Your guide to pawpular breeds and their origins


Pallavi Bhattacharya
Some pet parents love to bask in the love of a particular breed…why? It is their unique characteristics that make them adorable and perfectly suited to their lifestyle. Here we bring a few unique characteristics and origin of some popular foreign breeds.
Dean Koontz, author, whispers, rightly said, “Once you have had  a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” Out poochie pals give a new dimension to our lives… making it complete and worthwhile. Here’s how a few of our foreign breeds originated and why they are the chosen ones.
Lovable Labrador Retrievers
They are America’s favourite dogs…and United Kingdom’s too. Favourite disability assistance breeds in many countries, Labradors are frequently trained to aid the blind and autistic people. What’s more? They are also trained as therapy dogs.
Origin: The St.John’s Dog, a dog originating from Newfoundland in Canada, is the ancestor of the Lab. The fifth Duke of Buccleuch and second Earl of Malmesburys imported St.John’s canines in the preliminary 1800s and bred them, which ushered in the popularisation of the Labrador as a breed.
Loyal German Shepherds
Among the best police and military dogs, German Shepherds are strong, athletic, intelligent, loyal and protective dogs. No wonder they are one of the most popular breeds to own.
Origin: The breed, which came into being towards the culmination of the nineteenth century, was initially quite different looking from the contemporary German Shepherds. These dogs had a short tail, coarse coats and appearance similarities with Mongrels. Max Von Stephanitz, a former cavalry officer created this breed by cross-breeding sheep dogs from pastoral Germany. The foremost breed show was in 1899, after which the breed gained popularity in Germany. In 1906, the dogs were exported overseas to the USA.
Fabulous family pet -Golden Retriever
Friendly, tolerant, intelligent – a Golden Retriever is a perfect family pet. They also do great as retriever dogs for hunters, sniffing out drugs and as therapy and assistance dogs.Origin: The origin of the breed may be traced to 1858. Scotsman Sir Dudley Majoribanks, while on a trip to the English coastal town Brighton, chanced upon a circus where he was awed to see Russian sheepdogs performing. He bought all the dogs, bred them in his personal estate, thereby creating the Golden Retriever breed.
The regal breed – Poodle
An impressive breed, Poodles are the best show dogs. What’s more? They are very affectionate and clever family dogs.
Origin: A prevailing misconception is that the Poodle is from France. In reality, the breed originated in Germany. There are two broad based theories regarding how the poodle came into being. Some say that Asian herding dogs were the predecessors of the Poodle. These herding dogs were captured by the North African Berbers. This tribe travelled to Spain and Portugal with these dogs. According to another theory, they are the descendants of the canines who along with the Goths made an exit from the Asian steppes.
Handsome Cocker Spaniels
A handsome breed, Cocker Spaniel is more than just his look. They are very friendly and affectionate and are happy to please their pet parents and snuggle upto them.
Origin: Spaniels are thought to be of Celtic, Arabic or Roman origin. Spaniels bifurcated into the land and water Spaniels. Land Spaniels in turn gave rise to the Setting Spaniels and Springing Spaniels. Springing Spaniels are the forebears of the larger English Springer Spaniel and the smaller English Cocker Spaniel.
Affectionate Boxers
Loyal and affectionate, Boxers are known for their ability to get along with children very well.
Origin: The German Bullenbeisser, a descendant of the Mastiffs, was the Boxer’s forefather. The Bullenbeisser would hunt wild boar, deer and bear for centuries. They wouldn’t let go off the prey till the hunters came to the venue. Georg Alt from Munich bred a female Bullenbeisser with brindle hues called Flora, with a native dog whose origin is not known. Among the litter of pups was a brown and white male dog which was given the name Lechner’s Box, from whom Boxers originated.
Big dog in small package – Pug
Sturdy and compact, Pugs have a great sense of humour and they like to show off. They love human companionship and are excellent lap dogs.
Origin: The Pug is regarded as one of the foremost breeds of dogs. They have prevailed on earth before 400 BC. Some scientists feel that the pug originated on Asian soil. Ancient writings link flat nosed dogs to the Chinese; which may be a reference to the pugs or the Pekingese. Some zoologists say that the Pug is of Pekingese lineage, others are of the opinion that they emanated from a small Mastiff or a Bulldog. The Chinese Shang Dynasty patronised this dog. This canine was then introduced to Tibet, Japan and finally to Europe in the sixteenth century.
Elegant Afghan Hounds
Beautiful silky coat, exotic looks, model like built – an Afghan Hound is a pleasure to the eyes.Origin: The mountains of Afghanistan is the native home of the Afghan Hound. This Hound and the Pharaoh Hound are believed to have shared a common ancestor. The Afghan Hound was raised to hunt foxes, hares, wolves and gazelle. This breed originated 5000 years ago.
Agile Chihuahuas
Extremely small but outsized personality…a Chihuahua is agile sports dog. Origin: A small dog called the Techichi thrived in north and central Mexico, which coincides with the modern state of Chihuahua. The Techichi was domesticated by the Mayans from 1800 BC to 900 AD or the Toltecs from 900 AD to 1200 AD. The Techichi had stronger bones and was stronger than the contemporary Chihuahua. He was bred into smaller sizes since the 1900s. Some zoologists however theorise that the Chihuahua and Techichi are not different species but the same dog bearing varying names. Other theorists say that the Techichi and Chihuahua are different dog species. The Techichi, according to these scientists, was bred with a tinier hairless or a short haired breed of Mexican dog, to give rise to a Chihuahua.
Powerpuff Dobermans
Powerful and energetic…a Doberman is a people-oriented dog, if socialised at an early age.Origin: There is much speculation as to which dog breeds the protective and intelligent Doberman originated from. It may have been the Rottweiler, Greyhound or Great Dane. As per history, a man named Herr Dobermann invested many meaningful years in endeavouring to bring forth the best guard dog. He was after all a tax collector in 1890. Needless to say, people didn’t want to pay tax. Around that time, he bred dogs which gave way to the Doberman, which got its name from his surname.
Game-keepers night dog: Bullmastiffs
Solid built, short muzzle…a Bullmastiff is a strong, powerful but sensitive dog. They are born guard dogs.Origin: The progenitor of the Bullmastiff is a Mastiff, one of the foremost breeds of Britain. Some theorise that around 1791, the Mastiff and Bulldog were cross bred to give rise to the Bullmastiff. Others say that the Bullmastiff came into being later towards the end of the 1800s, when gamekeepers felt that they needed a formidable canine to safeguard themselves from poachers. The Mastiff wasn’t fast enough and the Bulldog was as not large for the purpose. These two dogs were therefore bred together to create the Bullmastiff, which served their purpose as a requirement dog.
Excellent obedient Rottweilers
Rottweilers are generally used as search and rescue dogs, as guide dogs for the blind, as guard dogs and police dogs. They are obedient and eager to work.
Origin: The Rottweiler is a blend of the Swiss Mountain Dog, Roman Drover Dog and German Pinscher. When the ancient Romans were on a Europe conquering spree, their herds travelled along with them; providing as a source of food. While the Romans were crossing the Alps, these dogs were bred with the Swiss Mountain Dog. The Romans settled in Rottweil in Germany, from where the Rottweiler got its name. They stayed on there for two centuries during which the dog was bred with the German Pinscher.
Being nosey – Beagle
Beagles love to follow smells…their nose guide them through life.
Origin: The dog’s ancestors were native to ancient Greece in the fifth century AD. In the eighth century existed a scent hound referred to as the St.Hubert Hound. The Tablot, of white coat, evolved from this. In the eleventh century, William the Conqueror, introduced the Tablot Hound in England. This dog wasn’t a good runner, which is why it was bred with the Greyhound to make it into a better sprinter. As a result, the Southern Hound, the forefather of the Beagle, was created.
Gentle giants – Great Danes
Large and noble, they are one of the best-natured dogs. Don’t go by their size – behind this huge size is a sweet, affectionate pet.
Origin: The breed is of the Molosser family which comprised large framed dogs with strong bones, pendant ears, a small muzzle and muscular neck. The Bullenbeisser (Bull Biter), the lineage of which may be traced to the Saupacker (Boar Hunter) was the ancestor of the Great Dane. The Great Dane, however unlike its ancestors, is docile. This breed’s roots lie in Germany.