A collection of dog breeds first made for the Natural History Museum, London in the early decades of the twentieth century and moved to Tring Museum in Hertfordshire in 1968. Some of the dog date back a hundred years. The 'stars' of the collection are three famous greyhounds displayed on the top shelves in the image above: Fullerton, Mick the Miller, and Ballyregan Bob.
The collection was established by English zoologist R. Lydekker. He obtained dogs from many of the top breeders of his day and together the collection represents a unique display of taxidermied domesticated species and the ways animals are intimately bound with human social history. It must always be remembered that dogs are not naturally occurring - they have been selectively bred to achieve desired qualities in shape, size, ability, and aptitude. Despite the stunning variety of dogs, from tea-cup poodles to bull mastiffs, from a whippet’s speed to a bloodhound’s nose, all dogs belong to the one species, Canis familiaris, they can all interbred, and are believed to be all descended from a single species: the Asian grey wolf. In short, what is on display at Tring is our human ability to mould and engineer parts of nature so successfully that all traces of human interference become transparent – the ultimate achievement of any creator.
If you're interested in knowing more about this strange and unique collection, a fascinating history was published in 1988, Dogs of the Last Hundred Yeras at the British Museum (Natural History),researched and written by Kim Dennis-Bryan and Juliet Clutton-Brock. The book includes images of nearly every dog, a brief history of the breed, and often the pedigree record of the animal on display. Click BOOKS TO BUY to purchase a copy. All images from the Natural History Museum, London's picture library: http://piclib.nhm.ac.uk/piclib/www/