England is one of the most historic countries today, known for their London tea, fish & chips, the Big Ben and The Beatles. But, did you know England is also home to some of the world’s most popular English dog breeds as well?
And while the first domesticated dog is believed to have been in 10,000 BC (somewhere in China), England is not far behind. As such, the oldest English dog is the Star Carr Yorkshire which lived in England during 7538 BC.
England has a long and rich history of dog breeding. In fact, many of the most well known dogs today originated or was derived from an English breed. That said, let’s examine 28 popular and unique dog breeds from England.
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Table of Contents
- English Retriever Dogs
- English Gun Dogs
- English Herding Dogs
- English Hounds
- English Terriers
- Other English Dog Breeds
English Retriever Dogs
Retriever dogs have a simple yet necessary job. That is, they retrieve the hunter’s shot game from the wetlands and marshes. In many cases, a hunter cannot easily get to the game without a boat. So, the following dogs’ job was born.
In the past, hunting was a big sport in England (and still a year-round sport today). As a result, some of the most popular dog breeds, such as the Golden Retriever, were born out of necessity.
1. Golden Retriever
Highlights: Friendly, Loyal, Smart
The Golden Retriever may be the second most popular dog breed in America, however, they actually originated from England. During the hay day of hunting in England, hunters needed a tireless worker that’s high energy and a superb swimmer.
Fortunately, the Golden Retriever fit the bill. They’re a muscular dogs with a lean frame. They have a powerful set of legs to keep them afloat and paddling through the murky waters. And of course, they sport the signature golden coat.
This iconic English dog was developed by Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth. He first set his sights on breeding an effective gun dog capable of navigating the terrain of his estate in the highlands. And through many iterations, the Golden was born.
Often described as the happiest dog in the world, the Golden Retriever is a loving companion that’s highly adaptable and loving. There’s not a single aggressive bone in these dogs, as they tend to greet everyone with smiles and kisses.
- Golden Retrievers were developed by crossbreeding a yellow retriever with the Tweed Water Spaniel, Irish Setter and Bloodhound.
- The Golden Retriever matures slower than other dogs, which explains their playfulness well into adulthood.
- As retriever dogs, they’re known for their soft mouths. They’re able to retrieve ducks without damaging the animal.
2. Flat-Coated Retriever
Highlights: Cheerful, Positive, Good-natured
The Flat-Coated Retriever has the ability to retrieve on both land and water, making them a special dual purpose retrieving dog. And like the other English retrievers, this dog is always bursting with energy and excitement.
These dogs were bred in the mid 1800s and shortly after, became Britain’s most popular retrieving dog due to their top skills. In fact, they were nicknamed the “gamekeeper’s dog” because they were so prevalent in the English hunting community!
Though hard workers with a strong work ethic, Flat Coats know how to slow down and enjoy their time with the humans. They may work long hours, but come back with their cheerful and optimistic attitude often seen in these dogs.
The Flat-Coated loves to play with others. So much so, that owners describe them as “forever young” dogs. But the fact is, they mature slowly and are always wagging their tails and giving kisses. Plus, they play well with kids and other dogs.
- The Flat-Coated Retriever was bred using the famous Labrador Retriever.
- During the two world wars, the Golden and Labrador Retriever almost completely replaced the Flat-Coated and put them into extinction.
- They were called the “gamekeeper’s dog” because they were so widely used on English estates for hunting and sport.
3. Curly-Coated Retriever
Highlights: Confident, Intelligent, Noble
As one of the oldest retriever dog, the Curly Coated Retriever is essentially a Golden Retriever with the coat of a Poodle. With their impressive swimming instincts, they’re one of the best water retrievers that England has to offer.
These English dogs tend to sport either a black or liver colored coat. And while the coat may look a bit odd, it’s meant to protect them in bad weather conditions and in freezing-cold lakes. They’re hefty dogs that are more durable than they look.
Curly-Coateds may look like hard working dogs – and they are. However, they have a gentle and a loving side to them too. In the home, they’re playful and fun-loving with the people they know, but can be aloof with strangers.
They can be as affectionate and endearing as the Labrador or Golden Retriever, but they’re often a little more independent. Even so, this doesn’t mean they’re hard to train. In fact, they’re super smart dogs that respond well to obedience.
- The Curly-Coated Retriever is believed to be the oldest of all retriever-type dogs.
- These dogs likely descended from the English Water Spaniel, Retrieving Setter and the Irish Water Spaniel.
- Despite being curly-coated, these English dogs have straight hair on their faces.
English Gun Dogs
Gun dogs are much like retrievers. However, they do more than just retrieving. These type of gun dog breeds can also flush out game and point (or track) game. And just like with retriever dogs, England is home to some of the most famous gun dogs.English Cocker Spaniel
4. English Springer Spaniel
Highlights: Loving, Trainable, Fun-loving
The English Springer Spaniel is the embodiment of the spaniel-type spirit. They are full of energy, hard working and affectionate dogs. As such, they’re a balanced dog that knows how to play hard and work even harder.
These spaniel dogs were first developed many centuries ago when flushing and tracking game birds in the uplands was needed. In the beginning, they worked as generic helpers since hunters only had bows, nets and falcons to work with.
When guns were invented, Springer Spaniels continued the tradition of working alongside hunters, but as eager gun dogs that helped flush out birds from their nests, so hunters could take them down. Needless to say, they were the best.
Today, the modern Springer is a tough and durable dog with an insatiable appetite for work. They are people-oriented dogs that will take every opportunity to please their owners. Training will be no problem for these intelligent gun dogs.
- Springer Spaniels are named after their hunting technique, in which they would “spring” towards the game.
- American president George H.W. Bush had a Springer Spaniel named Millie.
- At one point, the Springer Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel were classified as one breed.
5. English Cocker Spaniel
Highlights: Lively, Cheerful, Obedient
Like the cousin Springer, the English Cocker Spaniel was bred centuries ago from various dog breeds from Spain. They earned the reputation as reliable hunting companions that could help with flushing, retrieving and pointing.
In the past, spaniels were divided into two types: land spaniels and water spaniels. Because this dog flushed smaller game, such as woodcocks, they were known as the “cocking spaniel.” And although they hunt all types of game today, the name was kept.
The Cocker Spaniel is slightly smaller than the springer, standing at 15 to 17 inches tall. They have a contoured head with big round eyes and long-hanging ears that engulfs their face. And while they may seem fragile, they’re sturdy and strong.
English Cocker Spaniels are balanced dogs that know when to turn on their energy and when to mellow out. On the field, Cockers are tireless workers that will go above and beyond to please their hunters. But in the home, they’ll shower their love.
- Historians believe the Cocker Spaniel came to America (New England) on the Mayflower in 1620.
- Weighing just 30 pounds, the Cocker Spaniel is the smallest dog in the sporting breed category.
- The Cocker Spaniel specialized in hunting woodcocks, which is how they got their names.
6. English Pointer
Highlights: Devoted, Balanced, Diligent
As you may have guessed from the name, the point of the English Pointer is to point. That is, they will track down birds and point to them with their snout to signal to the hunter where the birds are. After locating the birds, hounds will chase them down.
These dogs aren’t new, as they’ve been pointing for centuries. And as the modernization of hunting occurred, Pointers evolved with them to be one of the top gun dogs in the world. What’s more, they are serviceable retrievers as well!
Developed in the past for the aristocrats of the sporting world, Pointers tend to carry themselves with a sense of nobility. They’re highly capable hunting dogs and they know it too. With their great agility, speed and instincts, few birds can get past a Pointer.
However, these dogs aren’t all about work and hunting. When in the home, they’re even-tempered dogs that are amiable, kind and affectionate. They’re loyal to their pack and enjoy playing with the owners just as much as a good hunt.
- Pointers get their name from their unique way of tracking game. When spotted, they’ll use their snouts to point in the direction.
- Despite being an English dog breed, Pointers actually originated from their cousins – the Spanish Pointer.
- Early paintings of Pointers can be found on 3,000 year old Egyptian tombs.
7. Clumber Spaniel
Highlights: Calm, Amusing, Chivalrous
The Clumber Spaniel is calm, docile and mellow. All of which, are traits you’d least expect from a top gun dog. However, they are one of the best in the game. As for hunting companions, Clumbers were top choices among kings of England.
The history of the Clumber starts in the late 1700s in Nottinghamshire of England. The Duke spent a great deal of effort into breeding the ideal hunting companion for his estate, called the Clumber Park. This is where they earned their name.
Quickly, these spaniels became a favorite among bird hunters, especially with the British royals. And from there on, Clumber Spaniels served as hunting companions for Edward VII, George V and many others down the line.
Like most English dog breeds that were bred for the elite, the Clumber retains a graceful, noble and proud attitude. But as their goofy appearance suggests, they are mischievous and playful when in the home. Plus, they can be stubborn too.
- The history of Clumber Spaniels is unclear. One theory suggests they were smuggled from France into England during the French Revolution.
- Their name comes from the English estate they frequently hunted in, called Clumber Park.
- Most historians believe the Clumber Spaniels are the result of crossbreeding the Basset Hound with the Alpine Spaniel.
English Herding Dogs
Herding became an essential part of farms with livestock in the rural regions of England. So, it made a lot of sense that some of the world’s best herding dogs originated from the country, including the renowned Border Collie.
8. Lancashire Heeler
Highlights: Loving, Active, Intelligent
The Lancashire Heeler may be a small dog, but they’re tenacious herders with a spirited attitude on the field. What makes the Lancashire unique is their versatility. Not only are they great cattle herders, but also top ratters and rabbit hunters.
These dogs pack a lot of power into a fun-sized bite. They’re energetic workers, combined with their tireless work ethics and terrier instincts. And although they were prominent cattle herders, these dogs typically are companion dogs today.
There’s never a dull moment with the Lancashire Heeler. The high energy excitement is contagious and their eagerness to work and please is endearing. They love to play with their owners and won’t mind taking multiple walks a day.
Lancashires are also wicked smart. Combine this with their eagerness to learn and you have one of the most trainable dog breeds England has to offer. Daily obedience training is the best way to take care of their mental stimulation needs.
- The Lancashire was classified as an endangered breed in 2003 because of the decreasing number of dogs and small gene pool.
- These dogs can draw back their lips to smile like a human. We call this the “heeler smile.”
- Historians believed these dogs are the result of crossbreeding Welsh Corgis with Manchester Terriers.
9. Border Collie
Highlights: Intelligent, Energetic, Affectionate
Border Collies may be the most famous herding dogs in the world. And why wouldn’t they be? These collies are clever and extremely intelligent dogs. In addition, they love to work and will often work for the sake of working.
The beginnings of the Border Collie can be traced back to the Roman Empire. When the empire fell, vikings took their shot at invading Britain. They were often accompanied by small and agile spitz-type dogs that could herd and work.
It’s believed that these viking dogs were the original ancestors of the Border Collie. If you’ve ever seen a Border Collie in action, you’d probably notice the extreme focus and determination when they are on the field. Plus, they don’t seem to get tired!
The Border Collie’s work ethic makes them the most trainable dogs in the world. In fact, they’re the most intelligent dog breed in terms of obedience and working IQ. However, they do require plenty of mental stimulation and exercise daily.
- The Border Collie is the smartest dog breed when it comes to obedience and work intelligence.
- A Border Collie named Chaser is regarded as the most intelligent dog. He can recognize 1,000 objects.
- Jumpy the Border Collie holds the world record for dog skateboarding, going 100 meters in just 20 seconds.
10. Old English Sheepdog
Highlights: Adaptable, Docile, Intelligent
Perhaps the most iconic and well-known dog breed from England, the Old English Sheepdog holds a reputation for being gentle, smart and agreeable. The long profuse double coat with shaggy fur over the head is the signature look with the OES.
The OES is technically an English dog. However, England cannot take all the credit for these dogs. In fact, historians believe that there may be some Russian or Scotch in these dogs. And while they are called sheepdogs, they were actually herding or drover dogs.
For the most part, the OES is an easy-going and laid-back dog. They’re very affectionate dogs who tend to get along well with all members of the family. Plus, the OES can also be very playful, often taking up to three years to fully mature.
But don’t be fooled by their goofy looks – these dogs are herding dogs, after all. In other words, they’ll be very energetic and active, demanding a decent amount of physical and mental exercises. They are also sneaky athletic and agile too.
- A nickname for the OES is the “bobtail,” despite having a tail.
- When the OES came to America, the dog was for the ultra-wealthy. In fact, 5 of the 10 richest American families owned one.
- Although they’re called “old,” they’re a relatively new breed. The OES was first developed in 1904.
11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Highlights: Loving, Alert, Intelligent
Known for their long bodies, short legs and bright smiles, the Pembroke Welsh Corgis are some of the most popular dogs today. Though they’re technically from Wales, the tradition and reputation of these dogs in England is unparalleled.
Despite their short stature, Pembroke Corgis were actually bred for herding cattle. Because they are so low to the ground, they’re able to effectively dodge lethal kicks from the cattle. Given their pushy personalities, these dogs were made for the job.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis may look cute and cuddly, but they’re stubborn dogs that tend to go on the occasional independent streaks. But on the bright side, they’re extremely smart dogs that respond very well to obedience training.
The bark of the Corgi is something that is not to be underestimated. Combine this with their always alert nature and they make some of the finest watch dogs. However, make sure to include them in all family activities for them to thrive.
- According to ancient folklore, the Corgis were enchanted dogs that fairies rode into battle.
- The word “corgi” actually means “dwarf dog” in Welsh.
- The Cardigan Welsh Corgi was the original Corgi. They were first brought to Cardiganshire by the Celts tribe.
Hound dogs serve a very important role for hunters. Often equipped with an incredible nose, hounds will find and track game, thus saving the hunter many hours of locating game. And given how popular hunting was in England, hounds were crucial dogs to society.
Highlights: Loving, Independent, Curious
Historians know very little about the true origins of the Bloodhound. However, we do know that they are one of the oldest breeds, being traced back to around a thousands years ago. Back then, these dogs rode with prominent princes.
In the last few centuries, Bloodhounds have become the ultimate people-tracking dogs. And even today, police departments and search & rescue groups deploy these dogs for all types of tracking and rescuing work. They’re simply the best.
Their ability to effectively track people down even with a cold trail is largely due to the Bloodhound’s incredible noses. That said, a Bloodhound is said to have roughly 230 million scent receptors at a given time – the most among all breeds.
But when the Bloodhound isn’t working, they are friendly and affectionate dogs. And while they may be stubborn and “slow at learning,” we think this is just because of their inquisitive nature. With all the scents they smell, it’s easy to get distracted!
- The Bloodhound can still follow a 300-hour scent trail, that is, with the source leaving the area 12 days ago.
- Bloodhounds have the best noses in the canine kingdom. It’s believed they have 200 to 300 million scent receptors.
- Their noses are so reliable that their findings and “testimony” are considered admissible in a US court of law.
Highlights: Docile, Agile, Noble
Greyhounds have earned a reputation as the fastest dog breed on earth. When put on a stretch of flat land, these dogs use their long legs and lean frames to reach speeds upwards of 40 miles per hour. Few animals are faster than a Greyhound.
But while the Greyhound was standardized in Great Britain, the origins of these dogs can be traced to Egypt roughly 5,000 years ago. In fact, the dogs that ran with Egyptian pharaohs were very much like these Greyhounds.
When you examine the Greyhound, you can tell they were built for speed. Everything from the shock-absorbing feet pads to the aerodynamic frame and skull, these dogs are ideal for high-speed chases. They’re unlike any other hound breed.
What’s more, Greyhounds have a wonderful and pleasant temperament. They’re always friendly and calm with very little aggressive tendencies. However, this doesn’t mean they’re friendly to everyone. In fact, they are often aloof with strangers.
- The Greyhound is the fastest dog breed in the world, capable of running up to 40 miles per hour.
- Greyhounds are ancient dogs. In fact, they are the only dog breed explicitly mentioned in the Bible.
- These dogs have a 270-degree field of vision, meaning they can see objects behind them.
Highlights: Cheerful, Inquisitive, Affectionate
Known for their sharp noses and mild temperaments, Beagles have become one of the most iconic dog breeds to originate from England. Not only do they make perfect search & rescue dogs, but also thrive in a family-oriented situation.
These dogs have been small game hunters for centuries. In fact, the early ancestors of the Beagles arrived in England long before the Roman Empire. And in the 1500s, these dogs were converted to hunt and track all types of game, including deer.
For the most part, Beagles are easy-going and laid back dogs. They’re famously known for being an even-tempered dog. Beagles are not too friendly, but not too aloof. They’re also people pleasing, but not overly eager.
The Beagle is always cheerful, positive and friendly. They can get along with all types of people, such as seniors and children. And because they are pack dogs, they tend to play well with other dogs and even cats in the family.
- Beagles use their long hanging ears to “sweep” scents to their nose for more effective tracking.
- Their noses are so incredible that a Beagle named Elvis is capable of smelling pregnancy in women.
- The white-tipped tail of the Beagle was bred into them so hunters could find them while tracking in the woods.
Highlights: Affectionate, Calm, Fun-loving
Often called the “poor man’s racehorse,” the Whippet is an amazing sprinter and athlete. In fact, the Whippets are very much like the Greyhounds, though a bit shorter and slimmer. And when assigned a task to chase, there’s no stopping them.
The Whippets’ origin is linked with Victorian England in the mid 1800s. Back then, coal miners spent a lot of their free time racing dogs and hunting hare. However, this working class couldn’t afford to give a Greyhound adequate exercise or space.
For this reason, the smaller and more convenient Whippet was born. Not only were they quick dogs, but also were much more cost effective. Plus, these dogs can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, which is nothing to scoff at.
Because of their origins, Whippets are much more adaptable. Not only do they thrive in an open yard but can also do well in an apartment (with proper exercise). When they’re not working, they love to sit back and relax with their loved ones.
- The Whippet is a fast dog, capable of reaching speeds up to 35 miles per hour.
- Whippets are known to suffer from separation anxiety. Busy owners should not own a Whippet.
- They are quiet dogs that rarely bark, though they still make great watchdogs.
Highlights: Lively, Friendly, Even-tempered
The Otterhound, as their name suggests, is an English dog breed developed to hunt otter. There’s no other hound in the canine kingdom like them, as they’re the only ones bred to hunt these aquatic animals. It’s why they’re so unique.
The birth of the Otterhound takes place in medieval England, when the over-population of otters in the rivers and lakes became a threat to fishermen. After all, fish was the most valuable food source in England at the time.
This was when the Otterhound made its name. They were carefully developed to sport webbed feet, a powerful shoulder, waterproof coat and a tireless temperament. Plus, their noses are sensitive and can track an otter’s scent trail underwater.
But as capable as they are in the water, the Otterhound makes a great family pet due to their calm and docile demeanor. They’re even-tempered dogs that know how to calm down and relax when they’re with their family.
- Otterhounds are extremely rare. There are fewer than 100 pairs left to continue breeding.
- The reason why Otterhounds are on the brink of extinction is because hunting otters is now illegal.
- The Otterhounds have webbed feet, giving them an extra boost when swimming in water.
Terriers have earned a reputation of being bold, spirited and good-natured. Their jobs include various work, though they were mostly bred to flush game from an underground burrow. That said, England is home to some of the most popular terrier dogs.
17. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Highlights: Smart, Affectionate, Courageous
Part of the four pitbull-type dog breeds, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the smallest of the bunch. But where they lack in size, they make up in pure warmth and friendliness. They may have a bad rep, but no one can deny their affection.
In the past, the ancestors of these dogs were subject to a cruel blood sport, that is, bull-baiting. It’s a sport where these dogs were put in pits to essentially fight a bull to the death. When the blood sport was banned, they were repurposed.
The modern Pitbull may still have aggressive tendencies if not trained well. But for the most part, they are loving and gentle dogs. The Staffordshire knows when to be calm, like in the presence of older kids. However, they can be playful too!
Staffordshires are some of the best family dogs today and their popularity shows it. Once fighters and gladiators in the pit, these dogs have evolved into sweet and calm companions.
- These dogs are the happiest when they have a job, such as guarding and watching territory.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers are often called “Staffy” for short.
- They were once bred for bull-baiting but were developed into great nanny dogs.
18. Airedale Terrier
Highlights: Friendly, Smart, Brave
There’s no better nickname for this English dog than the “king of terriers.” While most terrier-types are a small bundle of energy, the Airedale is a massive dog that stands 23 inches tall and can weigh up to 70 pounds as an adult male!
These dogs originated from northern England, in a region called Aire Valley. In the mid 1800s at the peak of the industrial revolution, vermin was a problem. Mill workers needed a tough and agile dog that could take down rodents, but also help with hunting.
This was when the Airedale Terrier was developed. The workingmen crossed various terrier breeds, such as the Bedlington, Irish and Black and Tan Terrier. There’s also a hint of the Otterhound too. In the end, they had a brave and capable working dog.
These massive terriers are confident, courageous and alert when need be. As such, they will make good hunters, watchdogs and guard dogs. Even so, there’s a loving, friendly and outgoing side to the Airedale that people can’t resist.
- Standing around 23 inches tall, the Airedale Terrier is the biggest of all terrier dog breeds.
- Despite their large stature, Airedale Terriers were originally bred to hunt and kill rats.
- During World War I, the British used Airedale Terriers as couriers and sentries. In other words, they made dangerous deliveries and kept guard.
19. Norfolk & Norwich Terrier
Highlights: Brave, Alert, Playful
Also called the Norwich Terrier, the Norfolk Terrier is a classic example of a terrier-type dog. Though a Norfolk stands at just 10 inches tall, they’re bursting with energy and have a lively demeanor that’ll put a smile on anyone’s face.
An English dog breeder named Frank Jones is largely credited for the development of this dog. He had first developed petite terriers that served as ratters and fox flushers. However, these dogs had later evolved into the breed we know today.
In the beginning, there were two breeds. The Norwich Terriers had their ears up, while the Norfolk had their ears down. Aside from this, there was very little difference. And over time, the two breeds became distinct as more clubs recognized both.
These dogs were bred to hunt and work in packs. It’s why they have pack-dog mentality and often do well with other dogs in the home. But unlike other terriers, these English dogs are more sociable and less independent.
- These dogs were developed by a man named Frank Jones, who had the nickname “roughrider.”
- The difference between the Norwich and Norfolk Terrier is whether their ears are up or down – much like the Papillon and Phalene.
- They may be petite, but they are toy lap dogs. Rather, the Norfolk is a working dog breed.
20. Parson Russell Terrier (Jack Russell)
Highlights: Lively, Energetic, Smart
The Parson Russell Terrier is a clever and spirited dog that has a seemingly unlimited amount of energy and excitement. They were first bred in southern England, but have become a wildly popular breed around the world.
In the 1800s, at the height of fox hunting, Parson Russells were used exclusively to hunt fox. Not only were they quick enough to chase them on land, but tenacious enough to hunt them in the burrows of these clever and agile animals.
Parson Russells are intelligent dogs, but not in the obedient and blindly-following-orders kind of way. They are independent minded and usually have their own ways of solving problems. As a result, training requires patience with these terriers.
Make no mistake – it’s not easy training these terriers. In addition, they’re not the best dogs for a novice trainer. The crazy energy and mischief can also get them into trouble, especially if they’re not properly exercised.
- Jack Russells, Parson Russells and Russell Terriers are near identical, except for the size variations.
- These dogs were developed by a priest from Devon, England, named John Russell.
- Even until today, the Jack Russell is not registered with the AKC. However, the Parson Russell is.
21. Border Terrier
Highlights: Loving, Optimistic, Bold
The Border Terrier is an English dog that’s tough and never misses a beat. They may be petite dogs, only weighing 14 pounds, but they’re hard workers that’s earned a reputation as a sturdy, reliable and resilient terrier breed.
Border Terriers were bred to solve multiple problems, giving them a versatile edge. They’re agile yet tenacious, making them perfect watchdogs for livestock. Plus, the Border is small enough to hunt fox and quick enough to run with horses.
The wiry coat of the Border Terrier protects them from all the hazardous elements in the woods, such as shrubs or branches. Their coats are also water-resistant, giving them the ability to work in rain or mist – which the borderlands often had.
However, the best part of the Border Terrier is their eagerness to please. Their obedient nature and intelligence makes them great for training. Plus, their alertness and fearlessness gives them a shot at being an excellent watch dog.
Border Terriers are used in the hunting of rabbits, foxes, groundhogs, raccoons, possums, and other animals
- Border Terriers are versatile hunters. They can hunt rabbits, foxes, groundhogs, raccoons, possums, and other game.
- Historians believe that the Border Terrier is one of England’s most ancient terrier breeds.
- These dogs have a habit and instinct to dig. If left in a yard without proper exercise, they’ll likely start digging away!
22. Bedlington Terrier
Highlights: Devoted, Charming, Fun-loving
Bedlingtons are terrier dogs disguised in a sheep’s coat. While they may look unique, they offer a kind of versatility not seen in many dogs. For instance, they’re good athletes, beautiful show dogs, top-tier workers, but also the perfect companion dog.
These dogs were first bred in an English mining shire, called the Northumberland mining shire. The Bedlington is a true workingman’s dog, tasked to kill vermin and participate in pit fights. It’s actually a bit surprisingly considering their gentle nature.
Needless to say, Bedlingtons don’t do this type of work anymore. Rather, they’re good-natured dogs that can be patient and easy-going. In the home, they’re affectionate and wouldn’t mind spending an afternoon lazying around with their owners.
They do everything with a lot of enthusiasm, making them an ideal fit for owners that enjoy plenty of activities. However, they can be aggressive towards small animals, including cats and rats. It’s what they were bred for, after all.
- The original grooming tradition of the Bedlington Terrier, with the ear tassels, clipped crown, and shaved head, is still a mystery.
- They’re also called “gypsy dogs” because they frequently accompanied nomadic Roman Gypsies in the 1700s.
- Bedlington Terriers are born with a dark coat that develops into a lighter white coat as they get older.
23. Yorkshire Terrier
Highlights: Energetic, Spirited, Loving
Yorkies are bold and spirited with a dash of courageousness. In fact, Yorkies often forget that they’re one of the smallest dog breeds ever. Weighing just 7 lbs, they pack a lot of punch and have a bigger than life personality.
But just because Yorkies are small doesn’t mean they’re great lap dogs. Sure, they may fit perfectly into your lap, but they may be too active to stay put. Many owners describe them as tomboyish and full of life or energy.
As given by the name, the Yorkshire Terrier was developed in Yorkshire county during the mid 1800s. While they started off as lap dogs, they quickly evolved into working dogs through the crossing with the tenacious Scottish Terriers.
Today, the Yorkshire Terrier has all the traits that you would least expect from a toy dog breed. They are bold and confident, but also independent and intelligent. They’re mostly eager dogs, but can go on their stubborn streaks occasionally.
- In the mid 1800s, the ancestors of the Yorkie was brought into England by the weavers that came for work.
- Before being named the Yorkshire Terrier, they were called the broken-haired Scotch Terrier.
- America’s first therapy dog was a Yorkshire Terrier.
Other English Dog Breeds
These are other famous and popular English dog breeds that couldn’t be categorized in the above sections. They range anywhere from toy dogs to various working breeds.
24. English Mastiff
Highlights: Brave, Proud, Good-natured
The English Mastiff is a classic mastiff-type dog breed. They are massive dogs with good heft and a heavy-boned frame. That said, these mastiffs can weigh up to 230 lbs and stand nearly 28 inches tall at the shoulder!
Although they are British, the English Mastiff has been around for thousands of years. In fact, there’s evidence that suggests these dogs were present in ancient Egypt, Greece, China, Tibet and even in the Roman Empire.
These dogs will always be courageous and brave, making them outstanding guard dogs and watch dogs. Combine this with their sheer strength and size, and few intruders would want to mess with this Mastiff. With family, though, they’re calm and loving.
- Historians believe the English Mastiff actually descended from the old Roman war dogs.
- English Mastiffs were on the Mayflower that sailed to New England in 1620.
- During World War II, the English were encouraged to put down their dogs to save food stock. This almost led to the extinction of the English Mastiff.
25. English Toy Terrier
Highlights: Cunning, Alert, Intelligent
The English Toy Terrier has had a variety of names, such as the Miniature Black and Tan or the Toy Manchester Terrier. But no matter what you call them, all signs point to the Manchester Terrier as the ancestor breed for the toy dog.
While the Manchester Terrier was bred for hunting vermin, such as rats, the English Toy was bred down in size to serve as a toy companion. As such, it’s believed that they were crossbred with Italian Greyhounds to achieve the petiteness.
The result is a bold and lively toy terrier that’s both cunning and intelligent. They may be stubborn, but they’re smarter than you think, making them highly trainable and potentially obedient toy dogs. In the home, they can be the ultimate companion dog.
- Unlike most terriers known for high energy and excitement, the English Toy Terrier is a relatively calm dog.
- Hunters carried these dogs in their pockets before unleashing them to flush out game.
- They are fearsome hunters. Before being outlawed, rat pitting was a common use for the English Toy Terrier.
Highlights: Affectionate, Devoted, Courageous
The Bullmastiff is a smaller version of the English Mastiff, though they can still weigh up to 130 lbs and stand 27 inches tall. And as you may have guessed, the Mastiffs were crossbred with Bulldogs to achieve the Bullmastiff.
These dogs may lose a bit in size, but make they make up for it in speed and agility while retaining a good amount of strength. Back when poaching was a problem, these dogs were bred to take down a poacher in the middle of the night.
That said, these mastiffs are highly biddable and trainable dogs. They’ll protect their master and the “assets” like their life depends on it. Even today, the Bullmastiff is one of the best guard dogs in the canine kingdom.
- Bullmastiffs don’t bark. Rather, they’re trained to quietly chase the intruder and pin them down.
- John D. Rockefeller brought the Bullmastiff to America in the 1920s to protect his vast esate.
- The NFL’s Cleveland Brown has a Bullmastiff mascot named Swaggy.
27. English Bulldog
Highlights: Friendly, Brave, Calm
The English Bulldog is one of the most famous English dog breeds, and for good reason. In fact, they are one of the 5 most popular dog breeds in America! They’re a classic breed that strikes the perfect balance in a family companion.
English Bulldogs are brave and courageous, but can also be calm and docile. When needed, they will protect you and your family at all cost. But when they’re with loved ones (especially with kids), the Bulldog will be sweet and friendly.
Historians point to the 13th century when the Bulldog was developed in England. They were bred for a bloodsport, called “bull-bating” – much like the Pitbulls. But when the sport was banned in 1835, the breed was repurposed as a family dog.
- Bulldogs were originally bred for fight bulls in a pit. Hence, the name.
- The loose skin of the Bulldog was bred into them as a layer of protection. Loose skin made it harder for the bulls to damage the vital organs.
- The Bulldog is considered to be the national dog breed of England.
28. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Highlights: Loving, Gentle, Elegant
While the Cavalier King Charles is technically a spaniel breed, they are not meant to flush and hunt game like their larger spaniel cousins. Rather, these toy dogs were bred to warm your laps and laze around with their owners.
In the past, these toy spaniels were made specifically for nobility. The two English monarchs, King Charles I and II, devoted their lives to breeding these toy dogs. The result and final itineration of their dog is the Cavalier King Charles.
They may be small dogs, but they’re fearless and brave – as seen with most spaniel breeds. Plus, a Cavalier loves to be the center of attention due to their sociable and friendly nature. With kids, they can be patient and caring too.
- This spaniel breed was named after England’s King Charles II.
- These dogs were bred with the Pug to give it a shorter snout and domed head.
- Cavalier dogs were once flea magnets. That is, they slept with their owners so fleas would bite them instead, thus saving the owners from diseases and plagues.
So which English dog breed is your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments section below! Did we miss any that deserves to be on this list?
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