Throughout history, we have utilized the services of dogs, with breeds being most common to specific geographical areas and each breed having it own unique skill or trait that represents our former working use of them.
Now we are far more likely to identify our breed to the attributes that make them great companions.
Here are a few lesser known facts about some of the more common breeds we love so dearly as our companions and where they originated from:
Labrador Retriever: The Labrador Retriever is the most common breed of companion dog in North America and the United Kingdom. It originated as a fisherman’s helper in Newfoundland and was referred to as a St. John’s Water Dog before being bred into the pup we all know and love today.
Fun Fact: Labrador Retrievers are more likely to become obese than other breeds due to their genes. Studies have found that about 23% of Labs have a variation in their POMC gene which is the gene responsible for signalling hunger.
Standard Poodle: The standard Poodle has a history as far back as the 16th century in Russia and was primarily utilized to retrieve water fowl.
Fun Fact: The “poodle cut” grooming style was designed to keep specific areas of the body warm when the dog swam out to retrieve water fowl during hunting trips.
Border Collie: The Border Collie first appeared on scene in the 19th century somewhere between the British and Scottish boarder. The breed was bred specifically for herding sheep after the Romans introduced the idea.
Fun Fact: Border Collies effectively herd sheep and cattle by using “the stare” technique where they stop and simply stare into the eyes of the herd animal to get them to move.
West Highland White Terrier: The West Highland White Terrier or “Westie” originated in Scotland in the 20th century and their services were utilized originally as ratters, but would also join in the hunt for Fox and Rabbit.
Fun Fact: The Westie was bred white to keep it visible during the hunt and to have a strong, thick tail so they could be pulled out of burrows when they got stuck (That being said, please do not pull a Westie or any other animals tail).
Greyhound: Greyhounds are an ancient hunting breed dating back 4,000 to 7,000 years. They originated in Egypt and have been being exported since before the Bible.
Fun Fact: Although known for their speed, agility and swiftness, Greyhounds are quite lazy and would prefer to laze around all day.
Bernese Mountain Dog: The Bernese Mountain Dog originates in Switzerland and was originally used as a general farm dog. These dogs are considered to be a working breed and have been used as draft dogs pulling carts and making deliveries. In European countries, they are still used to pull carts and waggons on farmsteads.
Fun Fact: Bernese Mountain Dogs have a sense of humour and respond best to the sound of laughter.
Written by Dax Semple