These Dog Breeds Don't Come From Where You Think

We bet you think you know which countries the Australian Shepherd, Poodle and French Bulldog come from. Their names make it obvious, right? Not so fast! Get ready to be surprised by the real answers in our photo gallery below.

Dogs With Surprising Origins

Australian Shepherd

Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography

Australian Shepherd

Despite his name, the Australian Shepherd was developed in the American West — not Australia. It's possible that his ancestors include longhaired, bobtailed, Collie-type dogs from Australia or German sheepdogs exported to Australia and known there as German Koolies, which might explain the breed's name.

Italian Greyhound

Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography

Italian Greyhound

This sighthound is obviously from Italy, right? Nope! The IG is believed to have originated as long as 2,000 years ago in Greece and Turkey. The breed was especially popular in Italy during the 16th century, but it was not, as its name implies, developed in Italy.


Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography


You've probably heard someone call the Poodle a "French Poodle." Although it's true that the dogs were favored in France — especially during the reign of King Louis XVI, who adored the breed — the Poodle originated in Germany. In fact, the breed's name comes from the German word pudel, which means "splash in the water," a reference to the Poodle's original job as a water retriever.

Labrador Retriever puppy

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

Labrador Retriever

You would think that the most popular dog breed in the United States — for a record-setting 23 years — would have originated here, but that's not the case with the beloved Labrador Retriever. Your second guess would probably be that this breed comes from the Canadian province of Labrador, but experts don't think that's the case either. She was first called the "lesser Newfoundland," most likely to distinguish her from the Newfie. One theory is that the breed's name comes from the Spanish word for a laborer of the land, labrador. Another is that the breed is related to the dogs that accompanied Portuguese fishermen who trawled the Grand Banks off the coast of Labrador and neighboring Newfoundland.

French Bulldog

Robin Burkett, Animal Photography

French Bulldog

Here's one that really should surprise you: The bat-eared canine we call the "Frenchie" didn't originate in France. The breed comes from England, specifically the city of Nottingham. They were popular pets with lace workers, who kept the dogs for companionship and for ridding their workrooms of rats. When many lace makers immigrated to France after the Industrial Revolution, they took their dogs with them — and the breed took on the name of its new country.

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