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It’s all in the name!

24 June 2016

Did you know that according to the World Canine Organisation, there are over 340 different breeds of dog, with 215 of those breeds recognised by The Kennel Club? Don't forget to post a photo of your dog on our Facebook page – whether you have one of the breeds below or not – we love looking at photos of your pets.


English Setter

English Setter
The English Setter is one of the oldest breeds of gundog, with a history that can be traced back to the 14th Century. Originally known as the Setting Spaniel, it was used for finding and setting birds for hunters and then driving them into nets. In the late 18th Century, as guns began to replace nets, the term Setting Spaniel was replaced by that of Setter.

Original Setters were owned by noble families and were kept for their working ability. There is no evidence of where these dogs originated, but it is likely that some were brought back from the Continent (Europe/Asia) following wars during those times. The Setters did not separate into the breeds we know today until the 19th century, although there were various recognised strains of Setter, named after the aristocratic families who kept them, namely Laverack Setters and Llewellin Setters.



Bred for hunting deer and wild boar, since the Middle Ages these dogs have been used for tracking people too and are famous for their ability to follow human scent over great distances, even days later.

References to Bloodhounds first appear in English writing in the mid 14th Century and suggest that the breed was already well-established by then. Some claim William the Conqueror brought over its ancestors from Normandy, although there is no evidence of this. There are stories of both William Wallace and Robert the Bruce being followed by ‘sleuth hounds’, as they were also called.

The number of Bloodhounds in European countries is relatively low. There are more in the USA than anywhere else, although when they were first exported there is unknown. It is thought that they were used to track runaway slaves prior to the American Civil War, but there is no evidence that these dogs were definitely Bloodhounds. The Americans have, however, used them in recent years to track lost people and criminals – with brilliant success – in fact, they have the National Police Bloodhound Association to support the work of the outstanding Bloodhounds and their expert handlers.


Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog
The earliest record of the Portuguese Water Dog was found in the journals of monks way back in the 11th century where they referred to these dogs swimming to the aid of a man drowning after a ship wreck. Although the exact origins are unknown, the Poodle, Puli, the Kerry Blue Terrier and the Portuguese Water Dog are thought to have descended from the same strains of herding and working dogs that originally came from Asian countries.

King Carlos I became a lover of the breed in the late 1800’s and through him, the popularity of the Portuguese Water Dog soared. During the 1930's a wealthy Portuguese Shipping heir, Vasco Bensaude, purchased examples of this breed from local fishermen and started a breeding programme, with one notable dog called 'Leao', to whom many modern Portuguese Water Dogs can trace their lineage back to.

Now a relatively rare breed of dog (their popularity never really recovered after the World Wars), these calm, intelligent, friendly dogs make excellent family pets. Indeed because of their lovely nature, they make ideal therapy or assistance dogs.