Know Your Pet

Weimaraner

Weimaraner

Weimaraner History In the 1800s, German hunters made a concerted effort to produce an all-around gundog that could hunt game of all sizes, even deer and bear. Some of the breeds used in the mix were the Bloodhound, Red Schweisshund, and several early pointing breeds. The origin of the breed’s distinctive gray color is unknown,…

Vizsla

Vizsla

Vizsla History When the Magyars swarmed across Europe in the Middle Ages, over a thousand years ago, they assimilated various dogs from around the continent. These dogs settled with them in Hungary and no doubt were the ancestors of the Vizsla. Hunters in the Hungarian plains wanted a dog that was fast but didn’t range…

Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle History Although the standard poodle is the original version of the poodle, it wasn’t long before smaller versions appeared as well. The first good evidence of toy poodles in Europe dates from about 1700, although it almost certainly predates that time. The toy poodle was originally used as a lap dog, circus performer,…

Standard Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzer History The standard schnauzer originated in Germany in the Middle Ages. Even by the 1300s it was appreciated as a vermin hunter and all-around farm dog and guardian. It was probably derived from crosses of wire-haired pinschers, German poodles and some sort of spitz breed. It is not related to the British terriers….

Standard Poodle

Standard Poodle

Standard Poodle History The standard poodle is the original version of the poodle. It probably descended from the Barbet, a curly-coated dog found in France, Russia, Hungary, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The German version of the Barbet became the dog we now know as the Poodle. The original poodle was a water dog known…

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky History Recent DNA studies indicate that the Siberian husky is among the 14 most ancient breeds recognized by the AKC. The nomadic Chukchi people of northeast Asia developed them, probably from spitz stock, as sledge dogs. During the Alaskan gold rush, sled dog racing became a favorite sport. In 1909, a team of…

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu History The first small Tibetan lion dogs probably came from Tibet to China during the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644-1662). In the late 1800s, these dogs were interbred with Pekingese, pugs, and other Chinese dogs to create the Shih Tzu as we know it. This occurred in the kennels of the Dowager Empress T’zu Hsi….

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog History The Shetland sheepdog originated on the Shetland Islands of Scotland in the 1800s. They almost certainly were derived from early collie-type dogs that also provided root stock for collies and border collies. The terrain and sparse vegetation of the islands favored smaller livestock, which in turn only needed smaller herding dogs. The…

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier History Scottish terriers were used by highland farmers to catch vermin. The history of the Scottish terrier is confused by the use of the term Scotch terrier to refer to any terrier from Scotland. Even with the advent of dog shows, the different terriers were shown together as Scotch terriers. In 1881 the…

Samoyed

Samoyed

Samoyed History The nomadic Samoyed people of Siberia relied on their herds of reindeer for food, and their dogs to keep the reindeer under control and to guard them against predators. The dogs also occasionally hunted large game and pulled sledges. They lived in the tents and slept with the children to help keep the…

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard History The Saint Bernard is the original search and rescue dog. In the mid 1600s the monks of the St. Bernard Hospice, which was a refuge for travelers journeying between Italy and Switzerland, brought in large dogs to pull carts and turn spits. Inevitably the dogs also became valued as companions and watchdogs….

Rottweiler

Rottweiler

Rottweiler History In ancient times, Roman drover dogs guarded and drove the cattle that accompanied Roman troops on long marches. Some of these dogs were left behind in southern Germany, where they remained valued as cattle drovers. The town of Rottweil became a center of cattle commerce, and the drover dogs played a vital role…

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback History South African Hottentot tribes hunted with dogs that often had a ridge of hair running the opposite direction along their back. In the 1500s and 1600s, Boer settlers arriving in South Africa brought with them mastiffs, Great Danes, greyhounds and other breeds that then interbred with native Hottentot dogs. In 1875, Dr….

Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier History The rat terrier’s ancestors may have included Manchester terriers, smooth fox terriers, and perhaps whippets. Later breeds that may have played a role included the beagle, Italian greyhound, miniature pinscher and Chihuahua. Mixes of these breeds came from dogs brought to America by working class immigrants from Britain in the late 1800s….

Pug

Pug

Pug History Pugs originated in China in ancient times. They were developed as lap dogs rather than as any sort of working dog. The facial wrinkles were an essential breed feature. The vertical forehead wrinkles were thought to resemble the Chinese mark for “Prince.” Dutch traders brought pugs back from China with them, and Holland…

Pomeranian

Pomeranian

Pomeranian History Pomeranians descend from the ancient Spitz family of dogs. Like their Spitz ancestors, they have many features to combat cold weather, including a thick coat, small ears, and a bushy tail to warm the nose when curled up sleeping. Not much is known about how the Pomeranian evolved from the Spitz, except that…

Pekingese

Pekingese

Pekingese History Recent DNA studies indicate that the Pekingese is among the 14 most ancient breeds recognized by the AKC. It has been known in China since ancient times. Its earliest version was the ha pa dog, and then later the foo dog that was bred to resemble the lion. Palace eunuchs headed extensive breeding…

Papillon

Papillon

Papillon History The papillon’s ancestors were spaniels that were developed at least by the 1300s to flush birds into nets or to waiting falcons. Some smaller spaniels were probably bred with Oriental toy dogs such as the Japanese chin to create a lapdog version of the spaniel. These dwarf spaniels were used to serve as…

Newfoundland

Newfoundland

Newfoundland History The Newfoundland was developed on the coast of Newfoundland in the1700s. The breed’s origins are unknown, but they seem to trace back to the 1662 settlement of the Roougnoust colony. The settlers are said to have included Great Pyrenees dogs. These dogs were bred with black English retrievers and possibly some husky-type dogs….

Mixed Breed

Mixed Breed

Mixed Breed History Mixed breeds can be divided into cross-breeds, which are the product of two pure breeds; mutts, which are the product of many breeds over generations; or indigenous dogs, which are not properly mixed breeds, but are dogs that have no purebred ancestors. Indigenous dogs include native strains that have never been subject…

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer History The miniature schnauzer was developed from crossing standard schnauzers with affenpinschers, miniature pinschers, poodles and possibly fox terriers and Scottish terriers. Some accounts even include the Pomeranian. They were developed in Germany in the late 1800s. The breed was developed as a small farm dog and ratter. The schnauzer is the only…

Miniature Poodle

Miniature Poodle

Miniature Poodle History The earliest version of the poodle may have been the barbet, a curly-coated dog found in France, Russia, Hungary, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The barbet may have descended from Asian herding dogs and water dogs. The German version of the barbet became the dog we now know as the poodle. The…

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher History The miniature pinscher is a miniature version of the German pinscher (not the Doberman pinscher, which was developed after the min pin). It probably arose from crossing German pinschers with Dachshunds and Italian greyhounds. In the early 1800s they were developed as a distinct breed called the “reh pinscher,” so named because…

Mastiff

Mastiff

Mastiff History The mastiff breed is the namesake of the larger mastiff family of dogs. The mastiff family is an ancient group of dogs that was used in hunting, battle and in gladiator sports. By medieval times mastiff-type dogs were almost commonplace. They continued to be used for large game hunting, bear and bull baiting,…