Large dog breeds like Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds are certainly popular, but we bet there are a lot of things you don’t know about them (unless, of course, you are a dedicated reader of our breed profiles, in which case you get two big paws up).
Despite his name, the Australian Shepherd does not hail from
the Land Down Under. The breed was developed right here in the United States.
So why the misnomer? His possible ancestors include long-haired,
bobtailed, Collie-type dogs from Australia; German sheepdogs exported to
Australia and known there as German Koolies; and herding dogs brought by Basque
shepherds who came to work in the United States both before and after World War
Fans of the movie Balto know that the Siberian Husky's biggest claim to fame occurred in 1925 when people in Nome, Alaska, suffered a
diphtheria epidemic in the middle of winter. To get desperately needed
antitoxin to Nome, a team of about 20 mushers traveled nearly 700 miles from
Anchorage in six days in extremely cold conditions.
With the invention of the motorized vehicle, the need for
the Rottweiler decreased — they were often used in the German town of Rottweil to pull butchers' carts to deliver meat and milk to customers — and the breed almost died out. Thankfully, German dog lovers recognized the
Rottie’s work ethic and generally protective nature and saved the breed.
The origin of the Boxer's name is a little hazy. It could be
a corruption of the word “beisser,” which comes from Bullenbeisser, a German descriptive term for the breed’s
Mastiff-like ancestors. Or it could be a reference to the breed’s habit of
using his front paws in a fight.
There are two types of Golden Retrievers: the fluffy, teddy
bear Goldens of the show ring and the leaner, darker and smaller Goldens that
are popular as hunting companions and dog-sport competitors.
Rin Tin Tin is perhaps the most famous German Shepherd of
all. The iconic pup was found in a World War I battle zone and became the
world’s first canine movie star.
Not only is the popular Labrador Retriever often a wonderful
companion, this versatile breed can also be a great show dog, hunting dog,
canine athlete, guide dog, service dog, sniffer dog, search and rescue dog, and