Excellent Eight!

Every breed of dog is different…there are some physical or behavioural characteristics that set them apart from other breeds. Here are EIGHT such breeds we have loved and admired!


1. Black-tongued Chow Chows…only literally!


  • Original root: Originated from China, Chow Chow is locally known as Songshi Quan which literally means Puffy Lion Dog.
  • Ancient breed: A very old dog breed, Chow Chows can be seen on old Chinese pottery, dating back to 206 BC.
  • Black-mouthed: What sets them apart is that they have a blue-black tongue and black lips.
  • Blue is the colour to be: A blue-coated Chow Chow also has a blue or grey nose.
  • Stilted walk: Their straight hind legs are almost straight, which make their walk as if they are walking on stilts.
  • Lion or dog: Their broad muzzle around their head gives them a lion like appearance.
  • Who’s the boss: This dog surely needs to know who’s the boss…only a dominant alpha pet parent can keep them in control.
  • Love you always: They are mostly one-person dog, extremely loyal to their pet parent.
  • Foot fetish: They love to curl around their pet parent’s feet and kiss them…so snuggle with them on a cold winter day and bask in their warmth and love.
  • Famous Beagles: US President Calvin Coolidge was a proud pet parent to a Chow and Sigmund Freud felt that his Chow named Jo-Fi helped him in therapy sessions. And other celebs in the ring of Chow lovers include Drew Barrymore, Salena Gomez, Mathew McConaughey and Portuguese soccer ace Nani (Manchester United).


2. Swimming champ Newfoundland!


  • What’s in the name: As the name suggests, these dogs are from Newfoundland in Canada bred for hunting fish, herding and guarding.
  • I am a ‘Complan Boy’! They grow up to 150 pounds and what’s amazing is that most of their growth takes place in the first year of their life.
  • Water-resistant coat: Their double coat is flat and repellent to water. The outer coat is oily and coarse while the undercoat is oily and soft.
  • Webbed feet: They have webbed feet which helps them in swimming.
  • Baywatch babes: They love to swim in water and can act as water rescue dogs; S.I.C.S. – Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs engages in heli-rescue session is founded by Ferruccio Pilenga, a pet parent of a Newfoundland and volunteer in Italian Civil Protection. In 1828, a Newfoundland named Hairyman in Isle of Aux Morts saved more than 160 Irish immigrants from ship wreck. While escaping from Alba Island, Napoleon Bonaparte once drowned into the sea and the rescuer who afloat the French Emperor to the safe place was a Newfoundland.
  • Perfect body: Their extremely large bone structure and perfectly built musculature make them suitable to take on fierce streams or rough ocean current.
  • Quiet dog: If you do not like dogs who bark…here’s a breed for you…because they rarely bark.
  • Drool… a problem: They drool a lot when they are feeling hot or are excited. They even drool after drinking water and they drink vast amount of water. So, always give them a big bowl of fresh water, if you have a Newfoundland at home.
  • I don’t overeat: Don’t go by their size…they do not eat much…they eat just how much a Lab eats!
  • Am your shadow: They love to follow their pet parents…everywhere…whether you are working or relaxing!
  • Smart n’ brave: Newfoundlands protect their pet parents at all times…they are always ready to place themselves between their family and the threat or they will corner the person who poses a threat! But they will not attack. What’s more, they are intelligent enough to know which person or thing could be a threat to their family.
  • Popular character: They are popular as fictional characters, such as ‘Nana’ the beloved nanny to children in Peter Pan.


3. Wrinkled Shar-Pei!


  • What’s in a name: The word ‘Shar-Pei’ means sandy coat.
  • Ancestry trace: This breed is considered to be one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world.
  • Only wrinkles that look cute: What sets the Chinese Shar-Pei apart from other dogs is his extremely wrinkled skin.
  • l Perfect protector: For years, Shar-Peis were used as guard dogs to protect cattle, homes, etc.
  • Looks that kill: Their prickly coats can fend off wild animals like boars. Always active in fighting; if somebody grabs their loose wrinkle, they can easily twist to escape from the grip.
  • Lose wrinkles when grow old: Perhaps they are the only living beings in the world who lose wrinkles as they grow! Puppies have more wrinkles than adult Shar-Peis.
  • Skin problems…no: It is a myth that Shar-Peis have skin problems due to wrinkles. In fact, they have skin problems if it is a heredity issue.
  • Blue-black tongue: Another distinct characteristic is their blue-black tongue.
  • No undercoat: These dogs do not have a undercoat, just a coarse over coat.
  • Who’s the boss: If you do not establish all human family members as higher in the Shar-Pei pack, chances are that he will not accept the hierarchy and think himself to be the boss.
  • What Chinese believed: In olden times, Chinese thought that their wrinkles and black mouth would ward off evil spirits.
  • Record holder: Time magazine has named Shar Pei as one of the world’s rarest breeds.


4. Dalmatian: see spot run


  • What’s in a name: They are named after the Croatian province of Dalmatia, probably their place of origin. They were also known as Firehouse dogs, Carriage dogs or Spotted Coach dogs.
  • Watch dog: Since Dalmatians were used as war and guard dogs in the borders of Dalmatia, this breed is still high in his guarding instinct and hence considered good watch dogs.
  • No spots when born: These spotted animals are in fact born white, without any spots. The spots begin to show after two weeks.
  • Water animals: Dalmatians love to play in water and are good swimmers.
  • Hypoallergenic dog: If you love dogs but are allergic to them, Dalmatian is a breed for you.
  • Athletic dog: They are active and can be used as rescue or guard dog, athletic partner and they participate in activities like jogging, horse riding, fly-ball, agility. They need lots of exercise to keep them calm.
  • Fire fighting mascot: This breed is widely known for his role as an escort of fire fighting apparatus. In carriage drawn days, this breed being compatible with horses would run in front of the carriage helping to clear the way and guide the fire fighters to their destinations.
  • Excellent hunters: Dalmatians are excellent hunters of rats, rodents; used as bird dogs, trail dogs, stag hunting, etc.
  • The million-dollar smile: Sometimes, Dalmatians curl their lips as if they are smiling.
  • Run…run…run: For all the health freaks, here’s good news. A Dalmatian can run for hours, without being tired. So, wanna have a run with him?
  • Disease akin to humans: They are the only animal to develop swelling in joints (gout), a disease common in humans.
  • No protein please: Here’s a breed who cannot digest protein…it can actually lead to bladder stones.
  • Velcro dog: They love their pet parents and will virtually stick with them… companionship guaranteed all the time!
  • Popular Dalmatians: They gained fame, especially after British author Dodie Smith’s book 101 Dalmatians published in 1956. Besides, George Washington is also believed to have a Dalmatian. And the breed features attractively with actor Priyanka Chopra in Garnier’s Light moituriser ad.


5. Pug: big dog in small package!


  • What’s in a name: The word Pug means a person who likes to tease or play tricks while the Latin word ‘Pugnus’ means fist. Probably, since Pug’s faces look like closed fist, their name would have been derived from this word.
  • Much in little: Pug is referred as Multum in Parvo (Much in Little to describe the breed’s remarkable personality, irrespective of his smallness.
  • l Wider popularity: Though originated in China, Pugs became popular in western Europe across the Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland. They have been popular in Tibet because Buddhist monks adopt the breed lovingly. Then the Pug was later patronised by Queen Victoria.
  • Different names, one dog: Pugs are known as Carlins in France, after the name of a man who played the role of a man with a black mask. Fawn-coloured Pugs have black-markings on their face, covering their ears, which look like a blackmask! Pugs are also called Lion Dogs in China.
  • Religious dogs: Pugs were considered religious symbols in Tibet and China. In fact, Chinese were so possessive about Pugs, that they did not trade them until the 1800s.
  • Bred from Mastiffs? Did you know that Pugs have been bred from Mastiffs! These cute looking toy breed has been bred from the large breed Dogue de Bordeaux, cross-bred with a smaller dog. No doubt, this dog is a big dog in small package!
  • Largest toy breed: Toy breeds are diminutive size dogs and Pugs are the largest dogs in this category.
  • Well shaped wrinkles: The wrinkles on the Pug’s face are arranged like the Chinese symbol for the word ‘Prince,’ just suited for the dogs reared by royalty.
  • Bark: louder than his size: Though a Pug is not a good watchdog, but his loud bark can wake you up from your sleep, if not scare the intruder away.
  • Groom the short hair: If you think that the straight and short hair of Pugs does not need grooming, you are wrong. They shed a lot and hence need to be brushed regularly.
  • Not a hot dog: Pugs are very sensitive to heat as they do not have any cooling area on their bodies. Hence, it is very important to keep them cool on hot weather days.
  • Famous Pugs: Napoleon’s wife Josephine Bonaparte was blessed with a Pug, who went into the battle with her husband. He carried secret messages from Napoleon to his wife. Another popular Pug saved his master Prince William from assassination in 1572, when Holland was at war with Spain. William was sleeping and his Pug alerted him and woke him from the disaster.
  • Popular fames: Well-known pugs in movies like Frank in Men in Black and others in Pug-featuring flicks like Hotel of Dogs, The Adventure of Milo and Otis, Pocahontas, etc make the breed popular in Hollywood. Also remarkable is Cheeka in Vodafone’s India campaigns.


6. St Bernard: sweet giants!


  • What’s in a name: Their name comes from Bernard of Menthon–a monk in the 11th century, established a traveller lodge at a pass in Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The pass and lodge also got their names from the monk.
  • Daring rescuer: St Bernards have become popular through tales of their Alpine rescue jobs. But now participate popularly in dog sports like carting and weight pulling.
  • No brandy barrels around their neck: People often talk of St Bernard running around the Alps, rescuing injured skiers, with a small barrel of brandy around their neck. In reality, St Bernards have been rescuing people lost in snow and avalanches but minus the brandy around their neck.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover: Though St Bernard is a heavy, muscular breed…he is quite active and agile and his feats as a rescue dog confirm this further.
  • Sweet giant: This giant breed has a heart of gold. He is intelligent and sweet tempered. In fact, he’s great with kids and other pets.
  • Grown fast: Proper foods and abundant exercise are required as the breed grows very fast. Producers of the 1992 film Beethoven claimed that they used more than 100 St Bernard pups to portray four puppies in the sequel of the movie because the breed grew extraordinarily fast during filming.
  • Warm dog but cold environment: Though St Bernard is a warm and loving dog, he cannot do well in a warm climate. So, if you stay in a warm area, St Bernard is not a breed for you.
  • Famous St Bernard: Barry is the most famous St Bernard who rescued around 100 people from the snow. His body rests in the Natural History Museum in Switzerland.
  • Better socialisation: As St Bernards are large breeds they need well socialisation with people and other dogs to prevent from any territoriality and aggression.


7. Chihuahua: big ‘tiny’ dog


  • What’s in a name: They are named after a state in Mexico called Chihuahua. But still there have been quite a number of confusing stories about the origin of the breed.
  • Smallest among all: Chihuahua is the smallest among all dog breeds.
  • Sweet nicknames: In order to describe Chihuahua puppies, breeders use different terms like Pocket Size, Tiny Toy, Teacup, Miniature and so on.
  • Sacred breed: Chihuahuas were considered sacred by the Aztec and Toltec tribes of Mexico. In fact, in Mexico and the United States, their remains have been found buried with humans!
  • Brainy: Compared to their body size, these little dogs have largest brains.
  • Who owns whom: You never own a Chihuahua, he owns you…only if he chooses you. They like to choose their own human. But once chosen, they are extremely loyal.
  • Look at the ears: As puppies, Chihuahuas have floppy ears, which stand up as they grow older.
  • l Sun beauties: They love to sunbathe…so if you are heading to a beach to get some sun tan, don’t forget to take along your Chihuahua.
  • Large litter: These tiny dogs give birth to a litter upto 10 puppies.
  • Snore: Don’t go by their size, these little ones actually snore while sleeping.
  • Super watch dogs: For them, size does not matter; they will not hesitate to attack the intruders.
  • Warm up to a Chihuahua: In olden days, people used Chihuahuas as hot packs to relieve aches and pains.
  • Feeding care: Amount of foods should be carefully measured while feeding a Chihuahua because overfeeding causes diabetes, shortening of life span and other health hazards to this breed.


8. Sniffer Beagles!


  • Amazing sniffers: Beagles have as many as 220 million scent receptors, making them great tracking dogs. They are scent hounds who have gained their popularity in tracking games.
  • Breed group: They have similar feature with Foxhound and are members of Hound Group.
  • l Detective dog: Their extraordinary sense of smell and tracking instinct make them detective dogs involved in various activities.
  • Water-proof coat: Beagles are hunting dogs with water-proof coat. Their coat also does not attract burrs or plants…making them very easy to groom.
  • Trailing white tip: Beagles have a white tip on their tails. This helped hunters to trace them in tall grasses.
  • No smell, no drool: If you do not like the doggy odour, Beagle is a dog for you. Also, a Beagle does not drool.
  • Better female bonding: If you are a female, then Beagle is for you…Beagles love female company; they bond with them quicker than males.
  • Who cares: Perhaps the most difficult part of training for Beagles is to come when called!
  • Foodies: Beagles are big foodies and their amazing smelling capability, comes handy at finding food hidden away!
  • Famous Beagles: Queen Elizabeth loved Beagles, and she has even been painted with them! While, Beagles named Him and Her lived at the White House with their pet parent President Lyndon B Johnson. Also, equally popular are the Snoopy from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip and Odie, Garfield’s pal in Jim Davis’ comic strip. Even, Shakespeare mentions Beagle in his literary work Twelfth Night.