Do You Know What These Dog Breeds Were Bred For?

By: Sameena Mughal
Image: PK-Photos/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Dogs were among the first animals to be domesticated with good reason. They have interacted with humans for thousands of years. Their intelligence, behavior, and communication have made humans keen to breed them. Due to their long association with humans, dogs can learn when taught properly. They learn through repetition and remember what they've been taught, two key factors breeders are well aware of. Dogs have been bred to hunt, go to war, herd, and protect.

Canines have accompanied nobles and kings on hunts for centuries. To this day, dogs are used on hunting expeditions. Dogs have even been used in battle and other areas from the days of the Romans to the First World War. All over the world, these animals have been used to herd and protect cattle and other livestock for farmers.

Over the centuries, breeders across the globe have perfected dogs for various purposes. Now, many are companions rather than workers for their owners. Still, dogs retain some of the skills they were bred for, and they come out even when not required.

You've seen dogs all your life. Do you know the different breeds by sight and their characteristics? Answer the questions we've come up with and see how much you know about our canine friends!


The American Kennel Club lists these floppy-eared pooches as their smallest sporting spaniels with a height of about 14 to 15 inches. Their name comes from a bird they were originally supposed to hunt: a woodcock.

Sometimes called "aristocratic" by their owners, the German Shorthaired Pointer is an able assistant to hunters. Despite their nobility, they will retrieve or help to catch their prey.

Lord Tweedmouth of Scotland set out to make the perfect hunting dog so he started with a Yellow Retriever and a Tweed Water Spaniel. Over time, the dog we now know as the Golden Retriever came to be.

Originating in Newfoundland, Labrador Retrievers are now some of the most popular dogs in America. Since they're water dogs, they are excellent swimmers and ideal to be the first mate on a fishing trip.

The Vizsla, or Hungarian Pointer, were travelers who traveled great distances quickly. Over time, they slowed down to lead a more refined existence with Hungarian nobles and warlords.

Many years ago, Irish setters worked with falcons and net-wielding hunters to find game birds. They were bred to be fast and cover miles of flat terrain, which gives them their sleek look.

In the 1800s, Weimaraners were trained by German aristocrats to be mighty hunters to help their humans track down bears, mountain lions, and wolves. Later, they were used for hunting game birds.

Bernese Mountain Dogs were on the decline in the late 1800s. But lovers of the breed got together to turn it around. The made a comeback in Switzerland and made their way to the US in 1926.

Boxers get their names because when they play or defend themselves, they look like a prizefighter sparring. Job-wise, they've done it all and are now in the top 10 of most popular breeds in America.

A banished aristocrat in Japan convinced other aristocrats to engage in a friendly competition of breeding a champion hunting dog. Years of meticulous breeding produced the Akita, a strong hunter who worked in packs.

Alaskan malamutes pull heavy loads in packs at a slow speed over long distances. Their name comes from the Mahlemiut tribe of Alaska. They are cousins of Samoyeds and Siberian Huskies.

The original Cane Corsos were like kamikaze fighters charging in a blaze of glory in their native Italy. After they were no longer needed for war, these dogs settled into hunting, farming, and herding.

Historically, Mastiffs have been used mostly in war, going as far back in England as the invasion of Julius Caesar. After World War II, there were only 14 were left in the country, but US breeders helped rebuild the population by shipping some back.

Newfoundlands are natural born swimmers with the webbed feet to prove it. These powerful beasts have been known to save grown men from drowning and are the ultimate water-rescue dog the world over.

Great Pyrenees herded in the mountains along the French and Spanish border they share a name with. Their main job was watching and protecting the flock from natural predators or thieves.

The Brussels Griffon was the rat exterminator of Belgium in the 1800s. When the Queen of Belgium developed a fondness for the breed that altered their destiny to the proper lapdogs they have become.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a royal lineage like the name suggests. The breed was named after 17th-century monarch King Charles II ,who was an avid breeder of these canines.

The Chihuahua's ancestors date back to before the Aztecs. From the time of the Aztecs to the Spanish conquest, this dog was highly prized for just being its showy little self.

Historians believe that Maltese dogs arrived in the Italian island of Malta by way of the Phoenicians. This breed became a companion to aristocrats from that time on. During the Roman Empire, it was known as the "Roman Ladies' Dog."

Chinese Crested dogs may go as far back as the Chinese civilization itself, some 3,000 years. They were originally used on Chinese merchant ships for rat catching. Their travels took them all over the world.

Yorkshire Terriers or "Yorkies" had humble beginnings working in coal mines as the local exterminator. That shifted when ladies in the elite circles made them their furry companions.

Shih Tzus were literally bred in the lap of luxury by the Imperial breeders of Chinese Emperors who rewarded them handsomely for the best dogs. The general public didn't even know they existed until the 1920s.

American Water Spaniels were bred to be a kind of jack-of-all-trades hunting dog in the Great Lakes of Wisconsin and Minnesota. They were trained to snatch birds from the water and land.

Pomeranian pups were bred down from their original purpose of being sled dogs in the Arctic. The smaller size was fit for a queen, and Queen Victoria took a liking to the breed, making it popular.

Afghan Hounds were hunting dogs and companions for royals and aristocrats. They are excellent hunters due to their far-reaching vision and speed. Some canine experts believe them to be the oldest of pure breeds.

The Basenji, the "Barkless Dog" of Africa is the ultimate companion on safari or any other hunting expedition. Their combination of excellent eyesight, smell, and speed make them a triple threat as a hunting dog.

Basset hounds were bred as scent hounds in France and Belgium. The scent of the Basset Hound is so keen that their tracking ability is only rivaled by the Bloodhound. They became the preferred breed for French aristocrats on their frequent hunting excursions.

What made Beagles so special as hunting dogs was their being what is called a "foot hound." It was easier for hunters of all ages and athletic abilities to keep up with a pack of Beagles making a horse unnecessary.

Bloodhounds were bred in Western Europe by monks for the current bishop. Renowned for their scent, these dogs are used by law enforcement worldwide to track humans, and these tenacious pooches will see it through to the end.

Bluetick Coonhounds are known as scent hounds. They can use their keen sense of smell to track down their prey over great distances. American frontiersman used them to track raccoon.

Airedales started as hunters in the Aire Valley of England but switched over to serving in the British Armed Forces. During World War I, this breed served as guard dogs, sentries, and messengers.

Being the fastest dog around helped the Greyhound when this swift dog had to chase other animals around the desert in Egypt. Since then, they have been a competitive breed in dog shows around the country.

The Miniature Schnauzer was bred outside of the British Isles, unlike other terrier breeds. This dog was bred smaller in Germany for rat catching. Now, it's a companion and show dog.

Australian Shepherds were groomed for centuries to be the ultimate herding dog. They started in the Pyrenees, then Australia, and, finally, to California. They settled into a ranch life and even perform in rodeos.

It's all in the name. Rat Terriers were, of course, bred to kill rats on the farm. However, their skill set was expanded to include hunting and hen and home protection.

The Borzoi was part of wolf hunting events in Romanov Russia. The nobles would have as many as 100 of these dogs in their entourage ready to join in the hunt. These hunting extravaganzas were quite lavish.

The full name of this breed is Bouvier des Flandres, meaning the "cowherd of Flanders." These dogs did more than just watch cows. They pulled carts and watched other animals on the farm as well.

Border Collies have herded livestock in Scotland and Wales for centuries. They are a cross between Roman and Viking breeds. These dogs are considered the best herders because of their speed, running style, brilliance and energy.

Belgian Malinois dogs are serious about their work. They are determined, hard-workers who just want to do their jobs. These qualities made them excellent herders of livestock and now, police dogs.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis actually drive herds by nipping at the heels of the livestock, hence the name heeler. They drove the herds during the day. Then, at night, they kept watch over it.

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