5 dog breeds whose names reveal their European origins | High Five | DW | 13.06.2018
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5 dog breeds whose names reveal their European origins

Hundreds of different breeds are internationally recognized. The way these five breeds are called is linked to their European roots. But sometimes names can be misleading as well.

It's hard to say how many dog breeds exist in the world. That's because different federations and associations produce their own lists following different criteria. And next to the internationally recognized breeds, there are probably thousands more that are only recognized on a national level, and still others that, so far, haven't been recognized at all.

Whereas the names of  pugs and poodles are believed to somewhat describe their looks or their character, other names of dog breeds have been derived from their places of origin — although that's not always correct. The Great Dane did not originally come not from Denmark, but from Germany. The breed is called Deutsche Dogge in German.  

The English word "dog" is derived from the German "Dogge," even though the term only refers to a particular breed in Germany. The other way around, the English term "hound" that's used for some breeds was taken from the German word "Hund," which is the generic term for "dog."

Read more: 5 activities you probably wouldn't have expected to be dog-friendly

Zeus the Great Dane (picture-alliance/dpa/K. S. Ramos/Guinness World Records)

Zeus the Great Dane was named the "world's tallest dog"

The Great Dane is the world's tallest dog breed. The world's tallest individual dog ever was also a Great Dane called Zeus, from the US, which measured 1.118 meters (3 feet 8 inches) from its foot to its withers. The Great Dane is the official state dog of Pennsylvania as well.

The world's smallest dog is the chihuahua, with some particularly tiny exemplars weighing only half a kilo. This dog, known for poking out of handbags, also got its name from a place — the province of Chihuahua in Mexico, where wild variants of the miniature dog are said to be still roaming around freely. 

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