Dogs of the world

'When you point out something to a dog, he looks at your finger.' - J Bryan, III

Dogs are like children, small and hairy. And just like children they're loud, adorable/ugly and they're everywhere.

You cannot swing a cat on this planet without hitting a dog: loping Red Setters in Dublin, stretchy sausage dogs in Hamburg, cheeky Chihuahuas in Oaxaca – here's a frisky list to help you bone up on which dog comes from where:

  1. Scottish Terriers come from Scotland. Go figure. They like to dig, have tiny legs and look a little like very old, (very tiny) bearded men. Also known as Scotties.
  2. German Shepherds come from Germany. Wolfish, solid, popular with police and military. Not the dog you want to meet while breaking into a warehouse. See Rin Tin Tin.
  3. American Water Spaniels come from – yes you guessed it America. A gundog used for flushing out feather or fur, the Water Spaniel is a curly haired friendly animal with enormous floppy ears that keep it snug in the snow.
  4. Great Dane. Nope. Wrong. They're from Germany. Fearless hunters. Said to have a lovely loping stride. Harlequin is one of its official colours. Oh and big to very big.
  5. Pug. The dog with probably the best name of all comes from China. One of the oldest breeds, it looks like a survivor – squat, muscled, wrinkled – a little shop-worn. Said to have carried messages smuggled from an imprisoned Josephine to hubby Napoleon.
  6. St Bernard. Switzerland. Rotund, furry snow dog, found mainly in children's books. Not sure if they carry booze in tiny barrels around their necks so much anymore?
  7. Samoyed. Fluffy Russian dog tending white or cream in colour. Sheds hair twice a year. Known as the smiling dog. Sledding dog. Barks plenty. Very huggable.
  8. Argentine Dogo from … ok you guessed it already. Large, muscular dog bred for big game hunting (think boars and cougars). Short haired. Often hard of hearing.
  9. Australian cattle dog. From Australia. Known also as a Red or Blue Heeler. Brindled coat, tough, working dog with course, oily coat. Dingo bloodlines. See Mad Max's dog.
  10. Rhodesian Ridgeback. An athletic, alliterative type from South Africa. Protective, loyal, not so good with kids. Likes the occasional full-body shampoo with a strong bristled brush.
  11. Border Collie. Hitch-hiking in Ireland in the pouring rain, I squeezed into a tiny blue car with a bearded man and his soaking wet Border Collie. Each time I turned to answer a question the dog licked my face. He was a very earnest licker. Border Collies come from Northumberland though.

Research suggests that an improper proportion of hounds come from Germany (Boxers, Dachshunds, Dobermen, Schnausers to name a few) and very few from Wales (the Welsh Corgi must feel quite lonely).

Where does your dog come from? Feel free to add to the list or suggest improvements below.