Where Do Dog Breed Names Come From?

I thought this was really interesting…

What’s in a name? We’re exploring the origins and names of your favorite breeds. 

By 

posted to Blog by Randi Case, DC  CCSP

A dog breed’s name may reveal something about his origins, his intended work, or perhaps the person instrumental in developing the breed. Other times, a breed’s name is just a name… and occasionally a confusing one at that.

Australian Shepherds

For centuries, dog breeds have been named after geographical areas, the dog’s working purposes, or his appearance. For example, a Pointer points, a Shetland Sheepdog hails from the Shetland Islands, and the Curly Coated Retreiver has (surprise!): a curly coat. Other correlations between breeds and their names aren’t quite so straightforward. But what’s in a name after all. Wouldn’t a breed — by any other name, smell as sweet?

Affenpinscher: The name Affenpinscher loosely translates to Monkey Terrier. Let’s leave it up in the air if Affenpinschers look like monkeys. Suffice it to say, owners concur that the dogs are as clever and impish as monkeys.

American Eskimo Dog: Descending from European Spitz breeds, the American Eskimos Dog was developed for attractiveness and liveliness. Despite the name, the dog was not bred by northern Native Americans, but rather by German immigrants. (Maybe we Americans simply like to lay claim to lovely breeds!)

Anatolian Shepherd: The Anatolian Shepherd originated in the ancient land of Anatolia, now known as Turkey. Anatolia derives from the Greek word “anatole,” or “the East” or “sunrise.” The breed’s serious name corresponds to his serious purpose: shepherding and protecting in Anatolia. They certainly weren’t developed as a sporty playmate; their guardian/frontline defense role was critical to the survival of the shepherds, their families, and their livestock.

Australian Cattle Dog: Similarly accurately named, the ACD was developed in Australia to control cattle. The breed is sometimes referred to as a Blue (or Red) Heeler, because they move reluctant cattle by nipping at their heels, and because their coat coloring gives the overall appearance of red or blue.

Australian Shepherd: Now, just when we’re on an Australian accuracy roll, we move to the confusion. The Aussie was developed for herding livestock and all around ranch work, but not in the land down under. In fact, the Aussie is Made in America. Gobsmacked by this news? Your astonishment is justifiable. (well, history does suggest that the Australian title is connected to sheep herds brought in from Australia).

Australian Terrier: Bred to accompany Australian settlers on chores and keep their barns clear of rodents and snakes, the agile hard working Australian Terrier is both from Australia and a Terrier. So two for two with name accuracy.

Beagle: A lovable scent hound and popular companion, the Beagle’s name may derive from the French “begueule,” meaning open throat/mouth, or a Gaelic blend of the word “beag,” meaning little. Since we can’t pinpoint the exact derivation of the word Beagle, let’s talk instead about one of the world’s most famous Beagles, Snoopy. Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz’ Snoopy character was based on his beloved childhood dog, Spike. Now that’s a beguiling Beagle derivation tale to share.

Boston Terrier:  Often deemed the American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier was indeed bred in the stables of Boston. But he’s not in the Terrier Group, so the name Terrier is perhaps confusing. Developed from bully breeds and Terriers, the Boston Terrier is in the American Kennel Club’s Non-Sporting group. {Let’s concede the name “Boston Non Sporting” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue like “Boston Terrier” does!}

Catahoula Leopard Dog: We need to wander deep into the swamps of Louisiana to track down the origins of the Catahoula Leopard Dog. If you’re looking for Leopards, though, you’re off trail. The name Catahoula itself (possibly a mispronunciation of “Couthaougoula”) – is of Choctaw Indian origin, and loosely translates to “sacred lake.” The leopard in the name refers to the color patterns. The tough and adaptable Catahoula did, however, take on large animals such as wild hogs.

Chow Chow: An ancient breed with a lion-like scowl, the Chow Chow was developed in China as an all-around working dog. Presumably sailors bringing the dogs back to England gave the breed the Chow Chow name — as slang for cargo items, including the dogs.  Other explanations concerning the possible origin of the name seem more respectful, especially for such a confident, capable, and ancient breed of dog. We may never have the mystery altogether solved.

Dalmatian: The early Dalmatian worked sentinel duty on the Dalmatia border, the area on the eastern coast of Adriatic Sea. The name Dalmatia came from an ancient people called the Dalmatae. But today the breed is typically more recognized for either his spots or for running alongside fire-equipment carriages. And I’m guessing more of us can sing some of Cruella de Ville from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians than point to the ancient Dalmatia border on a map.

Dachshund:Merging the scrappiness of terriers and the tracking skills of hound breeds, the Germans developed the Dachshund centuries ago to hunt badgers. The dog’s development may have been complicated (their long bodies aided hunting in burrows), but the Germans stuck to a simple name. The dog breed that hunted badgers was called, most appropriately, a Badger Dog (aka, a Dachshund).

Doberman Pinscher: One of only a few breeds named for a person, the Doberman was named after Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a late 19th century German tax collector bothered by robbers. Dobermann developed the breed for both protection and companionship. The second “N” got dropped along the way.

Glen of Imaal Terrier: This spunky Irish-born Terrier was developed as an all-around farm dog, ratter, and (fact or legend, it makes a great story!) a turnspit dog to keep the kitchen rotisserie turning. The breed originated in the remote Glen (valley) of Imaal in the Wicklow Mountains. The name Imaal links to an Irish dynasty, the Uí Máil, who dominated the kingship of Leinster in the 7th century — until the Uí Dunlainge toppled them. Confused by all the Uí’s? Well, they do make for fun names for the little Glen Terriers….if you can learn to pronounce them.

Great Dane: Danes as we know them today were developed in Germany to hunt boar and protect estates. Despite the name, the Great Dane wasn’t developed in Denmark. In fact, the breed name comes apparently from a French naturalist, who saw the dogs in Denmark and called them Great Danish dogs. Note that Germans today call the breed Deutsche Dogge, or “German Dog.” Sounds like the Germans are spot-on with accuracy in this case!

Irish Setter: Renowned for his brilliant red coat, the Irish Setter was certainly bred in Ireland, and undoubtedly bred as a bird dog for setting. Name correctness? Check!

Parson Russell Terrier: The Parson Russell is a fox hunting terrier, aptly named for the Rev. John Russell. Who was this sporty Parson? He was the vicar of Swimbridge in 19th century England, but he’s more famous for developing Terriers than doctrine. Whether fact or fiction, it makes a good story that his sermons were short because he was eager to head off on the day’s hunt.

Plott Hound: The German Plott family of North Carolina bred hound dogs in the mountains to hunt bear. Since the dogs were Plott’s hounds, the breed became known as the Plott Hound. Not highly original, but as direct a correlation as it gets.

Pomeranian: The Pomeranian takes its name from Pomerania, where it was believed to have been developed from larger Nordic breeds to the size recognized today. Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. To learn more about it on the web, stay clear of distracting yet delicious-sounding Pomeranian Gingerbread recipes you’ll find (and I succumbed to!).

Rhodesian Ridgeback:  Developed in South Africa to hunt and guard, the courageous Rhodesian Ridgeback was later used (yes, in Rhodesia) to harass lions out of the bush, allowing big game hunters to take aim. The Ridgeback portion of the name stems from the distinct ridge of hair that grows backward on his back.

Rottweiler: Although the breed has origins with ancient Roman drover dogs, the Rottie hails from the areas of Rottweil, Germany. Rottweilers worked as all-around farm dogs and pulled carts for farmers who couldn’t afford horses or cows. A hard-working breed with a spot-on accurate name.

Saint Bernard: An 11th century monk named Bernard de Menthon founded a hospice in the Alps. The monks developed the Saint Bernard dogs in later centuries from local alpine mastiffs to work as watch and rescue dogs. As for the famous depiction of the dogs carrying casks of brandy….well, it may well be a creation of literature and art, but the image is too wonderful to toss out lightly.

Tosa Inu: So now we head to Japan to decipher the breed name Tosa Inu. Let’s start with the easy part: Inu means dog. Now pull out a map. Tosa is the name of the prefecture (state) on the smallest of Japanese islands, Shikoku. The Tosa, revered in Japan, has been around for many centuries. Plus he’s a dog with a history of strength, cultural ritual, and athleticism – loosely a parallel wrestling dog (complete with processions) to Japanese sumo wrestlers.

Xoloitzcuintli: An ancient Mexican breed, the revered Xoloitzcuintli chose their own unpronounceable name to keep humans humble. An alternative explanation is that they were named after an Aztec god associated with fire, lighting, and illness. Either way, the breed arguably wins for the most misspelled and hard-to-say dog name.

All Dogs May Go to Heaven. These Days, Some Go to Hospice

All Dogs May Go to Heaven. These Days, Some Go to Hospice.

Written by: Matt Richtel (Published: November 30, 2013)

More and more, cats and dogs get the human treatment. There are pet spas, pet therapists, pet clothes. And as it goes in life, so it now goes in the twilight. The latest phenomenon: pet hospice.

Denise Fitzmaurice, right, brought her 4-year-old dog, Sophie, to Dr. Michele Price’s mobile veterinary clinic for an examination.

Around the country, a growing number of veterinarians are offering hospice care, and marketing it as a way to give cats and dogs — and their owners — a less anxious, more comfortable passing.

The approach, in the spirit of the human variety, entails ceasing aggressive medical treatment and giving pain and even anti-anxiety drugs. Unlike in hospice care for humans, euthanasia is an option — and in fact, is a big part of this end-of-life turn. When it’s time, the vet performs it in the living room, bedroom or wherever the family feels comfortable.

That’s a big part of the job, the vets say, relieving pet owner guilt, giving them an emotional bridge to a pet’s death, and letting them grieve at home — rather than in a clinic or animal shelter. The intimacy carries a premium, sometimes costing 25 percent or more than euthanasia in a clinic. Vets, and their customers, say it can be worth it.

“They’re in their own environment, not only the pet but the owners,” said Dr. Mary Gardner, co-founder of Lap of Love, a Florida-based company that is one of the leaders in a small but growing market. “They’re allowed to have other animals present, other cats or dogs present, other children,” added Dr. Gardner, who refers to a pet’s owner as its “mom” or “dad,” and has since relocated her own practice to Los Angeles. “I’ve been to some homes where they had barbecues for that dog, and invited me and the neighbors, and the dog was the man of the hour.”

Lap of Love’s business has blossomed since 2010 from two providers to more than 68 vet partners in 18 states. The International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, a group started in 2009, now has 200 members, mostly vets, but also several family therapists, lawyers and an animal sanctuary in Northern California that takes in and provides holistic healing and hospice for terminally ill and elderly pets.

“There is a formal end-of-life movement, a formal hospice movement,” said Dr. Eden Myers, a veterinarian in Kentucky who runs JustVetData.com, which tracks industry trends. Of the providers who do this, she said: “They’re everywhere.”

Dr. Amir Shanan, a vet in Chicago who started the International Association for Animal Hospice, described the movement as growing, but still not mainstream; veterinary schools are only now embracing the idea. “There are skeptics out there,” he said. “But 20 years ago, there was almost no one other than skeptics, and that’s changing rapidly.”

There are no formal standards for this hospice care, and Dr. Shanan said there was a debate about what those standards should look like. “The core of the debate is who is to decide when is the right time to euthanize, if at all,” he said, noting that some hospice supporters advocate giving pets palliative care until they die naturally, as in human hospice.

Hospice and in-home euthanasia are different things. Their growth is owing to similar factors, says Dr. Myers, including a growing acceptance of hospice for humans, as well as cellphones, laptops and online marketing that make mobile vet services easier to operate. Plus, she said, more vets offer the services as a business alternative to the high cost of starting and maintaining a traditional clinic.

“And,” she added, “you’ve got people willing to spend scads of money on their pets.”

For pet owners, the financial implications of this end-of-life movement cut two ways. In one light, hospice can be seen as reducing the cost of aggressive medical care, or it can be seen as its own version of aggressive comfort care, at least when compared to euthanizing a pet sooner.

A hospice or euthanasia visit from Lap of Love generally costs $200 or $250, including drugs. Euthanasia at a clinic typically runs less, though prices vary widely, and is even less at a nonprofit shelter, like a local animal shelter. Some pet owners say costs are irrelevant given the peace of mind — their own.

“It was more for me than him,” said Jan Dorr, a bookkeeper in Boca Raton, Fla., who was an early Lap of Love customer in 2010. She’d spent $5,000 on chemotherapy for her chocolate lab, Darby, but the dog’s health continued to fail. When she heard about the idea of pet hospice, her reaction was positive; a year earlier, her own father died after a positive hospice experience. She called Dr. Gardner, who helped make Darby comfortable by increasing his pain medications, and giving Ms. Dorr a checklist of ways to recognize when it was time to let go, such as when Darby stopped eating, walking or interacting.

When Darby’s condition worsened just days later, the vet returned to perform euthanasia. Ms. Dorr lay down on her bed with Darby, hugging him. “She let me say when,” Ms. Dorr said, referring to the vet’s final injection. It was far preferable, she said, to the alternative: “I just couldn’t get it into my head to put him on a steel table in a cold room and let him go.”

Kathryn D. Marocchino, a professor of death and dying at California State University in Vallejo, who in 1996 founded the Nikki Hospice Foundation for Pets, said the end-of-life movement for pets addressed what she described as a “sense of coercion” faced by owners of sick pets forced to decide between aggressive treatment or euthanasia. She said that her group got calls from people thanking them, and saying things like: “Where were you 30 years ago? They made me kill my dog.”

Dr. Michele Price, a veterinarian in Northern Virginia whose in-home end-of-care business has doubled since 2009 to 20 percent of her practice, got a call recently about an ailing Labrador named Champ. She’d first seen the dog in August when his owners thought it was time to euthanize. But when Dr. Price got to the house, Champ was doing O.K., and she and the family decided on hospice treatment and pain meds. Later, Champ took a sharp downward turn and couldn’t walk. Dr. Price returned and they set up for the euthanasia.

Champ was on a quilt next to the fireplace when Dr. Price administered the initial sedation. “They hugged him, and told him what a good dog he was. They said, ‘We love you’ and ‘We’ll miss you,’ ” Ms. Price said of the dog’s owners. As for Champ, “He fell asleep. That’s the last thing he remembered.”

Dr. Mary Gardner, a veterinarian, co-founded an in-home pet hospice and euthanasia service called Lap of Love.

A version of this article appears in print on December 1, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: All Dogs May Go to Heaven. These Days, Some Go to Hospice..

Therapy dogs provide stressed travelers comfort at busy airports…

excerpted from a Daily News article of 5/29/2013…

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There’s a new breed of airport dog. They aren’t looking for drugs or bombs — they are looking for people who need a buddy, a belly to rub or a paw to shake.

“His job is to be touched,” volunteer Kyra Hubis said about Henry James, her 5-year-old golden retriever that works a few hours a week at the San Jose airport. “I am just standing there with him. They are talking to him. If I need to answer for him, I do. But I am at the end of his leash, he’s not at the end of mine.”

Mineta San Jose International Airport is widely credited with introducing the first airport therapy dog in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, when flights were grounded, passengers were stranded and reaching friends and relatives in the East was nearly impossible. Passengers were anxious and afraid.

Enter Orion, owned by a volunteer airport chaplain who got permission to bring the dog to work. He made such a difference that San Jose formalized the program and now has nine dogs. Miami International Airport got onboard the program with one and Los Angeles International Airport has 30 and is hoping to expand its program.

The dogs are intended to take the stress out of travel — the crowds, long lines and terrorism concerns.

You never know why people are flying, said Heidi Huebner, director of volunteers at LAX, which launched Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) in April. Travelers might be in town for a vacation, a funeral, to visit a sick family member or to attend a business meeting.

“You can literally feel the stress levels drop, people start smiling, strangers start talking to each other and everybody walks away feeling really, really good,” Huebner said.

Dogs have to be healthy, skilled, stable, well-mannered and able to work on a slack 4-foot leash, said Billie Smith, executive director of Wyoming-based Therapy Dogs, Inc., which certifies the LAX animals. They have to be comfortable with crowds, sounds, smells — and they need to pass through security like all airport workers.

Handlers are taught to watch for people who fear or dislike dogs or those who might have allergies. In most cases, people approach the dogs, identifiable by the vests or bandannas they wear.

Los Angeles’ dogs, which are featured on trading cards, are as varied as its airport passengers. There’s a long-haired Dalmatian, a Lab-pointer mix, a field spaniel, a poodle, three Australian Labradoodles, a Doberman and a 150-pound Irish wolfhound named Finn who has two tricks.

“He looks you in the eye and lays down on the job,” said owner Brian Valente. “When I’m around Finn, it makes me feel like things are OK. When Finn’s around other people, they are OK. It’s almost instant, even if just for a moment,” Valente said.

Miami’s sole dog, Casey, a 4-year-old golden retriever, is a star. She has her own website, fan mail, business cards and a role on “Airport 24/7: Miami,” a weekly reality show on the Travel Channel.

“Casey is so pure and genuine,” explained Dickie Davis, director of terminal operations and customer service. “She’s not asking for anything or selling anything. She is just a love magnet.”

When Claudia McCaskill’s family recently flew home from vacation in Brazil she requested Casey meet the plane to greet her 5-year-old daughter, Carina, who is autistic. She knew Carina would be low on energy and patience and they still had a 2.5-hour drive home to St. Lucie.

Casey and handler Liz Miller were there with a gift basket and Carina fell in love with the dog.  ”Thank you for visiting us at the airport so I would be happy,” Carina said in a video the family made for Casey.  Now Carina wants to go back and see Casey again.

“I can’t say how much we appreciate what they did for us. It not only helped our daughter, but us too,” McCaskill said.

Despite all the smiles, there are also hard moments.

Before departing from San Jose, a soldier kneeled down and told Henry James: “OK, buddy, you take care of the house while I am gone,” Hubis said.

A woman who said her husband of 40 years told her he wanted a divorce that morning wept on Henry’s shoulder.

“He just sat there,” Hubis said. “He knew. He can feel.”

Therapy dogs take the stress out of travel at busy airports like in Los Angeles.

Woof!