5 Dogs Named for Places of Origin

Have you ever wondered how certain dog breeds got their names? Many dogs are named for their places of origin. They include Boston Terriers and Rottweilers.

May 17, 2024By Sara Payne
dogs named for places of origin

The Boston Terrier, Bouvier des Flandres, Coton De Tulear, Great Pyrenees, and Rottweiler are dogs named for the location they originated from.

Each of these five dogs named for their places of origin has a fascinating history. Their breeds are unique to their region and were bred for the demands of that place.

1. Boston Terrier

boston terrier
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The smooth, short-coated Boston Terrier is named for (you guessed it) Boston, Massachusetts. In 1865, Boston resident, Robert C. Hooper, purchased an English Bulldog and white English Terrier mix. The mixed breed dog had a dark brindle color with a white blaze.

The mixed breed terrier-bulldog parent is an extinct breed today, but it was likely imported from England where it was used for bullbaiting. Many breeders began during the 19th century to transform bull-and-terrier mixes from fighters to small companions.

Edward Burnett of Southborough, Massachusetts owned an all-white, short-faced bulldog. Burnett and Hooper’s two dogs had one puppy named Well’s Eph. Well’s Eph was not an attractive dog, but his offspring became the origins of the Boston Terrier.

These compact dogs have square heads and flat faces. They are also curious, friendly, and amusing dogs that quickly steal the hearts of dog lovers. The American Kennel Club recognized the Boston Terrier as a breed in 1893, and they’ve been among one of the most popular American dog breeds ever since.

2. Bouvier des Flandres

bouvier des flandres
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The Bouvier des Flandres breed was named for the small region between Belgium and France where these dogs were first recognized in the area. These dogs were a cross between Berger Picards, Matins, and British rough-coated hounds.

People used these dogs for protection, herding, pulling carts, and turning butter churns. Different regions preferred these dogs to have different heights, leading to varieties in this breed. The Bouvier des Flandres became popular from the Lys River to the coast.

The strong-willed and affectionate Bouvier des Flandres has a tousled, waterproof coat with a beard and mustache. The dog stands up to 27.5 inches high and has big bones and strong muscles. These dogs make fabulous watchdogs and farm dogs. These French dogs enjoy working and do well in breed-specific sports and herding tasks.

3. Coton De Tulear

coton de tulear
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The Coton de Tulear is a rare and ancient dog breed. Their predecessors were popular companions to Roman aristocrats who called them “table dogs” or “Meletei.” The Meleti bred with the Barbet, which was an ancient curly-haired, medium-sized dog. This combination created the Bichon family of dog breeds.

Bichons traveled on trade ships and bred with other dogs at different ports along the trade routes, resulting in many different traits and off-branches of this breed. On the island of Reunion, they acquired their long, straight cotton coat. These dogs were called Coton de la Reunion. These dogs eventually ended up on the small, seaport of Tulear, Madagascar.

Although there are many legends about how these dogs arrived here, the dogs interbred with local wild dogs resulting in the bright, charming dog we now know. These small dogs have white or champagne coats that are as soft as cotton.

4. Great Pyrenees

great pyrenees
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There is a mountain range in southwestern Europe known as the Pyrenees Mountains, and it’s where the Great Pyrenees originated. These gentle giants can trace their origins to white mountain flock guard dogs from 10,000 years ago in Asia Minor.

These dogs worked with the Indigenous people of the area, the Basques. This breed remained in isolation for a long time, and little crossbreeding happened. These dogs protected flocks from wolves and bears while they grazed during the winter. The Great Pyrenees white coat helped them to blend into flocks of sheep. They are calm dogs that are patient with livestock.

They also have dense double coats that protect them from harsh winters. They are very independent dogs that became popular with European monarchs during the 17th century. The attention from the royals changed the needs of this dog. Farmers preferred dogs with large coats while royals preferred them to have shorter coats, leading to the modern Pyrenees.

5. Rottweiler

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Rottweilers are named after the city of Rottweil, Germany, where these dogs were left by Roman legions. This powerful breed of working dog is descended from the cattle-driving dogs used by the Ancient Romans.

In the Middle Ages, the local butchers used Rottweilers to protect them as they carried their money to market and to help pull their carts. During the Industrial Revolution, these dogs became scarcer because their jobs were replaced by machines. Today, they are top choices for police dogs.

Rottweilers are stocky, strongly built dogs. They are around 22-27 inches tall and weigh around 90-110 points. They have short, coarse black coats with tan markings. They are intelligent, wary, and courageous dogs.

Other Dogs Named for Their Original Area

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In addition to the five dogs listed above, here are some other canines named for areas of origin:

Other honorable mentions include German Shepherds, French Bulldogs, and Irish Setters.

Many Dog Breeds Get Their Names from Locations

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Dog breeds named after their place of origin often show a snapshot of the conditions and demands of that location during the time the breed was developed. The Boston Terrier, Bouvier des Flandres, Coton De Tulear, Great Pyrenees, and Rottweiler are dog breeds named for their locations. These wonderful and unique dog breeds make great companions.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.