Dog Breeds You Might Not Know Are Related

When you see an Old English Sheepdog next to, say, a Chinese Crested, it can be hard to wrap one's head around the fact that, at the heart of it, they're both members of the same canine family.

Though some dog breeds that are related share obvious visual traits (like massive bodies or soft, fluffy fur), some look dissimilar enough that we think you might be surprised to see who shares a close family tie. This slideshow isn't an exhaustive look into canine genealogy, but it will give you an idea of which dogs share a branch of the family tree with some of your favorite breeds!

All in the Family: Dog Breeds That Are Related

Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff

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Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff

With their impressive size and distinctive mugs, it's not shocking to learn that the Dogue de BordeauxMastiffBullmastiffNeapolitan Mastiff and Tibetan Mastiff are all members of the same clan. In fact, the Tibetan Mastiff is one of the world's oldest breeds and considered to be the progenitor of other Mastiff breeds.

Lhasa Apso and Tibetan Terrier

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Lhasa Apso and Tibetan Terrier
The Tibetan Terrier is not, in fact, an actual Terrier, and is most closely related to the Lhasa Apso. How close are they? They were once considered the same breed but eventually were separated by height, with the taller breed becoming the Tibetan Terrier.
Havanese, Bichon Frise, Maltese, Bolognese

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Havanese, Bichon Frise, Maltese, Coton de Tulear, Bolognese

Not all small, fluffy white dogs are closely related, but many of them can claim membership to the Bichon family, including the HavaneseBichon FriseMalteseCoton de Tulear and Bolognese.

Keeshond, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz, Pomeranian

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Keeshond, Chow Chow, Norwegian Elkhound, Finnish Spitz, Pomeranian

Members of the Spitz family, such as the KeeshondChow ChowNorwegian ElkhoundFinnish Spitz and Pomeranian, can often be identified by thick coats and fluffy tails that curl over their backs. Spitz-type dogs date back as far as several thousand years, developing into separate breeds as various tribes bred them to bring out certain qualities, according to the American Kennel Club.

Miniature Schnauzer, Standard Schnauzer, Affenpinscher and Black Poodle

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Miniature Schnauzer, Standard Schnauzer, Affenpinscher, Black Poodle

Ever wonder which came first, the Miniature or Standard Schnauzer? The larger version came first, with the Miniature Schnauzer coming into existence when Germans wanted the perfect farm dog in a smaller (and, therefore, less costly to feed) package. The Standard Schnauzer was bred with the Affenpinscher and black Poodles to create an excellent ratter in a smaller package.

Komondor and Caucasian Ovcharka

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Komondor and Caucasian Ovcharka

With his distinctive corded coat, you might expect the Komondor to be related to the Puli, but it's thought that the breed's actually related to the Caucasian Ovcharka. Though they don't share terribly similar looks at first glance, both have long and impressive histories as flock-guarding dogs.

Leonberger, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees

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Leonberger, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees

The Leonberger, a German giant breed dog, became popular in the mid-19th century when creator Heinrich Essig of Leonberg marketed the breed to celebrities and wealthy people of the era. Essig's records are not very detailed, but it's believed that the breed came from longhaired Saint Bernards, a black-and-white (Landseer) Newfoundland and a white Pyrenean Mountain Dog.

Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Mastiff, Greyhound

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Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Mastiff, Greyhound

No need to call Scooby and the gang—the history of the Great Dane is no mystery. Breeds in his background are believed to include the tall Irish Wolfhound, the enormous Mastiff and the sleek Greyhound.    

Brussels Griffon, English Toy Spaniel, Pug

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Brussels Griffon, English Toy Spaniel, Pug

You know the funny face of the Brussels Griffon has to have a story, and we've got the scoop. This smart and sensitive breed was created in Belgium about 200 years ago from a blend of the English Toy SpanielPug and a small German Terrier.

Cesky Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terrier

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Cesky Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terrier

Though it's fair to say that many members of the Terrier group share bloodlines, some can be traced quite clearly, as is the case with the Cesky Terrier, a breed created in 1949 in the former Czech Republic by breeding the Scottish Terrier and Sealyham Terrier.

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