The language from this article isn't tepid; they really do repeatedly say "super-dogs." Selective breeding was a relatively new idea, but breeding dogs that were wildly intelligent--"as to rank in the Brain Trust of the canine world"--was positively cutting edge. The puppy in the center of the article looks like it could've been taken from a still of "The Little Rascals," but it's actually billed as one of the select few that's smart enough to breed. There's also some good history on how different breeds came to be, although the English bulldog gets derided as a manmade "monstrosity." Ouch.
From the article "Breeding Dogs for Brains."