The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show just wrapped up, reminding us once again of the impressive breeds that hail from countries all over the globe. Whether big or small, each of these pooches has a history and collection of qualities that make it unique.
In honor of this annual event, we thought we’d share some of our favorites. Does the German Shepherd win your heart like it did the judges’ this year? Or is one of the breeds below your personal best in show? Drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter, and let us know what you think!
Chow Chow (China)
Bred as a working dog, Chow Chows are among the most ancient breeds in the world. They were a favorite of the Tang dynasty; in fact, one of the Tang emperors was said to have 5,000 of them. Their fluffy coats are certainly a distinguishing characteristic, but they also are known for their distinctive blue tongues.
Often called “Velcro Vizlas” because of their high level of attachment to humans, Vizlas are friendly to strangers and require a lot of exercise. They were once the hunting dog of the nomadic Magyar tribes of Hungary, and can be found in artwork dating back as far as the 10th century.
Glen of Imaal (Ireland)
These hunting dogs are believed to have come out of the Irish Rebellion of the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth I sent troops to quash uprisings in Ireland and, as a token of gratitude, gave them land in the Glen of Imaal. The soldiers brought their dogs, which ended up mixing with native Irish dogs to create today’s breed.
Prized for their effervescent personalities and smooth hypoallergenic coats (earning them the name Silk Dogs), Havanese dogs are the only ones native to Cuba. They are easy to train, which makes them ideal service dogs.
Italian Greyhoud (Italy)
This breed – which dates back thousands of years – was once a favorite of European royalty. Relatively small and thin, they are one of the rare hunting dogs that hunt by sight, rather than by smell.
Though they were bred for hunting waterfowl – they used to be called caniches, or “duck dogs” – poodles’ unique look has made them synonymous with luxury and prestige. They are certainly more than just looks, though: when it comes to intelligence, poodles are second only to border collies.
German Shepherd (Germany)
German Shepherds’ intelligence and agility make them ideal as seeing-eye dogs as well as members of military and police “K9” units. A few German Shepherds have become famous; In fact, of the three dogs on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, two are from this beloved breed (Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart).