognized breeds of dogs were created artificially after 1873. Those which existed before and prevailed as regional races were selectively ‘inbred’ in an effort to obtain homogeneity for certain breed related characteristics. To compare the results conformation shows were put in place. It is essential to contemplate for a moment that the pure bred dog world industry is only about 150 years old and that Canis familiaris or the domestic dog has been associated with human kind for many thousands of years.

What is a landrace?

An indigenous population of domestic dogs that emerged as an ecotype within a specific ecological niche.

They are largely the result of environmental adaptation, mostly under conditions of natural selection, but nevertheless influenced by human preferences, to fit the requirement of a specific human society in a particular ecosystem. Traditional people in most cases select after birth.

Landrace are heterogeneous but with enough characteristics in common to permit their recognition as a group.

The name aboriginal, native or indigenous dog has the same meaning as a Landrace.

The difference is that the name aboriginal, native or indigenous is used for people and landrace only for animals.

The Landraces are often mistaken by people of being mongrels. The word “Pariah” is often used in particularly for the dogs indigenous to Africa and India.

What is a breed?

The Oxford dictionary definition of the word “breed" is:

A stock of animals or plants within a species, having a similar appearance, and developed by deliberate selection.

More specific description of a dog breed is:

A dog breed is certain type of the Canis familiaris, which has been obtained by human manipulation through strictly selective breeding for particular morphological feature and which has had such physical characteristics laid down in a prescriptive breed standard since the institution of modern dogdom in 1873.

Dog breeds are the creations of the world’s Kennel Club establishments, breed specialist clubs and dog fanciers, not of nature. They do not represent the genetic diversity of the landrace population they were adopted from. Breeds are sexually isolated descendants of a very small and a select sample of individuals adopted from regional landrace populations.

The breed standards are always a description of how each different dog breed should look (phenotype) and not about their functionality or genetic diversity. (genotype).