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.
Our focus in this article is the land down under, Australia! The country is globally famous for its natural wonders, wide-open spaces, beaches, deserts, and “The Outback”. It’s also known for its preservation of wildlife, safe to say, Aussies are great at taking care of animals — and that includes man’s best friend!
Here are five (5) of the most common dog breeds in Australia:
1. Basset Hound
A friendly and easygoing dog that used to hunt in packs. Bassets can be serious barkers and with their sturdy feet and nails, they tend to be good diggers. The hunting urge is still quite strong and if not safely confined they will go off hunting on their own.
Back in the 1500s, the pre-revolutionary French were using low-slung and heavy-bodied hounds to trail rabbits. A number of the short, bow-legged French hunting dogs and the basset hound we recognize today were fine-tuned in England in the 1800s.
They were selected not only for their outstanding scenting skills but also because hunters could keep up with the slow-paced dogs. In the United States, the basset quickly moved on from hunting dog to family pet.
2. Australian Cattle Dog
They are considered to be one of the most adventurous dogs in the whole dog community. They are bred to perform demanding tasks and are intelligent, watchful, and courageous.
The breed as we know them today is the culmination of much experimentation to create the ideal dog for herding fractious beef cattle in Australia.
The need for a suitable cattle dog arose in the early 1800s when settlers began spreading westward from Sydney to utilize the vast grazing lands. Eventually, a winning formula was discovered. Imported from Scotland, Blue Merle border collies were crossed with the native wild dingo dog to produce silent workers known as Hall’s Heelers.
By the late 1800s, the breed was widely recognized and standardized in Australia.
3. Bichon Frise
People who have encountered this breed know that they’re playful and gentle dogs that look like clouds. They’re also known to be the perfect companion dogs.
They are thought to be a descendant of the water spaniel and was known in the Mediterranean area as far back as the Middle Ages. Some historians believe the breed actually originated in the Canary Islands and was brought to Europe by sailors.
4. Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are known to be police dogs, narcotics detectors, and competitors in obedience trials. Their history of origin varies widely. But according to one of the theories they were bred and developed in the US to work in ranches. Their ancestors may have been Spanish herding dogs that originated in the Basque region of Spain and France and were brought to the United States with herds of Merino sheep during the early colonial days.
The dogs are called Australian shepherds only because they were associated with Basque shepherds that came from Australia to the United States in the 1800s.
5. Australian Cobberdog
This breed is often confused with Labradoodles. What’s the difference? Labradoodle is a cross between a poodle and a labrador, or a multigenerational cross (the so-called Australian Labradoodles). An Australian Cobberdog has a pedigree recognized by the Australian MDBA, in addition to its own stable DNA sequence. This is especially important, because the stable DNA sequence means that it maintains its characteristics, generation after generation. This helps to predict its qualities.
These are just five of the many dog breeds common in Australia! If you learned something new while reading this, share this with your dog-loving friends!