England is known for the Royal Family, fish and chips, The Beatles, and a good strong cuppa. However, England is also known for its dogs. The history of England’s dogs goes back thousands of years, and there is a large variety of breeds that originated there.
So, here are 30 dog breeds that have their origins in England in alphabetical order:
1. Airedale Terrier
The Airedale Terrier has its origins in the Aire Valley (which is in northern England close to the Scottish border) to hunt rats in the mid-19th century. These large dogs have thick, wiry coats that are tan with black markings and have jaunty beards and mustaches. The Airedale is brave, intelligent, and patient with children, which makes them excellent family pets.
The Beagle has an ancient history as a hunting dog and goes as far back as 55 B.C. They come in a variety of colors but are most recognizable in white with tan and black markings. These medium-sized dogs have big brown eyes, long floppy hound ears, and a slightly curved tail that is almost always held up high. The Beagle is a very friendly, joyous, and curious dog that is another excellent family pet.
3. Bedlington Terrier
The Bedlington Terrier was used in the mines of Northumberland during the 19th century as ratters. They have a tightly curled coat that can be blue, tan, liver, or sandy in color and are recognizable by their puff of fur on the top of their noses and heads. The Bedlington sheds very little and is a lively, devoted, and very playful family pet.
4. Border Collie
The Border Collie is considered one of the greatest herding dogs and was developed by mixing ancient Roman dogs with Viking spitz-like dogs brought into England. These beautiful dogs have either smooth coats that are short and coarse or rough coats that are longer and feathered. They come in a wide variety of colors but are mostly known for the striking white and black coloring. Borders are intelligent, highly energetic, and very affectionate but may be wary of strangers.
5. Border Terrier
Developed near the border between Scotland and England, the Border Terrier was used to help shepherds and farmers against fox predators. They have short, wiry coats that can be blue and tan, red, wheaten, and grizzle and tan and have longer legs than most other terriers. They get along very well with children and other dogs but may chase smaller animals. Borders are affectionate, happy, and playful dogs.
The Bulldog is believed to have been around since the 1200s and were initially used in blood sports. They have evolved into amazing family dogs known for their furrowed brows and pushed in noses and their compact, burly bodies. It’s best to avoid heavy exercise in hot weather because of their short noses, and careful diet and exercising are crucial as they are prone to gaining weight. Bulldogs are calm, sweet, and brave dogs.
7. Bull Terrier
The Bull Terrier is another dog used in the 1830s in a variety of blood sports, but when this was outlawed, the Bull Terrier became an amazing companion dog. They have short, smooth coats that come in white or almost any other solid color that may have white markings. Bull Terriers are medium-sized sturdy dogs that are loyal, playful, and affectionate.
The Bullmastiff was used by gamekeepers of large estates in the mid-to-late 1800s for protection against poachers. These large, muscular dogs have deep, wrinkled muzzles and short, smooth coats that come in fawn, brindle, and red with a black mask on their faces. Bullmastiffs are intelligent, courageous, and affectionate dogs.
9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was created for royal laps, particularly by King Charles I and II in the 1600s. They have long, feathery, silky coats of fur that may have tan markings and can be black and tan, black and white, chestnut and white, and ruby in color. Cavaliers are sweet, gentle, and adaptable dogs that get along very well with children and other dogs.
10. Clumber Spaniel
The Clumber Spaniel comes from the Duke of Newcastle’s Clumber Park in the late 18th century as a hunting dog. These medium-sized dogs have a powerful appearance with a thick coat of fur that is white with orange or lemon markings. Clumbers are very calm, easygoing, and sweet dogs that tend to shed and drool and enjoy playtime with children.
11. Curly-Coated Retriever
The Curly-Coated Retriever is considered one of the oldest retrievers and are believed to have originated sometime in the 1800s from a combination of the English Water Spaniel and the Retrieving Setter (both of which are now extinct). They have tightly curled coats that are waterproof and come in black or liver. Curlies are independent and can be reserved with strangers but are very intelligent, affectionate, and energetic.
12. English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel originated in the 1800s in response to the popularity of dog shows. These medium-sized dogs have long silky ears and medium-length coats of soft fur that come in various colors. English Cockers are happy, friendly dogs that are devoted, sensitive, and are eager to please but will only respond to positive reinforcement training.
13. English Setter
It is thought that the English Setter goes back about 400 to 500 years as the kind of hunting dogs that “set.” They are medium in size with long, silky coats that come in white with blue, lemon, liver, or orange belton (which is a word that describes the unique speckling of color on the English Setter). They are friendly, loyal, and easygoing dogs that get along very well with other dogs and just about anyone they meet.
14. English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel emerged about 500 years ago as hunting dogs that would “spring” the gamebirds from bramble or high grass. They are medium in size with a double coat of medium length silky fur that feathers on the dog’s underside, chest, legs, and ears and comes in a wide variety of colors. Springers are energetic, friendly dogs that don’t do well when left alone and get along very well with other dogs and children.
15. English Toy Spaniel
The English Toy Spaniel was tremendously popular with King Charles I and II in the 1600s. These tiny spaniels have long, silky coats of fur that can be black and tan, black white and tan, red, and red and white in color. English Toys are smart, affectionate, and playful but can be picky over who they want to spend their time with.
16. Field Spaniel
The Field Spaniel started off as a hunting dog in the 1800s and became popular in dog shows. They are medium-sized dogs with long silky fur in black or liver and have lovely long, feathery ears. Field Spaniels are amazing family dogs that get along very well with children and other pets and are playful, sweet, and mellow dogs.
17. Flat-Coated Retriever
The Flat-Coated Retriever first originated in the mid-19th century as a gamekeepers dog as it was used on estates in addition to being popular hunting dogs. Their medium-length coat lies flat with the exception of feathering on the tail and legs and is usually black or liver in color. The Flat-Coat is a happy, energetic, and affectionate dog that tends to remain puppyish for most of its adult life.
18. Fox Terrier
The Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier are both separate breeds but share similar qualities. They were used for hunting foxes, which started in the late-18th century until it was banned in 2003. They’re both medium-sized, and their coats might be different in texture but are the same in color (white, white and black, white and tan, and white black and tan). They make excellent family pets and are smart, friendly, and confident dogs.
19. Lakeland Terrier
The Lakeland Terrier is one of the oldest of the terriers found in England and originated in the Lake District, where farmers used the Lakeland to protect their sheep from predators. Another medium-sized terrier, they have a double coat that comes in a wide variety of colors and is harsh in texture, but they aren’t known to shed. Lakelands are courageous, feisty, and friendly dogs.
20. Manchester Terrier
The Standard Manchester Terrier and the Toy Manchester Terrier are two varieties that are considered one breed. They were used for hunting rabbits and as ratters in Manchester in the mid-19th century. The main difference between the two is in size, and they both have short, smooth coats that are black and tan in color. Manchesters are intelligent, active, and bright dogs.
21. Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terriers were developed as ratters and fox terriers in the early 1900s but were classified as Norwich Terriers until 1964. The main difference between these terriers is the Norfolk has folded ears, and the Norwich has erect ears. The Norfolk has short, wiry fur that can be black and tan, red, grizzle, and red wheaten. They are devoted, feisty, and playful dogs that will form a strong bond with their owners.
22. Norwich Terrier
The Norwich Terrier was used as ratters and in foxhunts but was also very popular amongst students attending Cambridge University in the 1870s to the 1880s. They are small dogs with a double coat that has a hard, wiry outercoat and comes in black and tan, grizzle, wheaten, and red in color. The Norwich is a very cuddly, affectionate dog that is also fearless and sometimes bossy.
23. Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog was developed in the western part of England in the late 1700s for droving cattle for farmers. These large dogs are famous for their thick, shaggy double coat of fur and are white with patches of blue, gray, or black. The Old English Sheepdog is a protective, kind, and intelligent dog that is wonderful with children and makes excellent watchdogs.
The Otterhound was bred by some of Britain’s nobility to protect the fish in rivers and ponds from otters. These large hounds have thick, waterproof medium-length rough coats that come in a wide variety of colors. The Otterhound is an affectionate, exuberant, and friendly dog.
25. Parson Russell Terrier
Bred for hunting foxes above and below ground, the Parson Russell Terrier was named after Reverend John Russell (called “The Sporting Parson”), who developed this dog in the 1800s. They are small dogs with either smooth or rough coats in white with black, tan, cream, brown, or tri-color markings. The Parson Russell Terrier is a very courageous, independent, and friendly dog.
The Pointer became a popular hunting dog in the 1700s and is known for “pointing” towards game. They are large in size and have smooth coats that come in a variety of colors and patterns. The Pointer is a very energetic, friendly, and alert dog that makes great running companions and does very well at search-and-rescue as well as working as service and therapy dogs.
27. Russell Terrier
The Russell Terrier comes from the same kennel as the Parson Russell Terrier but, after some time, diverged into a separate breed. They have smooth, rough, or broken coats that are also white with markings similar in color to the Parson Russell. The Russell Terrier is intelligent, alert, energetic, and curious.
28. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has similar origins to the Bulldog and was also bred for blood sport in the mid-1800s. They are medium-sized, heavily muscled dogs with a short, sleek coat that comes in a large variety of colors. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier today is a sweet dog that is great with children but needs proper socialization with other dogs. They are playful, smart, and courageous dogs.
29. Sussex Spaniel
The Sussex Spaniel originated in the 18th century as a hunting dog in the Sussex county as spaniels with short legs designed to find prey in the underbrush and thick hedgerows. They are long and low bodied dogs with gorgeous feathered coats of fur that are a golden-liver color. The Sussex is an affectionate, calm, and happy dog that will be an excellent fit for most families.
The Whippet was bred by coal miners in northern 19th century England for dog racing and rabbit hunting. They actually look like a smaller version of the Greyhound and come in a huge variety of colors and markings. Whippets are quiet, energetic dogs that also enjoy relaxing and cuddling with their families.
31. Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier was bred in the mid-19th century in Yorkshire and Lancashire as perfect lapdogs for English ladies. These tiny dogs are known for their long, silky coats of fur that come in black and gold, blue and gold, black and tan, and blue and tan. Yorkies are perfect apartment dogs due to their size and are hypoallergenic. They are brave, loving, and intelligent dogs.
England has a long and interesting history, and that includes their amazing dogs. Many of their dogs are terriers (almost half of this list, actually), and most others are hunting dogs. Three of these dogs are in the top 10 of the most popular dogs at the American Kennel Club (Bulldog, Beagle, and Yorkshire Terrier). England brought us David Bowie, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Stonehenge, but they also gave us lots of beautiful dogs that are some of the most amazing companions around.
Featured Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock
- 1. Airedale Terrier
- 2. Beagle
- 3. Bedlington Terrier
- 4. Border Collie
- 5. Border Terrier
- 6. Bulldog
- 7. Bull Terrier
- 8. Bullmastiff
- 9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- 10. Clumber Spaniel
- 11. Curly-Coated Retriever
- 12. English Cocker Spaniel
- 13. English Setter
- 14. English Springer Spaniel
- 15. English Toy Spaniel
- 16. Field Spaniel
- 17. Flat-Coated Retriever
- 18. Fox Terrier
- 19. Lakeland Terrier
- 20. Manchester Terrier
- 21. Norfolk Terrier
- 22. Norwich Terrier
- 23. Old English Sheepdog
- 24. Otterhound
- 25. Parson Russell Terrier
- 26. Pointer
- 27. Russell Terrier
- 28. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- 29. Sussex Spaniel
- 30. Whippet
- 31. Yorkshire Terrier