Dog is man’s best friend as we all know, and this is something that transcends nationality. Wherever you go in the world almost, you will find people keeping dogs as pets and forming relationships with them. This is true in Europe just as it is everywhere else, but what changes is which breeds of dogs are most common and most popular. Here we will look at the most popular European dogs, and at why certain canines appeal to Europeans in particular.
The Most Popular European Dogs:
The Labrador is an incredibly popular dog breed and this is true wherever you go in the world. In both the US and Europem, the Labrador is by far one of the most popular breeds of dog and has a large number of fans. This is for a number of reasons. Not only is the Labrador well-known for being well natured, but this breed is also incredibly responsive to training and always eager to play, and has good health and few recurring problems compared to some other dogs. The average size of the retriever also makes it a very good dog for families whereas smaller dogs might get trodden on.
The golden retriever is a less common dog breed in the US, but in Europe it is almost as popular as the Labrador. Similar in terms of size and temperament, their main distinguishing feature is their golden and glossy coat which is very attractive. Golden retrievers were first accepted for registration by the Kennel Club of England and took an additional 14 years to find their way to the US – which may be why they’re particularly popular European dogs.
As the name might suggest, the German Shepherd initially comes from Germany as part of the herding group. They are a relatively recent breed of dog (originating in 1899) and are still commonly used for herding and guarding sheep. The same skills that make them great at herding though (such as trainability, strength, obedience and intelligence), also makes them useful in a range of other roles from search and rescue, to police work and even acting. Their gentle temperament also gives them the reputation of begin very safe. In Germany the breed is called the Deutscher Schäferhund.
The Poodle is a popular European dog originating from France. Originally used as water dogs and hunting dogs, they have since become popular as show dogs and will often sport haircuts giving them a distinctive ‘pom-pom’ look. They are also very intelligent, highly energetic and good natured which makes them popular as pets in Europe. One advantage of poodles over other breeds of dogs is that they don’t malt – making less work for those trying to keep a clean and tidy house, while at the same time making them more suitable for those with allergies to dander.
The large expanses of farmland in much of Europe makes sheepdogs generally popular throughout. The Shetland Sheepdog, also known as the Sheltie, is a small-medium dog that comes in tri-color and a variety of other hues. They are known for being vocal and highly energetic which is useful for herding of course and which makes them fun pets to own. They are descendants of the Scottish Collie giving them firm European roots.
The Yorkshire Terrier is another European dog whose name gives away their heritage. The Yorkshire Terrier indeed hales from Yorkshire, England (up north) and was originally used to catch rats in clothing mills. These are small dogs that tend to grow no larger than seven pounds, and will often sport a grey, black and tan coat. They are often referred to simply as ‘Yorkies’ and has an air of importance about them befitting their English heritage.
The Schnauzer is another German dog with a very German name. Miniature Schnauzers were originally developed by breeding Standard Schnauzers with other smaller breeds such as miniature poodles and eventually surpassed their predecessors in terms of popularity. Again, Schnauzers were bred in German initially as farm dogs but also quickly became popular as family dogs.
While you might think of boxers as American dogs (they are actually slightly more popular in the US), they are also popular European dogs, and actually come from Germany (though they are bred from the English Bulldog). They have strong jaws and a powerful bite for latching onto prey, and were originally bred for a dog show in Munich.
Shih-Tzus are popular European dogs despite coming from China. They are instantly identifiable by their long silky hair and small size. They are actually an ‘ancient’ breed, meaning that they are genealogically similar to wolves (despite their appearance).
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese mountain dog is another Germanic breed, known as the Berner Sennenhund in German. The name actually refers to the dog’s precise area of origin – the Canton of Bern Switzerland. Another ‘working dog’, their use was originally as a general farm dog and for pulling carts. Like many European dogs though, they have made the transition from the farms to become beloved family pets.