7 Dog Breeds Named After People
If you've perused our dog breed pages, you may have noticed a wide variety of breed names. Some, like the Afghan Hound, are fairly straightforward: This breed is named after its homeland, Afghanistan. Others are named for their jobs — for example, the Bulldog, who was bred to corner wild bulls. Still others, like the Australian Cattle Dog, are named for both their place of origin and intended task.
Many breeds have logical, descriptive names, but others are not so straightforward. We've explored the history and origins of some of the more obscure breed names — specifically, breeds named after individual people. While the humans who shared their names run the gamut from royalty to tax collectors, all of these breeds are still beloved pets today.
This Scottish breed, established in the 17th century, takes his name from Gordon Castle, where he was developed by the fourth and sixth Dukes of Gordon. These black and tan dogs were originally known as Gordon Castle Setters. The fourth duke began to develop the black and tan setting dogs that were common in the area. In 1835, when the sixth duke took over the kennels, he worked on maintaining the dogs’ field ability and standardizing their appearance.
This medium-size sporting breed is named after the original breeder, L. Whitaker "Whit" Boykin. In the early 1900s, Boykin took in the progenitor of the breed — a stray brown dog. He then crossed him with American Water Spaniels, Cockers, Springer Spaniels and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers to create a hardy retriever of upland game birds and waterfowl. The Boykin Spaniel is the state dog of South Carolina, where he is still primarily bred.
The Plott Hound is unique among coonhound breeds for his German heritage. He's named after Georg Plott and the Plott family. The Plotts migrated to the U.S. — specifically, western North Carolina — in 1750 with five Hanoverian schweisshunden (a type of Bloodhound). From those five dogs, with a likely mixing in of some other breeds, including curs, Plott and his descendants bred a line of dogs to hunt bears and other big predators.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These little dogs were a favorite of royal courts in Spain, Scotland and France, but it was England’s King Charles I and his son Charles II — and their royalist supporters, known as "cavaliers" — who lent their name to the dogs that eventually became known as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
The Doberman originated in Germany, created by tax collector Louis Dobermann to keep himself and the taxes he carried safe from thieves. To create the intelligent, reliable guard dog that he had in mind, he crossed shorthaired shepherd dogs with Rottweilers, Black and Tan Terriers and German Pinschers. Sleek dogs such as Greyhounds and Weimaraners may also have been part of his “recipe.” Before long, he was producing dogs of a distinct type. The first Doberman Pinschers, as they became known, were seen at a dog show in Erfurt, Germany, in 1897. Three years later the breed received official recognition as a German breed.
Parson Russell Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier
The Parson Russell and the Jack Russell are essentially the same breed, with minor differences in size in their breed standards. When Oxford divinity student Jack Russell met a terrier named Trump and fell in love with him, a breed was born. Using Trump, the fox-hunting-mad Russell developed a distinctive strain of Fox Terrier that was known for its passion for following the fox.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier isn't named after a real person, but a character in Sir Walter Scott’s Guy Mannering, published in 1814. The character is thought to have been based on a farmer named James Davidson whose dogs were known as “the immortal six."
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