Nearly every nation in the world has dog breeds associated with it. Although some have similar traits and temperaments, and several were bred for related work, each dog breed is unique, and they often reflect on their home countries.
There are several Chinese dog breeds that only nobility owned. These included the Pekingese, the Shih Tzu, and the Japanese Chin. These small, lap dogs were popular pets among Chinese royalty, with their primary purpose simply to be household pets. Additionally, the pug served as a pet in Tibetan monasteries.
Other pets of royalty include the Bichon Frise, brought from the Canary Islands to mainland Europe. These little white dogs became a favorite of French nobility, as was the Papillion, with its butterfly-like ears. The tiny Maltese was prized by women not only for its small size, but also for the breed’s gentle nature, and so became a favored dog of royalty, including Queen Elizabeth I.
English royalty is also associated with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Although owned by many royals, including Mary, Queen of Scots, this breed reached its height of popularity during the reign of Charles II, from whom the breed received its name. Today’s British royal breed is the Welsh Corgi – Queen Elizabeth II owns at least two as well as two Dorgis (Dachshund-Corgi mixes), although she has owned more in years past.
Many national dog breeds stem from a working heritage. German dog breeds, for example, are known for their working ability, such as protection, military herding and hunting. The German Shepherd Dog, one of the most well-known and popular German dog breeds, serves as a military dog, a police dog, and a search and rescue dog. The Doberman Pincher also serves as a guard dog while the Weimaraner is noted for its hunting ability.
Many other national dog breeds come from a lineage of working dogs. These include herding dogs such as the Scottish bearded and border collies, Belgium’s Bouvier des Flandres, and France’s Briard, among many other national dog breeds. Those used for guarding livestock, as well as protecting property, include the Great Pyrenees of Europe, the Kuvasz of Tibet and Hungary, and the Akbash and Kangal of Turkey.
Varied dog breeds from different nations have served as working dogs and continue to do so. From Russian sled dogs like the Siberian Husky to herding dogs down under in Australia, these canines work for people in a myriad of ways.
Size and Temperament
National dog breeds come in a variety of sizes. From toy to titanic, each breed fits in a certain type of home due to its stature and its personality.
Tiny terriers, such as the Carin from Scotland and the Norwich of England, can do well in apartments if they have the proper exercise. Terriers were used as ratters on farms, therefore, they need activity. Although their size fits in well with apartment living, their need for exercise requires owners to take them on long walks and provide play time parks. Otherwise, these energetic little dogs can become bored and get into a lot of mischief!
Large dogs, such as the Newfoundland and Labrador of Canada and the Spinone Italiano and the Napoleon Mastiff of Italy, need big homes and lots of activity to keep them happy and healthy. They also need obedience training and socialization they do not intimidate and dominate other dogs as well as people!
As each dog and each dog breed is unique, potential owners should learn beforehand about the national dog breed’s character traits and requirements. If it’s a small, inactive home, for example, the little English-originating Yorkshire Terrier is a better fit for you rather than the huge Irish Wolfhound.
Where do the different breeds come from?
Many nations around the world serve as the country of origin for a variety of dog breeds. Russia boasts two of the world’s sled dogs: the Siberian Husky and the Samoyed. The Russian Wolfhound (also known as the Borzoi), one of the world’s largest dog breeds, hails from Russia, as does another large breed, the Black Russian Terrier.
Many of today’s popular herding dog breeds originate in Australia, including the Kelpie and the Australian Cattle Dog. However, another popular herding and agility-oriented canine, the Australian Shepherd Dog, is actually an American dog breed, not an Australian breed.
Other dog breeds that originated in the United States include the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Boston Terrier, the American Water Spaniel, the Boykin Spaniel and the Plott Hound.
Many dog breeds are thought to have originated thousands of years ago. The Afghan Hound hails from Afghanistan and is thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds known to still exist, despite nearly becoming extinct during World War I.
The Komondor of Hungary is believed to have evolved nearly 1,000 years ago. It’s independent spirit makes for a wonderful livestock herding dog as well as a protector of its human family.
The Chow Chow is an ancient Chinese dog breed, believed to have been around for nearly 2,000 years. Noted for its strength, this breed was used for a variety of purposes, including pulling and protecting, herding and hunting.
Another ancient national dog breed of China is the Shar Pei. Dating back to 200 BC, this unique canine features wrinkles in its skin and was used for dog fighting.
Several small Chinese dog breeds are noted for their ancient roots as well. Shih Tzus, for example, were cherished by Chinese royalty for nearly 1,000 years, and images of Pekingese dogs date back to the 8th century.
Dogs are found throughout the world, and various breeds are celebrated in different countries. National dog breeds vary not only in size and temperament, but also in their origins of service. They are a testament to human diversity and a long relationship with dogs.