We’re celebrating National Dog Day this month with a look into everything we love about our beloved four-legged friends. This week we’re looking at dogs around the world – for example, did you know that 2018 is the Chinese year of the dog? Here’s a pick of our favourite pooches all around the world.
Over in nearby Europe, we’re all familiar with some of the better-known French or German breeds such as Bichon Frise and German Shepherds. But did you know the Dalmatian was native to Croatia? We may associate them with running around the streets of London escaping Cruella de Vil, but they actually go back to at least 17th Century historic Dalmatia, where they were seen as quite the status symbol!
Over in Malta, we have a dog with some contentious origins: the Pharaoh Hound. Despite the name, this spritely hunting dog is not native to Egypt, but Malta, and has been used historically to hunt rabbits. Similar to a greyhound in appearance, it has close relations such as the Sicilian Cirneco.
Further south in Africa, with warmer climates, many dogs are naturally hairless. Take the African Hairless Dog, for example, also known as the Abyssian Sand Terrier. Native to East Africa, it has close relations with the Mexican and Peruvian hairless breeds.
Despite the name, the Chinese Crested Dog also has its routes in Africa. It is believed it picked up its Chinese moniker after being used on Chinese ships. Like the Abyssian Sand Terrier, there are hairless versions (not including the long hair around the face and ears) and the Powderpuff, who have long, straight fur and are regularly seen in competitions.
Moving East, Asia is home to some of the most beautiful dogs on the planet, with a selection of fluffy and long-haired breeds. The Afghan Hound’s hair is fit for a shampoo bottle – the long, silky coat is the mark of this majestic hound, and historically this has helped keep it warm in the Afghan mountains.
The incredibly cuddly Tibetan Mastiff is used by tribes in Tibet to protect sheep against a variety of predators, and has the special skill of blowing off its thick coat once a year! Similarly, the Chinese Chow Chow is so large and fluffy, it almost resembles a small bear. This ancient dog breed has origins from Arctic Asia some 3,000 years ago and has a distinctive blue tongue.
Down under we see the famed dog breeds such as the Dingo, but what about the Bull Arab? Despite the name, the Bull Arab was bred in Australia in the 70s to hunt pigs, with genes from Bull Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and Greyhounds. These dogs have a very friendly temperament and are very loyal to their humans!
In 2013, the New Zealand Kennel Club officially recognised the Huntaway breed, which has been being bred since the late 19th Century for sheep herding.
Understandably, Canada houses some very thick-coated dogs such as the Canadian Eskimo, but it’s also home to lighter-furred dogs such as the Labrador Retriever. Many areas in Canada share their names with dog breeds, such as the latter and others like Newfoundland, whose webbed feet and larger size make them ideal lifesaving pups.
Further south in the United States, we have the Catahoula Leopard dog, which is almost like a darker Dalmatian. These come in a variety of colours from the red, black or blue right through to quad-colours, and date back to the 16th Century.
Brazil is home to many native dog breeds, including the Brazilian Mastiff or Fila Brasileiro, which is a naturally protective hunting dog. Unfortunately, due to their protective genetic traits, they are banned in many countries including the United Kingdom, but they can be trained to be calmer when raised in a home with many people.
South America also has a variety of hairless dogs, including the Argentine Pila dog, which dates back as far as 3,000 years. These pups later became known as therapy dogs in the 19th Century as their furless skin provided a natural therapeutic heating pad.
Sadly, owing to the potential spread of disease to native seals, the last living dogs in Antarctica were removed in 1994. Dogs were first introduced on the continent in 1899 and played a significant role in discovery throughout Antarctica. Though no dogs originate from here, many breeds proved to survive quite successfully including Greenland Huskies.
Antarctic Sledge Dog Boo Boo was born in Antarctica in 1961 and famously served between 1962 and 1970, running up to 2,000 miles per year! What are your favourite dogs from around the world? Don’t forget to let us know on our Facebook page.