10 Puppies From Around the World That Are Very, Very Good Boys
The bulldog says “woof woof,” the Shiba Inu says “wan-wan,” and the Borzoi says “gav-gav.”
Since the dawn of humankind, people from all over the world have taken the wild wolf and shaped it into breeds of canis familiaris that have become unique representations of what each culture needs and desires in a loyal, furry companion. Each new potato-shaped puppy that has tumbled into the world is a testament to the lineage that preceded them. These puppies are big and small, modern and ancient, skinny and stout, bred to accompany kings and guard livestock. But what they all have in common is that they are very adorable.
Newfoundland puppies have the honorable distinction of being as big (or bigger) than some full-grown members of other breeds. But they won’t stay (comparatively) small for long. Newfies originated from—where else—the island of Newfoundland. According to the AKC, adult male Newfoundlands weigh 130-150 pounds. They were bred as working dogs for fisherman, and thanks to their strength, thick coat, and slightly webbed feet, have historically made for excellent water rescue dogs. Even Napoleon Bonaparte himself is said to be indebted to these seafaring pups. During the Emperor’s escape from the island of Elba, he fell overboard and was rescued by a nearby fisherman’s Newfoundland. Lewis and Clark, Ulysses S. Grant, and Emily Dickinson have all been proud owners of this noble, loyal, and slobbery breed. Lord Byron penned the poem “Epitaph to a Dog ” in honor of his Newfie, Boatswain, which is inscribed on the dog’s monument at Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England.
If you scrolled through @wandi_dingo on Instagram without reading the captions (or the full username) you might think you were looking at a playful, photogenic domestic canine. That’s what Wandi’s rescuers thought when they found the whimpering puppy in their backyard in Wandiligong, Australia. But, after the Australian Dingo Foundation heard about the unusual rescue and confirmed “floof,” they soon realized that this wasn’t a stray dog or a lost family dog—this was a purebred dingo. Which makes Wandi a boon to the survival of this quintessential staple of Australia’s wildlife. According to fossil evidence, the dingo as we know it today is practically identical to the canines that arrived on the continent some 3,500 years ago. But since 2008, the numbers of 100% purebred dingoes have dwindled, leading to the breed’s categorization by the Red List of Threatened Species, going from “least concern” to “vulnerable.”
Some people keep dingoes as pets, but it’s a tricky and controversial endeavor, to say the least. For one thing, their instincts as a wild apex predator are difficult to suppress and are often dealt with by breeders by interbreeding them with domestic dogs, which conservationists view as a threat to the breed’s survival. It’s probably best to settle for updates on Wandi’s Instagram.
The Shiba Inu’s presence in Japan dates back to 300 B.C. Despite its long history, the Shiba almost went extinct during the 20th century. Western dog breeds started appearing in Japan during the Meiji Restoration of the mid-1800s and interbreeding with Japanese dog breeds, including the Shiba. So much so that by the early 1900s, purebred Shiba Inus were virtually extinct. But after a concerted effort was made to save the breed, it is now the most popular dog in Japan.
While they were initially bred to flush small game in the country’s mountainous regions over two millennia ago, Shiba Inus tend to know a more leisurely lifestyle as Japan’s most popular companion dog. Fun fact: They are known for their “shiba scream,” which they emit when provoked or cruelly denied bacon.
While other pups charm with their Disney eyes and fluffy faces, the bulldog puppy proves that sometimes the cutest thing you can do is have an old man’s face. Interestingly, this signature feature is one that has an ebb and flow when the dogs are puppies. Bulldog pups get their signature wrinkles about 4-5 weeks after they’re born but, as they continue to develop, they lose them, then get them back as they grow.
As their name hints, bulldogs were initially bred in England for the purposes of bull-baiting, a “sport” that was outlawed in early 1835. And while a byproduct of this was that the bulldog nearly went extinct, the breed found a new occupation: serving as a national symbol. The bulldog’s scrappy tenacity and ability to fight larger animals became emblematic of the British spirit—not to mention the fact that their jowly countenance bore a striking resemblance to World War II-era Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
If you want a teeny tiny puppy, you’ve got a start with a teeny tiny dog. And they very rarely come much itsy-bitsier than the Chihuahua. Though it may feel like they rose to prominence in the purses of early 2000s It Girls, the Chihuahua’s roots go back at least a millennia. The modern Chihuahua is thought to be a descendant of the Techichi, a dog that was kept by the Toltecs. This ancient breed was larger and heavier and, over the years, they became the lighter and smaller pups we know today, eventually taking their name from the Mexican state where artifacts resembling the dog were found at the Casas Grande archaeological site.
WHERE: Democratic Republic of the Congo
If you imagine going back thousands and thousands of years ago, when canis familiaris’ days as a wolf weren’t that far in the past, you might picture something a lot like the Basenji. Though they can be found all over Africa—and their likeness can be found on ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Babylonian artifacts—they’re believed to have originated in the Congo Basin. Despite their long history, it’s believed that the modern Basenji is unchanged from its pharaoh-accompanying predecessors. Because they make such excellent hunters, it seems there weren’t any traits their human counterparts wanted to breed into or out of them. Except for one. You won’t get a bark out of these ancient dogs. They physically can’t. But they do yodel. It’s possible that this trait was bred into the Basenji simply by humans preferring Basenjis that barked less, so as not to draw attention while hunting game.
Though the border collie gets its name from the fact that they likely originated on the border of Scotland and England, they’re likely the result of a combination of influences beyond the British Isles. The sturdiness of Roman sheepdogs and the lightweight Viking spitz breeds that came to Britain from abroad have resulted in a remarkably dexterous and exceptionally intelligent border collie. Because border collies are so smart, they’ll pick up everything—including bad habits—which means their training (particularly sheepdog training) must begin when they’re still in their potato-shaped puppy form.
You can’t help but look at Salukis, with their silky ears and elongated frames, and picture them cutting a dignified pose in the foreground of an oil painting or reclining on a chaise lounge and speaking with a Katherine Hepburn accent. Elegance and refinement in dog form. Making it no surprise that they’ve historically been favored by the likes of Pharaohs and Alexander the Great. But don’t let their delicate appearance fool you, these dogs are known for their speed, running as fast as 35 miles per hour. As pups, they’re not as narrow or elongated, but no less adorable in their youthful stages.
It’s not a coincidence that the Borzoi bears a striking resemblance to the Saluki. Also known as the Russian wolfhound, Borzoi are descended from hounds that came to Russia from Central Asia. To adapt to the decidedly more frigid climes, the Borzoi developed a thicker, longer, curlier coat. Aside from their appearance, another trait they share in common with Salukis is their speed. “Borzoi” comes from an old Russian word that simply means “fast.”
Whereas Salukis hunted gazelles, Borzois hunted wolves alongside their aristocratic owners. However, as with so many things associated with Russian aristocracy, the Borzoi were en route to extinction after the country’s Revolution. Ironically, this quintessentially Russian hound would be saved by breeders elsewhere.
Their hunting nature is so inherent to the breed that puppies, which sport the signature elongated snout, will “practice” with their siblings, taking turns hunting and pinning each other down by the neck. A playful facsimile of the grand hunting parties staged by tsars over a hundred years ago.
In 2013, visitors to a zoo in the Chinese city of Louhe might’ve noticed something unusual about the animal in a cage that bore the label “African lion.” The animal wasn’t a lion at all, but a Tibetan Mastiff. The zoo stated that the dog had been placed in the cage temporarily, but if any dog could serve as a lion’s understudy, it would be the massive (and massively maned) Tibetan Mastiff. The earliest records of these dogs can be found in written accounts from China in 1100 B.C., but they originate from the Himalayas where they served as high-altitude livestock guardians. You can get a sense of the formidable canines they’ll grow up to be, as the pups have an adorably sturdy, squat appearance.