Dogs from the Non-Sporting Group are a mix of breeds from around the world. They differ in size, coat type, and personality. These are breeds that don’t fit into any of the other groups, even though some, like the Poodle, Keeshond, and Chinese Shar-Pei were bred to do a job. Other Non-Sporting breeds were meant to be companions. Each of these breeds have their own unique, and interesting story to tell. Six breeds from this group have been gaining in popularity over the last decade, moving up on AKC’s most popular dog list. Three breeds B – F are highlighted here.
Bulldog history goes back to ancient days and the mastiff type of dogs. It’s believed the Mastiff and Bulldog share a common ancestor with ancient war dogs, now extinct, the Pugnaces Britanniae of Great Britain. The first mention of the Bulldog being a distinct breed different from the Mastiff was in a 1631 letter written from Spain by an Englishman Prestwich Eaton, to his friend, George Wellingham, who was living in London. Developed in England, the Bulldog we know today is much different from their heavier and taller ancestors that were bred to bait bulls, bear, or other animals. When bull-baiting was outlawed, breeders recognized the promise of this exceptionally loyal dog, and engaged in an aggressive breeding program to selectively breed a dog with a more gentle and affectionate temperament. The birthing process is difficult for Bulldogs because of their large front and head. Most puppies are delivered by caesarean births, which is why Bulldogs are so expensive to buy. Starting in 1922 with a dog named Jiggs, the Bulldog has been the mascot of the U.S. Marines. Since 1957, each dog has been named Chesty to honor the most decorated Marine of all time, Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller. The popularity of the Bulldog has moved this breed into the top 10 of most popular dogs, jumping from number 18 to the number 5 spot over the last decade.
Dalmatian history is hidden in the pages of time, and no one knows where this breed originated. The breed is named after Dalmatia, a province on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, in what is now Croatia. Even how the breed was named is a mystery. Thomas Bewick, an English ornithologist living in Dalmatia coined the name in 1791, even though there were no Dalmatians living there at the time. What is known, however, the Dalmatian is an old breed, first showing up in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Images of these dogs running behind Egyptian, Greek, and Roman chariots have been found in tomb paintings, and mentions of spotted dogs are found in early writings. The Dal has been associated with bands of gypsies who moved throughout Europe, India, and eventually into England. Throughout the centuries, this breed has been used in a wide range of jobs, from a guard dog to a circus performer. In England during the 1600’s, the breed was trained as a carriage dog for aristocrats, and ran alongside or underneath their carriage to guard them from highwaymen, a job these dogs were very effective at for the next 200 plus years. Their strength and stamina allowed Dalmatians to run alongside horses for hours on end. The Dal also has a reputation as a firehouse dog. It was the job of the dogs to run ahead of horse drawn fire wagons to clear a path for the horses, guard the wagon at a fire, and provide company for the horses at the scene of a fire and at the fire house to help keep them calm. These dogs have an innate ability to calm horses, and are alert, energetic, friendly, intelligent, and muscular, with an excellent memory. Dalmatian pups are born white, and it takes about two weeks before their spots begin to appear. Spots can be black or liver, and sometimes lemon, which is a rare color. The Dalmatian has gained three spots in popularity over the last ten years, moving from number 68 up to 65 on AKC’s most popular dog list.
French Bulldog was created in England as a smaller version of the Bulldog. A favorite companion of laceworkers in Nottingham, England during the 1800’s, these little dogs were excellent at controlling rats running around workrooms, and in the small living quarters workers lived in. Controlling rats was an important job, and good rat catching dogs were essential. The bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, was caused by fleas living on infected rats. When a flea carrying the bacteria bit a human, it passed the deadly bacteria on to them. One third of the population in Europe, Norway, and Russia died during the plaque outbreak in the mid 1300’s. From 1770 to 1850, the Industrial Revolution changed England’s economy from mostly agricultural to mainly industrial, and with the change came new technology. Machines replaced the need for skilled craftsmen, causing many workers to lose their jobs. So, the laceworkers gathered up their belongings, smuggled their little bulldogs aboard ships, and sailed to France and Spain in search of work. These little Bulldogs became very popular in France, and the breed took on the name of their adopted country. The first French Bulldog in the United States was at the 1896 Westminster Kennel Club dog show where the breed received his nickname, “Frenchie.” Over the last ten years, the French Bulldog has gained a dedicated following and his popularity has made a big leap from number 58 to number 14.
Pictured: Pfc. Chesty XIV, future U.S. Marine Corps mascot – 9 weeks old on February 14, 2013, Liver-spotted Dalmatian, French Bulldog.
Dog Breeds Gaining in Popularity: Herding Group
Dog Breeds Gaining in Popularity: Terrier Group
Dog Breeds Gaining in Popularity: Working Group A-C