The dog is one of the world's most common pet and working animals. These beloved animals are relatives of wild wolves that were domesticated 15,000 years ago. The first animal in space was a dog. Dogs cannot eat chocolate, grapes, onions, macadamia nuts, daffodils or pennies minted after 1982, among other things.
Beagles have been around for over 2,000 years. They were originally bred for their very keen sense of smell, and would track rabbit, hare and other game. Queen Elizabeth I had a pack of trained beagles and one of the world's most famous dogs, Snoopy, is a member of this royal breed.
Boxers are German dogs that get their name from their habit of standing on their hind legs, in a “boxing" position. They are intelligent dogs that used to hunt bear, wild boar and deer. About a quarter of boxers are born white, meaning they're also more likely to be deaf, a quirk they share with Siamese cats.
Bulldogs have been recognized since 1568. They are tough, stubborn fighters. Because of this, their rough faces with that trademark under bite are very common mascots for schools and teams. In fact, the bulldog is one of the symbols of the United Kingdom and the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Chihuahua, discovered in Mexico in 1850, is the smallest breed of dog in the world. Some scientists think that Chinese hairless dogs actually crossed over the Bering Strait from Asia, and mated with Aztec dogs in Mexico. They're the only animals whose skulls never harden in certain spots, making them vulnerable to injury.
There are two varieties of this wavy-haired dog, the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. The dogs originated in England and came over in the 1800's. They are sleek, fast hunting dogs that were used in the forest to scare animals from the brush.
The Dachshund is a German breed of hunting dog that was bred to chase badgers out of their holes. It's long body and short legs have some people calling it a wiener dog, sausage dog or hot dog. They were a beloved pet of Queen Victoria and the unofficial mascot of Germany.
German Shepherd dogs, also sometimes called Alsatians, are excellent working dogs. They are smart and powerful and can be found doing police work, guarding, search and rescue and military work. Because of their aggressive nature, German Shepherds must be actively socialized as puppies to get used to humans.
The Golden Retriever comes from Scotland and was recognized as a breed in 1911. These lovable dogs are extremely social. They're also very high maintenance. Their high energy levels mean lots of exercise and play. Their love of learning makes golden retrievers good seeing eye dogs and search and rescue dogs.
Labrador retrievers, or labs, are the most popular dogs in the United States and United Kingdom. They originated from Newfoundland and make great hunting dogs. In fact, the “retriever" part of their name means that they will run into the woods after a shot and bring the prey back to the hunter.
Miniature Schnauzers are small dogs originally bred in Germany. They can be brown, black, white or silver and are very popular show dogs. They are intelligent, energetic dogs that sometimes become a handful for lazy owners. They have a growth of hair around their mouths that looks like a beard.
Hunters used the French poodle to retrieve ducks and other waterfowl after a hunt. These strong dogs had to be excellent swimmers, so most of their coarse hair was shaved off to eliminate drag. Hair was left on a poodle around joints that would get cold in the water, like the hips. This tradition inspired poodles' unique haircuts.
During the Shang Dynasty that ended in 1122 BC, pugs were bred to be companions to Chinese royalty. They're hard to breed - pugs have narrow hips and cannot give birth naturally, they have to have a cesarean section. Once new puppies are born, pugs have great temperaments and socialize well, despite their close resemblance to the bulldog.
Shih Tzu dogs originated in China, where they were guard dogs. Scientists have discovered that Shih Tzu are one of the oldest breed of dog still being actively mated. They're sometimes called the Chrysanthemum dog, because their face looks like the flower, and they are holy in the Tibetan culture.
Yorkshire terriers, or Yorkies, are the second most popular breed of dog in the United States. Yorkies are energetic and smart dogs. Their beautiful silver and brown coat is much like human hair and does not shed. These dogs originated in Yorkshire, in England, where they were bred to hunt rants and mice.