Living

The dogs of Westminster

Updated 1:39 PM ET, Tue February 12, 2013
Share
Pembroke Welsh CorgiPembroke Welsh Corgi
1 of 19
Many dog breeds recognized by the Westminster Kennel Club are named for the work they were bred to do, such as pointers, retrievers and shepherds. But some dog breeds are not as obvious. Pembroke Welsh Corgis, for example, are well-known as the foxy, playful pet of Queen Elizabeth. No taller than 2 feet, this dog was originally bred to herd and drive cattle. The Westminster Kennel Club
The Hungarian Komondor has long been used to guard livestock. That's because this dog can do so instinctively with no training. Oli Scarff/Getty Images
A favorite of Afghan royalty for centuries, the Afghan Hound was bred to hunt gazelle, snow leopards and hare. Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Far from an awkward Marmaduke, the Great Dane breed was developed in Germany to hunt wild boar. In fact, this dog was called the "Boar Hound" when introduced to America in the late 1800s. G. R. Greated/Fox Photos/Getty Images
In ancient Malta, some believed the Maltese dog had healing abilities. They were often brought to the bedsides of the ill in hopes of a speedy recovery. TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images
The Norfolk Terrier was bred specifically for Cambridge University students in the 1800s and 1900s, as they had a great need to rid their dorms of rats. Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The Canadian Nova Scotia Duck Tolling, a retriever, was bred to play so beguilingly along a shoreline, as its owner threw a stick or ball, that ducks would leave their hiding places in curiosity. This dog lures ducks in for the hunt. The Westminster Kennel Club
Known as an ancient companion of Roman warriors, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a guard dog with a twist: Italian owners bred this dog to startle, amaze and astonish onlookers. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Named for an Irish valley, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a vermin-hunting dog that was bred with a unique talent: This dog functioned as a cog in elaborate turnspits by pawing a large wheel that turns a spit over a fire. Well done! The Westminster Kennel Club
Although named for the island of Ibiza, the Ibizan Hound was known as a hunting dog in ancient Egypt. They are distinguished by jumping like deer as they chase their prey. The Westminster Kennel Club
These small, portable and delicate-looking dogs were developed to hunt badgers and other animals that live burrowed underground. In fact, Dachshunds have strong chest muscles, intended for digging up dens. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
The centuries-old Norwegian Lundehund breed from arctic Norway has six toes on each foot, in order to climb rocky cliffs so it can hunt puffins. Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for American Kennel Club
Originally bred in China as far back as 800 AD, the Pekingese dog has long been a companion of royalty. They earned the moniker "Sleeve Dog" because they were often carried in the sleeves of Chinese courtiers' robes. R. Mathews/BIPs/Getty Images
It's far easier to call this breed the "Mexican Hairless," but the Xoloitzcuintli (Show-low-itz-quint-lee) was prized by Aztecs as the guard dogs of the dead. They can still be found in Mexican jungles. Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for American Kennel Club
These tiny dogs with mysterious origins (people speculate Chihuahuas were developed by Aztecs, ancient Egyptians, the Sudanese or perhaps in Malta) have been used for religious sacrifice, eaten by conquistadors and used to guide their dead owners' souls to the hereafter. Oli Scarff/Getty Images
The Bouvier Des Flandres, from the farms of Northern France and Belgium, is traditionally used for herding, pulling milk carts and police work. These dogs often weigh around 100 lbs. The Westminister Kennel Club
The Newfoundland dog, named for the land where the breed originated, was traditionally used as a working farm dog. Another talent encouraged by the Newfoundland's owners was pulling in fisherman's nets. stephen chernin/getty
The Tibetan Lhasa Apso breed was developed by dalai lamas as guard dogs. These dogs have excellent hearing, which helped their masters protect temples. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
An old companion breed from the Mediterranean, Bichon Frises, developed a knack for inspiring painters. They often appear in Renaissance art. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images