There are several hundred dog breeds, and only less than a hundred different cat breeds. But it’s not only about the count. What we see in dogs is the high diversity between different breeds. We have large, giant and small dogs. We have long legged dogs, we have flat faced dogs and heck, we even have dogs who do not even look like ones in the first place.
In cats, largest differences appear to be some having folded ears and some having no tail. But they all look like cats. It may lead to a question – why? How come we have so many dog breeds, and so few cat breeds? Is it fair?
There are two main reasons.
1. Dogs were domesticated significantly earlier than cats were. Depending on the source, it may be up to 10 thousand years earlier. But that’s not all. The second, and likely the more important reason for such diversity in dog breeds is that they were domesticated different than cats were.
2. Since the early domestication, dogs were already trained and bred selectively for different purposes. That is, if two dogs were better for guarding, herding or hunting, they bred those two together, so their offsprings would be even more appropriate for this task. Thus, they already created different breeds since the beginning.
Cats, on the other hand, had only one purpose humans needed them. To protect granaries from rodents, which, by the way, cats they were already perfect at, so, there was not at all necessity to breed them. They roamed and bred how ever they wanted themselves.
And, while first mentions in selective breeding of cats date back to ancient civilizations, main job started only in the latest centuries, thus making an extremely short time for development of any large varieties in cat breeds. Will we have them in the future? Highly likely, but definitely, not in a close one.