Ready to cheer for the birthplace of Shakespeare and the Beatles? Well England situates herself front and center of 5 AKC breeds: the English Cocker Spaniel, English Foxhound, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, and the diminutive English Toy Spaniel. Notice a common thread? Yep, Brits love their sporting breeds.
From A to Z — or more accurately from Affenpinscher to Yorkshire Terrier — the American Kennel Club lists almost 200 dog breeds. Each year the AKC reports breed popularity (yay, Labrador Retriever!). But today, let’s look at a different version of popularity. Which country has her name in the most AKC-recognized breeds? Is Poland prevalent? We could ask the Polish Lowland Sheepdog. Does Wales claim a few pooches? We could interview a Welsh Corgi or a Welsh Terrier. Now Australia may come to mind. After all, we have the Australian Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, and the Australian Shepherd (but whoops! The last one’s not from Australia! But what’s in a name, after all?)
And while we’re drifting across the British Isles, let’s talk about Ireland and Scotland. The latter puts her name in the Scottish Deerhound and the Scottish Terrier, but of course other breeds hail from Scotland too, such as the West Highland White Terrier. As for the land of shamrocks, well, here are 5 breeds that claim the luck of the Irish: the Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Setter, Irish Terrier, Irish Water Spaniel, and Irish Wolfhound.
Germany is renowned for developing great beer and bratwurst (as well as arts, science, and academics!) but also for the development of many outstanding dog breeds. Some German breeds, such as the Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, and Dachshund, don’t carry the country’s name. But 6 AKC breeds do carry the name of the Fatherland: the German Longhaired Pointer, German Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Spitz, and the German Wirehaired Pointer.
As for the land of wine and cheese, the AKC has two (named) French breeds: the French Bulldog and the French Spaniel. Of course other breeds were developed in France too, including the Dogue de Bordeaux (who, by the way, has held on to his French name even in predominately English-speaking America. Merci beaucoup!)
Spain, like France, only has two AKC breeds that begin with the country’s name: the Spanish Water Dog and the Spanish Mastiff.
Now what about Belgium? The Belgian Malinois has been in the press lately (superb military dog), but Belgium also proudly displays her name in front of 3 other AKC breeds: The Belgian Laekenois, the Belgian Sheepdog, and the Belgian Tervuren. Common thread? All considered working Belgian Sheepdogs. All smart and tough.
Time to mention Norway, with her name in front of 3 AKC breeds: the Norwegian Buhund, the Norwegian Elkhound, and the Norwegian Lundehund. By the way, three guesses what “hund” translates to, and the first two don’t count.
Now let’s look over to China. Two breeds have names highlighting their heritage to China: The Chinese Crested and the Chinese Shar-Pei. Other breeds, such as the Pug and Shih Tzu, were developed in China, but we can’t count them in this name game.
Ready to review Russia? Well, only two AKC breeds start with the Russian name: the Russian Toy and Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka. But if we include names with the country in the middle, we could include the Black Russian Terrier. Let’s not tell the Russian Black Terriers we excluded them; they’re a courageous working breed, developed for the national security force. Males can weigh between 100 to 150 pounds, so I sure don’t want to offend them.
A couple of countries only preface one AKC breed, such as the Japanese Chin, Icelandic Sheepdog, and Swedish Vallhund.
Setting complicated history aside (Tibet is under China’s rule, but was previously independent), let’s mention Tibet’s three named breeds, the Tibetan Mastiff, Tibetan Spaniel, and Tibetan Terrier.
Now let’s look right here at home. From the American Eskimo Dog to the American Water Spaniel, America proudly prefaces the names of 7 AKC breeds. This popularity makes sense: after all, it’s the American Kennel Club breeds we are reviewing. But here are a few interesting complications: The American English Coonhound gives a nod to both America and England. The American Staffordshire Terrier gives a bow to both Staffordshire (a county in Britain), and America. Additionally, names can be misleading. The American Eskimo Dog’s country of origin, for example, is Germany, not America (and thus clearly the breed wasn’t developed in Alaska, as the name also suggests).