13 dog breeds with fun name origins

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These stout, low-slung dogs are of French origin. They were used for hunting—especially badgers and rabbits—in France since medieval times. The name, which goes back to the early 1600s, was a direct reference to the dog’s low-slung appearance: bas means “low” in French, and the et suffix is simply a diminutive, so basset basically means “little low dog.”

13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name OriginsiStock/jean frooms

Ancient Romans traveled throughout Europe with large, powerful cattle-herding dogs.

Centuries later, during the Middle Ages, butchers in the city of Rottweil (in what is now southern Germany) used descendants of those dogs as guard dogs, and they became known as Rottweiler Metzgerhunds—or “Rottweil butcher dogs.” That was later shortened to just “rottweiler.” Don't miss these astounding secrets all dogs know about their owners.

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“Husky” is a general name for several types of Arctic-based sled dogs, although there are a few recognized breeds that use the name, including the Siberian Husky and Greenland Husky. The term “husky” originated in the mid-1800s as a derivation of “hoskey dog,” or “esky dog”: both as variations of “Eskimo dog.” (Eskimo people are more properly known today as Inuit.)

13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name OriginsiStock/Roman_Gorielov

The famously spotted Dalmatian was named in the early 1800s, after the region where it was believed to have been first spotted, er, bred: Dalmatia, on the Adriatic Sea coast of Croatia.

13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name OriginsiStock/Ksenia Raykova

These small terriers originate in the Scottish Highlands, where they were bred to hunt small pests, such as rats and mice. A common feature in the Highlands: cairns—large man-made stone piles, which were used as landmarks and memorials.

These tough little terriers were known for their ability to rouse prey from those cairns, hence their name. “Terrier” comes from the old French chien terrier, literally “earth dog.

” Never heard of the cairn terrier? You’ve almost certainly seen one: A cairn terrier named Terry played a little doggie named Toto in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz.

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The swift, long-legged Weimaraner was bred for hunting—by royalty and royalty only—in the early 1800s. They were named for one of their early enthusiasts, the Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar. (Today, Weimar is a state in central Germany.) Make sure you know these sure signs that a dog trusts you.

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The Chinese call this large, fuzzy, black-tongued dog songshi quan, or “puffy-lion dog.

” The name “chow chow” is a nonsense word, a pidgin English term that was once applied to all knick-knacks and goods from china, probably because the Chinese names were too difficult for English-speaking people to pronounce. So when the dogs were first introduced to Great Britain in the 1880s—they were called “chow chow,” too … and the name stuck.

13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name OriginsiStock/debibishop

The German schnauzer is known for its distinctively long, squarish snout—and that’s where they got their name: the German word for “snout” is Schnauze. You'll want to follow these tips to becoming a dog's favorite human.

13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name OriginsiStock/bpretorius

The name “beagle” first entered the English language
 in the late 1400s. According to etymologists (and the American Kennel club) it came from the old French word beeguele, or begueule—meaning “wide open throat,” or “gaping throat,” probably because of the beagle’s tendency to howl at its prey while on a hunt.

Top Dog Names

Folks, the results are in. After years of caring for all kinds of pooches, Mad Paws Pet Sitting has revealed Australia’s 100 Top Dog Names. 

The list stems from a database of over 500,000 Australian pets, and is Australia’s largest ever pet index. From thirst-piquing drinks to names you’d find in your Facebook friends list, this list draws inspiration from some surprising places. We also unveil Australia’s most popular dog breeds, but don’t expect to find an Oodle in the top three.  

Want to see if your dog’s name or breed rated a mention? Read on! 

13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name Origins

10 Top Dog Names for Males 

  • #1 Charlie
  • #2 Max
  • #3 Buddy
  • #4 Oscar
  • #5 Milo
  • #6 Archie
  • #7 Ollie
  • #8 Toby
  • #9 Jack
  • #10 Teddy

10 Top Dog Names for Females

  1. #1 Bella
  2. #2 Molly
  3. #3 Coco
  4. #4 Ruby
  5. #5 Lucy
  6. #6 Bailey
  7. #7 Daisy
  8. #8 Rosie
  9. #9 Lola
  10. #10 Frankie

For the third year in a row, the name Bella claimed the title of Australia’s most popular dog name. Indeed, with the exception of Victoria (in which Charlie proved to be the #1 top dog name), Bella earned the top ranking in every state and territory. All hail Bella. Long may she reign. 

Clink clink, let’s drink

In a thirst-quenching turn of events, Australian Dog Owners have revealed a love of drink-inspired dog names. In fact, one third of the Top 15 dog names were inspired by drinks.

Interestingly, this pattern doesn’t continue among the lower ranked names. This suggests that, as far as dogs and drinks are concerned, Australian Dog Owners have an “all or nothing” policy.

Condiments also made a cameo, with “Pepper” and “Chilli” taking the 32st and 95th spots, respectively.   

13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name Origins

Compared to earlier top dog names lists, the popularity of pop culture-inspired names saw a decline. Amidst the Top 20 Names, pop culture references were conspicuously absent.

However, pop culture does still hold some sway over naming choices in the Top 100. 

(NB: we’re glad to see Simba and Nala rank in the Top 100. Thanks to the live-action remake of The Lion King, they’ll surely remain popular in Australia for some time!)  

13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name OriginsWhen it comes to surging trends among dog monikers, Australia has seen a tidal wave of human names. It’s a pattern that walks hand-in-hand with the growing role dogs play in the lives of their Owners. With more and more Millennials opting for animals over children, dogs are increasingly evolving into companions for their Owners. As such, Pet Owners are now humanising their dogs more than ever. By the same token, classic dog names are far less prevalent than you might expect. The usual suspects, such as “Rover” and “Fido”, didn’t earn a single ranking in the 100 Top Dog Names. 13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name Origins

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Top Dog Breeds

While Poodle-crosses seem to be everywhere, it was the ever-loving Labrador Retriever that took the top dog breeds spot. Moreover, larger and more outdoorsy dog breeds enjoyed a surge in popularity across the board. This follows the country’s “micro dog wave”, which was a response to more compact living conditions for the average Australian.

 The prevalence of more outdoor-oriented breeds could suggest a move towards a more active lifestyle for the average Dog Owner. #2 Staffordshire Bull Terrier #7 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel #9 American Staffordshire TerrierBelow we’ve listed Australia’s top dog names.

If you grew up in Australia, you could be forgiven for thinking you were looking at your high school year book. 

100 Top Dog Names



Jack Russell Terrier Dog Breed – Facts and Traits

Jack Russell Terrier At a glance 13 Dog Breeds with Fun Name Origins

Training cannot eliminate the hunting instinct from the Jack Russell. This dog instinctively sees the family cat or hamster as prey.

Weight Range:

Male: 13-17 lbs. Female: 13-17 lbs.

  • Height at Withers:
  • Male: 14
  • Female: 13


Exercise Requirements: 40 minutes/day Energy Level: Very energetic Longevity Range: 13-15 yrs. Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: Low Tendency to Bark: High Tendency to Dig: High Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Fox hunting


Length: Short Characteristics: Double coat, flat, hard coat Colors: White, white with black or tan markings Overall Grooming Needs: Low

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Terrier UKC Classification: Terrier Prevalence: Common

The Jack Russell terrier comes in three different coat types: smooth, broken and rough (coarse, longer straight hair). All the coats tend to shed. Jack Russells are white with black or tan markings.

The supposed origins of 18 popular dog breed names

Apart from their given name, a dog's breed is undoubtedly what makes them unique. Everything from defining personality traits to their physical stature can be determined by a dog's specific breed.

Although the origins of most breed names are speculative and a bit ambiguous, many dog breed names could have fascinating and even heroic origins. 

Here's how 18 popular dog breeds supposedly got their name. 

They didn't have an official breed name for hundreds of years. Getty Images

According to The Smithsonian website, the breed name for these big dogs stems from their record of rescuing monks and other travelers in the Alps during several harrowing blizzards throughout the 18th century. St. Bernard Pass is the name of a large stretch that people crossed to get between Switzerland and Italy but sometimes would get lost in. 

Supposedly, in the 18th century, the monks at St. Bernard hospice kept these dogs as companions but they later discovered the dog's useful ability to find people who were stuck in the snow and help keep them warm during a rescue. 

Of course, those who lived back then didn't call these pups Saint Bernards. They technically didn't have an official name for hundreds of years until some started calling them Barry Dogs as a tribute to one legendary St. Bernard who supposedly saved more than 40 humans in his lifetime.

In 1880, the Swiss Kennel Club finally settled on the official name we know today.

More: Features Dogs Pets Dog breeds

How 13 Dog Breeds Got Their Names

Every dog owner knows why they gave their dog its name, but how well do you know the story behind their breed names? Let's take a look at where a handful of common breeds found their monikers.

1. Jack Russell Terrier

Yep, Jack Russell was a real guy. John Russell was born in Dartmouth, England in 1795, and over the years he became quite a hunting enthusiast.

While he was studying to become a clergyman at Oxford, he met a milkman who had a white terrier bitch named Trump who seemed to be the perfect dog for fox hunting.

After convincing the milkman to sell him the dog, Russell began breeding Trump to develop a line of terriers with the stamina to hunt foxes all day and the courage to go after game that had slipped into holes.

Russell actually has two dogs named after him. We're all familiar with the Jack Russell terrier, but the Parson Russell terrier, a similar breed with longer legs, also takes its name from Russell and is recognized as a separate breed.

2. Lhasa Apso

The little dog's name sounds funny, but its origins are pretty straightforward.

The Lhasa Apso was originally bred as a watchdog for Tibetan palaces and monasteries; it was hard for an intruder to sneak in past the watchful, yipping pooches.

The “Lhasa” in the name comes from the city of Lhasa, Tibet's longtime capital. Apso is a Tibetan word meaning “bearded,” so the breed's name signifies that it's a longhaired dog that originated in Tibet.

3. Basset Hound

The lovable big-eared hounds don't get their name from a person named Basset. Rather, “Basset” comes from the French word bas for “low” and refers to the dogs' low-slung statures.

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4. Cairn Terrier

45 Best Large Dog Breeds – Top Big Dogs List and Pictures

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Looking to adopt a new furry friend into the family? Bigger isn't always better, of course, but when it comes to finding your perfect canine companion, a teeny-tiny Chihuahua won't exactly cut it as a jogging partner.

Typically tipping the scales at 50-80 pounds (although some varieties may skew slightly larger or smaller), these big dog breeds are great for if you want an active exercise pal or a pet that's easy to train — plus, they can make great cuddle partners and lovable family dogs, too!

Before adopting a large dog, anticipate the time and budget that you can realistically provide for your pet. Owning a dog can cost about $15,000 or more over its lifetime, according to the American Kennel Club. That money can go towards veterinary visits, grooming, and food, just to name a few preliminary expenses.

All large breeds will require more kibble, but a Poodle, for example, will need more frequent haircuts than a Boxer. A highly active breed will also demand a lot more exercise versus the couch potatoes of the dog world, but all pups deserve basic obedience training, regular walks, and obviously your love and attention.

And if you're looking for a pet that's more lap-sized, check out these small and medium-sized dog breeds. Curious about the biggest, most giant dog breeds? These pups weigh in the 75-150 pound range (or more!).

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Bernese Mountain Dog

These dogs may be one of the largest dog breeds, but they're truly gentle giants with a sweet, calm, and affectionate nature. Bernese Mountain Dogs are also eager to please, which mean they're typically easy to train.

Weight: 70-115 pounds

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Among the rarest of dog breeds, Chinooks were first bred to be all-purpose sled dogs. They're known to be devoted family pets that are intelligent and patient — plus, they're also the official state dog of New Hampshire!

Weight: 50-90 pounds

RELATED: 13 Rare Dog Breeds That Make the Best Pets

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Despite their funny-sounding names, Hovawarts are highly intelligent, devoted canines that not only are outstanding family pets, but also make great search-and-rescue dogs (thanks to their good noses).

Weight: 65-90 pounds

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Pitbull Terrier

These super-athletic dogs are fun, loyal companions that are surprisingly gentle and patient with all of their family members.

Weight: 30-80 pounds

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Known for their famous “Sammy smile” due to their perpetually upturned mouths, Samoyeds are smart, fun-loving dogs who sport a stunning white coat (which sheds a lot!). This highly energetic breed also needs vigorous exercise, as they were originally bred to herd reindeer and haul sledges.

Weight: 35-65 pounds

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Airedale Terrier

As the largest terrier breed, Airedales convey the alert, fearless attitude of the group on a supersized scale. They can also carry some of the same stubbornness, but that determination is what makes them such popular and spirited companions.

Weight: 50-70 pounds

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Afghan Hound

Sweet and silly, these endearing hounds originated in the mountainous region of Afghanistan. Their silky, fine coat served as protection from the cold at high altitudes, and it requires plenty of grooming.

Weight: 50-60 pounds

RELATED: Adorable Hypoallergenic Dogs That Don't Shed

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Alaskan Malamute

By nature, Malamutes are friendly toward humans. They need a pack leader to set the standard, so stick to a training regimen early on.

Weight: 75-80 pounds

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American Staffordshire Terrier

People-oriented Am Staffs are both intelligent guardians and natural clowns. They can be a bit strong-headed and do best when they're made part of the family.

Weight: 40-70 pounds

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Australian Shepherd

With a background in herding, Aussies live to work (or play) thanks to a tireless drive. They're keenly intelligent and loyal, making them extremely receptive to training. Be prepared to provide an an hour or more of active exercise daily.

Weight: 40-70 pounds

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Belgian Malinois

These herders are incredibly smart and loyal protectors, which explains why they're the preferred breed for the military and Secret Service. Understandably, Mals require plenty of exercise and stimulation, and they're happiest with a job to do.

Weight: 40-80 pounds

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Belgian Sheepdog

Bright and loyal, these canines worked during World War I as message carriers and ambulance dogs. Today the herders are known for being versatile, good with children, and protective.

Weight: 45-75 pounds

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Belgian Tervuren

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Boxers are affectionate and loyal to no end. They're suspicious of strangers, but highly intelligent and willing to please when it comes to training.

Weight: 50-80 pounds

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These dignified hounds, also known as Russian wolfhounds, are independent and surprisingly affectionate. The Russian aristocracy bred them for hundreds of years to hunt — you guessed it — wolves, and they can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

Weight: 60-105 pounds

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Bull Terrier

Charming and mischievous, bull terriers may appear intimidating but they're actually extremely friendly, playful, and sometimes goofy. Another plus? The extremely short coat requires little grooming.

Weight: 50-70 pounds

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Chinese Shar-Pei

Behind all of those wrinkles is an excellent watchdog and a devoted family member. That said, Shar-Peis stay suspicious of strangers and other dogs, prizing loyalty above all else.

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Weight: 45-60 pounds

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Chow Chow

Martha Stewart is famously a fan of this dignified breed. Despite their powerful appearance, Chows require only moderate exercise — making them adaptable to city life.

Weight: 45-70 pounds

RELATED: 15 Best Apartment Dogs for City Dwellers

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Collies exhibit the qualities of loyalty, intelligence, and gentleness, and live up to their “hero” reputation from Lassie. A desire to please is hard-wired in the collie's genetic makeup. They're easy to train but tend to bark.

Weight: 50-75 pounds

RELATED: 40 Famous Dogs From Movies and TV Shows Who Stole Our Hearts

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Chesapeake Bay Retriever

This devoted and loyal companion craves personal attention. They'll tolerate roughhousing from children, especially those willing to play. They tend to be sharper than other retriever breeds.

Weight: 55-80 pounds

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Curly-Coated Retriever

Tremendously intelligent, these retrievers are both hard workers and affectionate family dogs. As for that dense coat, the tight curls allow them to swim in cold water.

Weight: 60-95 pounds

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You don't have to own 101 of them to enjoy this breed. Dalmatians bring an enviable athleticism to the table if you're looking for a workout buddy. They also possess a protective instinct, so count on them to act more as watchdogs than a welcome committee.

Weight: 45-70 pounds

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Doberman Pinscher

This alert watchdog is loving and loyal to its master but offers a challenge to strangers. Quick in mind and body, they require vigorous exercise every day, preferably in a large, fenced-in area.

Weight: 60-100 pounds

RELATED: 13 Best Guard Dogs to Protect Your Family and Home

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English Foxhound

Bred to run in a pack for miles, these traditional hunting dogs have incredible endurance and a noble stature. They make for excellent hiking and jogging companions.

Weight: 60-75 pounds

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English Setter

English setters are both mellow and merry, and can be identified by their unique speckled coats. The dogs' gentle and affectionate demeanor makes them great family pets, but they do require plenty of exercise.

Weight: 45-80 pounds

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Flat-Coated Retriever

Unsurprisingly, flat-coated retrievers are closely related to their more popular Lab counterparts, but they have a longer coat and leaner silhouette. Bright and eager-to-please, they can easily become a part of the family.

Weight: 60-70 pounds

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German Shepherd

Loyal, loving, obedient, and protective, German shepherds can make wonderful pets if they're properly trained. Most form a very strong emotional bond with their owners. They tend to possess a lot of energy that they need to exert regularly.

Weight: 50-90 pounds

RELATED: The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the Country

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German Shorthaired Pointer

GSPs are even-tempered and sensible, but their boundless energy can become destructive if they're not given ample time to exercise. They're intelligent and very trainable.

Weight: 45-70 pounds

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German Wirehaired Pointer

Equally adept on land and water, these enthusiastic hunting dogs are both affectionate and eager. They're a bit taller and heavier than their shorthaired cousins, and of course possess an adorable shaggy look.

Weight: 50-70 pounds

50 Fitting Names for British and Irish Dog Breeds

Choosing a name for your new dog can be difficult when there are so many options to consider. If your pooch happens to have British or Irish origins, you might think about a moniker that fits their European roots.

  In case you didn't know, the British Isles and Ireland once produced numerous dog breeds, most of which are still extremely popular family pets today. Many of these breeds, including terriers, spaniels, and retrievers, were working or sporting dogs that were important assets of life in 19th-century Britain.

Even if fox hunts and herding cattle won't be a part of your pup's daily routine, these breed facts and names are a fun source of inspiration as you prepare for your new pet.

So, which pups hail from Northern Europe? Quite a few, actually, all from the terriers, the sporting, the working, and the herding breeds. Here are all the different types of dogs from Ireland or the British Isles.

From the largest terrier (Airedale) to the smallest (Yorkshire), all terriers except for schnauzers were bred in the British Isles or Ireland.

This group of dogs includes many hounds, spaniels, setters, and retrievers that were used to hunt game on land and in the water. The breeds that hail from the British Isles include golden retrievers, English cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, Irish setters, flat-coated retrievers, Gordon setters, and English setters.

These dogs helped control livestock, such as sheep and cattle, on farms and in rural areas. These breeds include border collies, bearded collies, rough collies, and corgis.

If you have a male canine, browse through these options. For determined dogs, we recommend Conor (strong-willed), Bran (strong), or Brady (spirited).

Meaning: Little fiery one

Meaning: Variation of Alfred, which means sage or wise

Meaning: Variant of Coburn

Meaning: Young child, peaceful dove

Meaning: From the hill fort

Meaning: From the marshes

Meaning: From the river island

Meaning: From the olive tree, symbolizing fruitfulness and dignity

Check out these selections for female pups. If your pet exudes royalty, you might think about naming them Kerry (dark princess) or Rhiannon (sacred queen).

Meaning: Strong, ascending

Meaning: Variation of Ellen, shining light

Meaning: Blessed reconciliation

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