If you ever wondered why your English Bulldog keeps bouncing around headbutting everything in sight, there is a reason as to why. Before our furry friends were our cuddle buddies, they were bred for purposes to help us with tasks, chores and even sport. Today, we are happy to have our loyal companions simply snuggle up next to us or play a game of frisbee. Pure breds especially demonstrate the traits of their original purpose. However, even mixed dogs will take on similar traits as the various breeds they are.
The purpose of their breed is in the name, “Bulldog.” Even with their stubby and medium-sized bodies, they can jump amazingly high. When they jump, they corkscrew their bodies and butt their heads into people, objects, toys and other animals. English Bulldogs were originally bred to rile up and fight bulls for sport in England and throughout Europe. They would wrap their bodies around the bulls neck to throw off their center of gravity. This would force the bull to the ground. Known as “bull-baiting” this sport was banned in 1835.
Another breed of dog with a name that matches its purpose. German Shepherds were originally bred in Germany. They are medium to large-sized working dogs. They were used for herding and protecting sheep. Today, they are a popular choice for law enforcement and disability because of their obedience, trainability and intelligence.
This type of breed was used as a sled-dog with a remarkably fast pulling style. Their fast speed was used for sled-racing. By contrast, they were not used for pulling heavy loads like other breeds of sled-dogs. Today, they are for tourist trekking and adventure seekers in snowy regions using dog sledges.
Dalmatians make excellent watchdogs. They were used as carriage-dogs to trot alongside carriages and wagons to protect people and belongings. They guarded against thievery, banditry and interference. They are especially remarkable with horses. They were trained to help clear the way for horse and carriage transport. They were even trained to frighten or attack unfamiliar horses on the road. As their need for horse-drawn transport subsided, they were used as fire-engine escorts. They helped clear the way and protect the horses in stables.
It is unclear if their breed name “Boxer” derives from their play and fight style. Boxers stand on their hind legs and use their front paws to strike, similar to a boxing match. Their original purpose was used to hunt and seize prey such as deer and wild boar until the hunters arrived. In later years, they became one of the first breeds of police dogs and guard dogs.
This breed of dog is known for its fast speed and excellent agility. They were used as sighthounds for pursuing prey using their keen sight. They helped hunters track game. Today, racing greyhounds around a track for sport is called Greyhound racing. Some countries still compete in this sport.
Beagles were used for hunting small prey such as hare also known as “beagling.” In contrast to sighthounds, beagles are scent hounds. They use their keen scent to help hunters track down prey. Today, beagles are still used as detection dogs to smell for prohibited goods.
This type of breed is a gun dog. Their golden yellow coats and their purpose to retrieve prey is where the named Golden Retriever stems from.They were used to retrieve waterfowl and birds that were shot down. Their soft mouths made it easy for them to retrieve shot game without damaging the prey.
This breed of dog was originally used for search and rescue. They were large working dogs. Their large size made it easy for them to trek through snow and challenging terrain in Italy and Switzerland. They were used by the monks at the Great St Bernard Hospice at the Great St. Bernard Pass on the Italian-Swiss border.
Irish Setters are a breed of gundog, also called a setter. They were used for hunting prey such as birds. They use scent to locate the bird and then hold a pointing position to show the hunter the direction and place of the bird.
Some breeds were developed for useful tasks while others were simply bred for companionship. No matter what their original purpose was intended for, the breed we choose as our family pet will undoubtedly be our loyal and comforting friend.