Dogs can be our very best friends. And let’s face it… they make this world a better place. They are our family members and our closest companions.
But there once was a time where dogs were bred for utilitarian purposes. They were bred to perform certain tasks and do certain jobs. These tasks could be to hunt or to find things.
But now we think of our dogs as cuddly buddies. Still, you might be interested to know what your dog was specifically bred for. It might surprise you.
Here Are 30 Breeds And What They Originally Were Bred For:
Now, this one might be obviously. They are used to find prey animals. Instead of hunting after the prey, they would stop and locate the animal and sort of point it out.
2) Irish Setter
Irish Setters are also known sas “gun dogs.” These long haired reddish dogs also point out prey. The Irish Setter was said to be near extinction near the 1940s so breeding enthusiasts cross bred them with English Setters to “save them.”
3) Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel’s are believed to have come from Spain (it’s in the name). They were bred to be hunting dogs for the rich. They were specifically used to hunt small game bird called woodcocks, which is also a part of their names. They would run into the brush and scare the birds into taking flight so hunters could shoot them.
4) Basset Hound
The Basset Hound was bred to have short legs and a lot of droopiness. This is so hunters could keep up with the dogs during hunting sessions. These dogs were used to hunt ground prey like rabbits and badgers.
Beagles are believed to be bred from a whole bunch of different dogs. These hunting dogs are fairly slow runners but can easily catch prey like rabbits. The beagle also serves as a good hunting companion dog.
Bloodhounds were used as tracking dogs. They have an incredible sense of smell. They were originally used to track deer and wild boar but now they are used in law enforcement.
7) Bull Terrier
Bull Terriers were a breed raised as bait dogs. They would be used in bear baiting, badger baiting, and dogfighting. They are known to be able to fight rats, bears, and badgers so they don’t always get along with other dogs.
Collies were bred to be herding dogs. They were used to corral animals like sheep or certain types of birds. They are trained to obey commands to move animals into certain spaces.
Daschunds were bred to specifically hunt badgers. Both in the wild and badger bating bloodsport arena events. They were eventually used to also hunt small ground game like rabbits and foxes.
Mastiffs were used in mountainous areas. They were would serve as guard dogs. They also did some herding work but would protect the flock from predators rather than control the flock’s direction.
Pugs are actually in the mastiff family. They’re just a lot smaller. They were bred in royal China as companion dogs. It was one of the few breeds that were actually bred to be our friends.
Greyhounds are considered an ancient breed and may have been popular in Ancient Egypt. They were used as hunting dogs for their eyesight and foot speed which help them to catch fast prey like deer.
13) St. Bernard
These dogs were used in the Swiss Alps. They are strong and their hair coarse hair is able to withstand the snow. They were used for search and rescue.
14) Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers originated in Yorkshire, which was a manufacturing center. They were used for vermin control. They would get rid of the rats in manufacturing facilities.
Unfortunately, Bulldogs were also bred to be used for bloodsport. Basically, they would let these dogs attack bulls that were chained so they could only move about 20 or 30 feet. Breeders just tried to emulate these dogs’ looks after blood sports were outlawed in England in 1835.
16) Great Dane
It’s not completely known if Great Dane’s originated from Denmark but large dogs can be found in the history of Demark, as well as Germany and France. They are used as hunting dogs. They would hold a deer, boar or other large game down after it was caught by another dog. The hunter would then finish them off and collect the prey.
In Germany, where Poodles originated from, they are known as Pudelhund. They are retriever dogs. They are especially good in water so they were used to fetch waterfowl. They even have webbed toes that help them swim.
Dalmatians are known as firehouse dogs. They originally were used for hunting, guard dogs, and sometimes as companions. In the 19 century, they began being used to trot alongside and in front of horse-drawn fire engines to clear paths and find fires.
Queen Victoria is said to be responsible for the Pomerianan. She would small Pomeranians together to create the smaller size dogs that you see today. They were bred to be companion dogs.
20) Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers were used by the Scottish elite in the mid-19th century. Hunters would use them to retrieve waterfowl they shot. This way the hunters wouldn’t have to swim in the pond to get them.
Affenpinschers were dogs that were bred down in size. This is so they could catch rats around the home. They later became companion dogs for ladies.
22) Anatolian Shepherd Dog
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog hails from Turkey. They were bred to be a shepherd’s companion that help to guard the livestock. They were bread to resemble size and color of livestock so predators wouldn’t detect them among the flocks. They make good guard dogs now.
These dogs are named after the Azawakh Valley in the Sahara desert where they originated. They were bred to be lean swift hunters. They are now loyal dogs that are protective of their homes.
This is another breed with webbed feet. They were also used to retrieve waterfowl. They are also good agility competitors.
25) Bedlington Terrier
The Bedlington Terrier originated as a vermin killer. They were also used as poacher’s companions. Now they make great companions and show dogs.
26) Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois are a breed used as herding dogs. They are now used for police work and as guard dogs. They are very smart and athletic dogs.
27) Cane Corso
This is an old Italian breed of dog used to guard property. They also were hunters of big game like wild boar. The dogs are huge, sturdy and built to work.
These dogs were created in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They were used as hiking and work dogs. They are especially good at pulling sleds.
29) Dutch Shepherd
These guys were used in all-around farm work in the Netherlands. As in the name, they are good at herding animals. They are known to be healthy dogs that were easy to train.
30) Field Spaniel
This medium sized dog was used for their great hunting skills. They were also retrievers of land or water fowl. Now they are happy family companions.