The Origin Of Dog Names

By on May 31, 2012

From Ape Dog to Big Nose, Where Does Your Dog's Name Come From?

Some breed names have no mystery about them at all. The Golden Retriever, the English Short Haired Pointer and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever being cases in point, they’re breeds that do exactly what it says on the tin. But other breeds have such seemingly weird and wonderful names that we thought it about time we uncovered the origins of these monikers. Rather than coming across simple translations, we were wowed by cultural idiosyncrasies, ancient idioms and misleading misnomers that have all informed and altered the process by which dog breeds have gotten their names.

Even common, everyday names such as Mastiff or Collie have colourful and interesting etymological origins. What surprised us the most however, was how much the origin of dog breed names tell us about the history and culture of the place where the breed comes from.

There are certain types of dog that have collective names and further names to differentiate separate breeds, but what does the name that links these breeds actually mean?

Terrier, derives from the Latin terre which means ‘to go to ground.’

Mastiff, comes from the French mastin, from Latin mansuetus meaning ‘tame’.

Collie, The name Collie derives from the same Anglo-Saxon word as ‘coal’, Coll, which means ‘black’.

Pinscher, comes from the German word for ‘Terrier’ and is applied to many different types of dog.

Poodle, is a corruption of the German word Puddlehund which means ‘dog that splashes in water’

Many breeds are named after the people that bred them, whilst other breeds, such as the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier, are named in honour of people.

The Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier, are both


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