Behind the Breed: The Origins of 8 Popular Dog Breed’s Names

You may know the names of certain dog breeds, and even various breed characteristics, but do you know the name origin of the breeds? Some breeds have names that explain exactly where they came from, and the reason they were bred, but other dog breeds names may remain a mystery to most dog-lovers. Here are 8 dog breeds and the origins of their names. You’ll quickly see that reading the names of these dog breeds and respective origins will tell you about the culture and the history of the breed, and those that raised them.


The Corgi is a popular breed online, with people loving to share pictures of this short and friendly dogs. Their name speaks to their stature as well. Corgi comes from cor (Welsh for dwarf) and gi (Welsh for dog); combined the dog breed name is Corgi, of dwarf-dog.


Colloquially referred to as “wiener dogs,” the name Dachshund originates from Germany, and these dogs were trained to hunt badgers in that country. They received the name dachs (The German word for Badger) and hund (the German for dog), and thus the Dachshund was born.


The dog breed name Poodle also originates from Germany. The name is from the early 19th century German and refers to the breed’s water loving personality. The German word puddeln means “to splash in water.” The breed was originally named Pudelhund.

Cocker Spaniel

The King Charles Spaniel receives its name from King Charles, but what about the Cocker Spaniel? The name refers to the dog’s use to use Eurasian woodcock, a species of wading bird. These dogs began as hunting dogs in the United Kingdom.


The Rottweiler is an ancient hunting dog that may be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire. The dog was bred in Rottweil, a town in Eastern Germany occupied by the Roman Army, then eventually taken over by the Swabians. The dogs were kept around because they were useful for herding, and were used as guard dogs.


The Beagle is a breed that has a name origin that isn’t quite clear, but many historians believe it traces back to several languages. One is the French word begueulor, or “open throat,” a term that refers to the Beagle’s baying nature. The second possible name origin for the Beagle is the word beag, which means “little,” and the third is the French word beugler, or “to bellow.” There’s also a German word begele, which means “to scold.”


The majestic Akita is a spitz dog that originates from the capital city of Akita Prefecture, Akita in northeast Japan, the area from which its name comes. The dogs are referred to as Akita-Inu in Japan and the dogs were originally bred to hunt bears.


The Shar-Pei was once named one of the world’s rarest breeds by Time, and the Guinness Book of World Records. The name of the breed is believed to come from a British spelling of the word sā pèih, or “sand skin,” referring to its rough wrinkly coat.


  1. Ben McDonald

    This is such a fun article. I’m going to win at trivia now.

  2. Xander

    This is so neat.Poodles do love there water splashing!

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  4. Howard

    I sometimes forget I can take my Akita to the pet stores with me. Will try next time. Thanks!

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