Everett Millais on Mongrelizing

One of the many myths about dogs is that a purebred female who is mated with a mixed breed male is “ruined” in that she will never be capable of producing purebred pups in future. Modern science tells us this is incorrect and that if said female is mated to a male of her own breed, the resulting pups will obtain half their DNA from her and the other half from the purebred male.

While I assume this “mongrelization” myth is substantially less common today than it was around the turn of the twentieth century, there was skepticism, even then. I was surprised to read this 1891 article in the trade paper The Fanciers’ Journal attempting to simultaneously debunk and scientifically explain how “mongrelization” happens. The science offered is wrong in regard to the main subject but I found it a fascinating read and offer it here for its historical value and a reminder that science is an evolving field.

Screenshot from the Internet Archive of the cover of The Fanciers’ Journal issue containing the article below

The author, Everett Millais, was a hound breeder in England and the son of the famous painter John Everett Millais. He is considered the “father of the modern Bassett hound”.

They don’t write letters like that anymore!


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