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Zoomies: A Quick Guide on Dog Breed Name Origins

Dog breed names can be pretty straight forward, like Great Dane, German Shepherd Dog, or the American Foxhound. But what about the beagle? Basset hound? Here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting dog breed names and their origins!

Basset Hound: This name is a smush of the French word bas, meaning “low” and the suffix -et makes things small or cute. Basset hound means little low dog!

Beagle: According to the American Kennel Club, “some experts say it derives from the Gaelic word beag (“little”), while others point to the French term for the sound hounds make while hunting: be’geule.”

Lhasa Apso: Lhasa Apsos were bred to be watch dogs in Tibet. Lhasa is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Apso is the Tibetan word for “bearded.”

Jack Russell Terrier: John Russell was a clergyman who bought a milkman’s dog, which he thought would be perfect for fox hunting. He used the dog to breed a line of terriers more suited to longer days of hunting. 

Shih Tzu: Translated from Chinese, Shih Tzu means “little lion.” According to the American Kennel Club, the name Shih Tzu “is most likely the product of crosses of two even older Sino-Tibetan breeds, the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese.”

Pug: Another dog whose breed origins are in China, the pug’s name is possibly derived from its resemblance to the marmoset monkey, also known as a pug monkey. 

Poodles: Poodles were used to hunt water birds in Germany and were called “Pudelhun,” or puddle dog, which eventually evolved into “Poodle.”

Photo by Goochie Poochie Grooming from Pexels

Written by: Lynn Moynahan