Dogs, much like humans, have different places of origin. Everywhere you go there’s a specific or different dog breeds that are more common in that area compared to other places.
Thinking about how many types of different dog breeds there are is both overwhelming and fascinating. How many breeds do you think there are? If you guessed more than a hundred, then you are correct! There are around 390-400 dog breeds recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). That’s a lot of breeds! But, we’re not here to talk about all of them just yet.
Here are five (5) of the most common ones in Europe:
Rottweilers rank as one of the most ancient breeds. They accompanied the Romans through Germany, driving their cattle and guarding outposts. Many were left behind and, in the town of Rottweil in southern Germany, they became the breed we know today.
Rottweilers are fairly easy to keep for such a large dog, but were bred to be guards and protectors. They were working dogs from the start, driving cattle to market, pulling carts, guarding the homestead, and even carrying money to and from the market in money belts tied around their necks. Today they work in security and herding, so it is in their nature to be a bit aggressive and dominant.
2. French Bulldog
An even-tempered house dog that thrives on attention and that is meant for city life. Historically, they were brought to England by lace workers from Normandy to be kept on the farms as companions and to chase away the rats. But soon after that, the elites and royals took a liking to this breed and saw them as “fashionable” companions. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the French bulldog was considered a dog of high society; the breed still attracts people who appreciate the finer things in life.
3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Spaniels are known for their looks – regal and sophisticated, yet charmingly cute. The face of the cavalier is distinctive for its sweet, gentle expression that owes much to its large, round, dark brown eyes, set well apart.
They are among the largest toy breeds. The descendant of a small toy spaniel is depicted in many 16th, 17th, and 18th Century paintings of northern Europe. This dog was originally bred to warm laps in drafty castles and on chilly carriage rides. During Tudor times, toy spaniels were common as ladies’ pets and, under the Stuarts, they were given the royal title of King Charles spaniel. Until today, royals are still enamored by our furry friends, with some dog breeds more favored by royals than others.
Poodles are good family dogs and are notorious in the dog community for their intelligence and ease of training. While commonly associated with France, the poodle actually is of German origin, possibly descending from the barbet. The breed became “set” in type in the 1800s, although earlier examples of poodle-like dogs are known. The word poodle comes from the German “pudel” meaning puddle or splash.
They started as hunting dogs, especially good at water retrieving. With their quick intelligence and desire to please, they branched out into performing dogs with traveling troupes and circuses. The aristocrats, particularly in France, took a liking to this breed and became a companion to them. They enjoyed dressing up and styling the coat of which could be shaped in countless ways.
5. Doberman Pinscher
Initially bred and still used worldwide as guard dogs, Doberman pinschers also have been police and military dogs, rescue dogs, and therapy dogs. They are considered to be people-oriented dogs and can be great for families if socialized and trained properly.
There is no certain record in history, but Doberman is thought to have crossed many breeds to get the Doberman pinscher. Some of the breeds thought to be involved include the rottweiler, German pinscher, Great Dane, German shepherd dog, Manchester terrier, and English greyhound shorthaired shepherd.
Our dog companions at home come with such a rich history, and are truly a fascinating thing to read about. These are just five of the many different dog breeds common in Europe!
Have you encountered any of these breeds? Or are there different dog breeds that you know about but were not mentioned above? Check our other Dogs Around The World articles: Asia, Africa, and Australia.