How Well Do You Know The Origins Of Dog Breeds?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Who really IS that on the couch next to you? Because of years of selective breeding, no species on earth is as diverse as the domestic dog. Now, show off your dog-breed savvy with our quiz!

The largest of all dog breeds comes from which country?

The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed, built for speed and strength in the hunt for wolves. The rare "giant" dog in other breeds, like pit bulls, is often the result of irresponsible cross-breeding.

The Basenji, known as the "barkless" dog, originated on which continent?

The Basenji, from the Central African region, has a "yodel" instead of a bark. This might be so that it wouldn't distract game during a hunt.

Which of the following is NOT a Canadian breed?

Not surprisingly, all the Canadian breeds listed above are bred to swim well in cold water. The Neapolitan Mastiff, by comparison, was bred in Italy to guard homes.

Which of these breeds is commonly divided into an English and an American variety?

Labs are generally divided into the English and American varieties. The English type has a boxy head and calmer disposition, while the American ones have a smoother head shape and, usually, more energy.

The Chihuahua was named after ______.

Chihuahua is a state in Mexico. Early Chihuahua dogs may have been companions for the Toltec people.

Which of these dogs was bred chiefly to be a companion animal?

The pug has gone from being a favorite of Chinese emperors, to that of European aristocracy, to affluent Americans. This is one breed that's never going to lack for a comfortable home, it seems!

Which dog was bred small in order to duck under the kicks of the cows it herded?

Corgis have long bodies and short legs, the better to avoid getting kicked by cattle. Purebred corgis come in the Pembroke (caramel-and-white) and Cardigan (brown and black) varieties.

Which dog was bred to chase badgers into their holes?

"Dachshund" literally means "badger dog." Their persistent and stubborn nature means they need a patient, firm owner if they are to be kept as house pets.

Which of these dogs, commonly used in hunting, is often tri-colored?

Beagles were developed to hunt hare, and are closely related to the taller foxhounds. They have smooth, tri-colored coats and noisy, happy howls when on a scent.

Which of these dogs, historically, went after the most difficult game?

While the other three breeds hunted rabbits, herded reindeer, or hunted wolves, the bloodhound has traditionally been used to track humans -- the most intelligent and tricky of game. It is still valued for its ability to find missing people.

Which of these breeds, also known as the Alsatian, dates back only to the late 19th century?

Who says they don't make 'em like they used to? Though a fairly new breed, the German shepherd is highly valued for its work ethic, protectiveness and willingness to please.

Which dog was named for its origin at the boundary between England and Scotland?

Border Collies are the most intelligent and energetic of dogs. Any Border Collie owner recognizes that intense "play with me" stare that breaks down the most determined individual.

What is the main purpose of kennel clubs and dog shows?

Dogs are more heterogeneous than any other species on earth. Without careful breeding, most types would regress toward a more homogeneous size/build/coloring, losing the characteristics that make them unique. That's what kennel clubs want to prevent.

Which dogs were named after a British cleric?

The Jack Russell is named after Reverend John Russell. The very similar "Parson Russell" terrier is now considered a separate breed, but is named after the same man.

Which of these breeds is NOT from Australia?

What's in a name? The Australian Shepherd was actually bred in the United States, where it has enjoyed a rise popularity as a pet in recent years.

Which dog was originally bred for herding, but is much better known now for police and guard work?

Every owner of a German shepherd is familiar with that bright-eyed, cock-eared "How may I help you?" expression. German shepherds love to work and need plenty of exercise to be happy as house pets.

Which of these dogs only dates back to the 1990s?

A cross between the King Charles Cavalier spaniel and the poodle, the cavapoo was developed in Australia in the 1990s. It was part of the boom in "-oodles" and "-doodles" ... that is, low-shedding designer crossbreeds.

Which breed, unfairly stereotyped as a lap dog, actually has a strong sporting and working history?

The standard poodle is actually a tall, strong animal, and without specialty grooming, has a durable curly coat. They are strong swimmers once used as gun dogs, and very intelligent.

Which of these is the official dog of Maryland?

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is said to descend from two dogs, probably Canadian, that were rescued from a shipwreck. They were then bred with local dogs. Today, the "Chessie" is an energetic and cheerful dog with a wavy coat.

Which of these dogs were commonly used to rescue people in alpine snows?

The classic image of the St. Bernard is that of a dog with a cask of brandy around its neck (to warm the lost hikers and skiers). Cartoons often depict the dogs sneaking nips from their own casks.

Which of these dogs does not have its origin in China?

The shiba inu is a miniature version of the Japanese akita. Shiba inus can be very independent-minded, like the akita.

Which of these was the first American breed recognized by the AKC?

The Boston Terrier bears a resemblance to the French bulldog, from which it is partly descended. The breed dates back to the late 19th century.

Which dog is named after rock formations in the Scottish highlands?

If the cairn terrier looks familiar, it might be because one played Toto in "The Wizard of Oz." Nowadays, the Jack Russell terrier most often gets the call from Hollywood casting directors.

Which dog with a striking coat was originally bred to run alongside coaches?

Dalmatians weren't always firehouse dogs -- they used to accompany coaches on trips and, hopefully, scare off highwaymen. Really, isn't that just the thing you'd want to do in the middle of an endurance run -- fight off bandits? No wonder they're such athletic dogs today!

Which dog's origin was on a Scottish island?

Skye terriers are named for the Isle of Skye. One is said to have been with Mary Queen of Scots at her execution. (Okay, now we're sad).

Which U.S. president is believed to have had more than 30 foxhounds?

Washington was a breeder, not just an owner. Perhaps thanks to his preference in breed, the foxhound is now the state dog of Virginia.

Which nation has created most of the world's terrier breeds?

England, Scotland and Wales are all hotbeds of terrier breeding. Ireland has the Irish terrier and other breeds, but it isn't part of the UK (except Northern Ireland).

Which is the only breed to originate in Cuba?

The Havanese is a toy dog, with long silky hair. Hey, isn't that kind of against Cuba's communist principles?

True or false: Does every U.S. state have a state dog?

Only 11 states have chosen a state dog. These include Virginia, Alaska, and Maryland. We're waiting for California to make the Chihuahua its state dog, but that hasn't happened yet.

Which of these dogs could once only be owned by nobility?

The borzoi is also known as the Russian wolfhounds and they were not bought or sold early in their history, only given as gifts among nobility. Pekingese, it is said, were so valued that a commoner could be put to death for owning one. Yikes!

Which of these breeds originated in Germany?

The Pomeranian is a miniature Spitz, and is popular as a lap dog (and "handbag dog"). The malinois originated in Belgium, and is closely related to the tervuren and the German shepherd.

Which of these dog breeds has a name meaning "rather low"?

Bassets, like all hounds, were bred for tracking. However, their mellow nature generally makes them good house pets.

If a dog's name includes the word "setter," what did it used to do?

Setters find game -- usually birds -- but just freeze up when they find it; they don't flush the birds. The freezing motion is the dog's characteristic "set."

The cocker spaniel's name refers to a ______.

The cocker spaniel is a small dog used to find "cocks," or woodland birds. They also make good household companions. Fun fact: "Lady" in "Lady and the Tramp" is a cocker spaniel.

Which of these is NOT a group at the Westminster Dog Show?

The seven groups are herding, hound, non-sporting, sporting, terrier, toy and working. The closest thing to a "companion" category is either "toy" or "non-sporting," aka the "everyone else" category.

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