Do You Know What These Dog Breeds Were Bred For?



By: Sameena Mughal

6 Min Quiz

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!

These dogs were originally bred to be hunting dogs, but now they're more for company. Can you name them?

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.


This sporty dog was used to work outdoors in a field or near water. What do you call it?

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.


Do you know the name of this breed that was developed to be the ideal hunting dog in Scotland?

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.


Can you name these dogs who were able-bodied assistants to fisherman and sniffed out duck?

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.


Originally, this breed was trained to keep up with Hungarian bandits on their travels. Can you tell us its name?

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.


You've heard of bird feeders. These dogs were used as bird finders. Do you know their names?

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.


What are these dogs called who were bred to be the ultimate hunting machine in Germany?

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.


This Switzerland native was bred to herd cattle and protect livestock. What's it called?

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.


Do you know this German powerhouse whose original job was to hunt big game?

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.


What do you call this Japanese import bred for pack-hunting?

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.


On Dancer! Can you tell us the name of this Arctic sled dog?

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.


These dogs of war were used to charge the enemy with flaming oil jars strapped to them. What are they called?

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.


These English dogs used for hunting, protection, and war are called what?

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.


What is this dog called that was bred to be a canine lifeguard?

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.


This European dog's purpose was herding in the mountains. Can you name it?

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.


This pint-sized powerhouse was used to catch rats. Do you know its name?

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.


What is this English aristocrat companion called?

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.


This Aztec treasure was bred for companionship. Can you tell us what its name is?

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.


What do you call this dog that has been a symbol of nobility for centuries?

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."


This dog was used to catch rats on ships. Do you know its name?

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.


Can you tell us the name of this small pooch that started off catching rodents?

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.


This lapdog was the best kept secret of the Chinese emperors. What's it called?

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.


Frontiersmen bred these dogs for hunting on land and water. Do you know the name?

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.


Can you tell us the name of this dog whose ancestors were bred for sledding?

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.


This all-seeing Asian hunter goes by what name?

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.


"Might as well jump." These dogs were trained to jump high to stalk their prey. Can you name them?

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.


These dogs bred for hunting rabbit are called what?

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.


Do you know the name of this English dog bred to hunt rabbit?

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.


This dog was bred to trail man or beast. What's it called?

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.


What is the name of this American hunting dog?

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.


Can you tell us the name of this dog who was bred to hunt duck and rats in merry old England?

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.


This hound hunted for pharaohs. Can you name it?

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.


This breed was developed for catching rats in barns. Do you know what the name is?

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.


This dog was bred for a ranch life of herding. What's it called?

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.


Do you know the name of this dog who was an all-purpose farm hand?

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.


What is this wolf hunter called?

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.


Can you tell us the name of this cattle herder?

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.


These Roman herding dogs are called what?

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.


What's the name of this European cattle dog?

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.


Can you name this low-riding heeler?

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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