How Popular Dog Breeds Got Their Name

1. Basset Hound
French translation for Low Slung Dog

The name Basset Hound was given to this breed of dog in the early 1600s, back when they were popularly bred to hunt small animals such as rabbits. This name was chosen due to the low-slung nature of their appearance, with ‘Bas’ translating to’low’ in French.

2. Rottweiler
Originated from the German town of Rottweil

The name Rottweiler was taken from the German town of Rottweil, where these dogs first became popular for their usefulness as guard dogs. As these dogs were largely used by butchers to protect their money whilst travelling, they soon became known as ‘Rottweil Butcher Dogs,’ and over time this was simplified to ‘Rottweiler.’

3. Cairn Terrier
Named after their ability to hunt in the Cairns

These dogs were originally bred up in the Scottish Highlands to hunt small pests such as rats or mice. The name Cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic carn, which refers to a human-made pile of stones, and is a common feature in the highlands. These Terrier dogs became well known for their ability to hunt small pests within the Cairns and were soon given the name Cairn Terrier.

4. Chow Chow (Songshi Quan)
Chinese translation for Puffy Lion Dog

The Chinese originally named this breed ‘Songshi Quan’ which translates in English to ‘Puffy Lion Dog’. As the original Chinese name was deemed too difficult to pronounce when the breed was brought to England, it was given the nickname ‘Chow Chow’ which was a nonsensical term given to all knick-knacks and goods being brought over from China at the time.

5. Shnauzer
Named after the German word ‘shnauze’

One distinctive feature of this breed of dog is their long snout, so it’s no surprise that the name they were given is actually a variation of the German word ‘Shnauze’ which translates to mean ‘snout’ in English.

6. Whippet
Named after the verb ‘Whip’

As a descendant of the English greyhound, the whippet is renowned for being a particularly speedy breed of dog. They were therefore aptly named after the verb ‘whip’ to hint towards their great speed.

7. Shih Tzu
Chinese translation for Little Lion

Although there is absolutely nothing intimidating about these dogs, their name actually translates in Chinese to ‘Little Lion’. This name stemmed from the ancient Chinese depictions of the dog breed in paintings and sculptures, Which made them out to look like small lions.

8. Labrador Retriever
Originated from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada

These dogs were originally bred in the region of Canada now known as the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. They were first trained to help fishermen bring their nets back into shore, and were eventually brought over to England in the early 19th century to aid the Earl of Malmesbury in retrieving ducks he had hunted. He referred to them as ‘Labrador’ dogs, referencing their original home region, and the name stuck.

9. Poodle (Pudlehund)
German translation for Water Dog

Back when Poodles were being bred as gun dongs, they were trained to swim out in order to retrieve waterfowl. Because of this, the German’s began to refer to them as ‘Pudlehund’ which translates ‘Water Dogs’ in English. Eventually the English name of this breed evolved from ‘Pudlehund’ to ‘Poodle’.

10. Dachshund
German translation for Badger Dog

The Dachshund was originally bred in order to produce an elongated hunting dog which could dig its way into badger holes. Their German given breed name is simply a reflection of their original purpose, with ‘Dachshund’ translating to ‘Badger Dog’ in English.

11. Corgi
Welsh translation for Dwarf Dog

The Corgi originated in Wales, where they were bred to be used as herding dogs known as ‘heelers’, which refers to the herding technique of nipping at the heels of the larger animals they were attempting to move. Their breed name was given to them due to their small size, with ‘Corgi’ translating to ‘Dwarf Dog’ in English.

12. Spaniel (Espaignol)
Old French translation for Spanish Dog

Although these dogs originated in Spain, the breed name actually derived from the Old French word ‘Espaingnol’, which translates to ‘Spanish Dog’ When the breed reached England, the name eventually evolved to become ‘Spaniel’.

13. Beagle (Beeguele)
Old French translation for Wide Open Throat)

The breed name for the Beagle is said to have come from the old French word ‘Beeguele’, which translates to mean ‘Wide Open Throat’, It’s believed that the name was given to this particular type of dog due to their training to howl bay during a hunt.

14. Doberman Pinscher
Named after Friedrich Louis Dobermann

This dog breed was named after its maker, Ludwig Dobermann. Dobermann was a German tax collector, and created the Doberman Pinscher to provide him with protections during his collections, as well as companionship and loyalty.

15. Dalmatian
Originated from the region of Dalmatia in Croatia 

The Dalmatian was named after a region of Croatia where they were commonly spotted back in the 1800s. The region was called Dalmatia, which is why this breed eventually became commonly known as the ‘Dalmatian’.

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