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33 English Dog Breeds

Nicole Cosgrove

July 6, 2021

The merry old land of England brought the world everything from Shakespeare’s sonnets to fish and chips. Among the contributions of the English culture, are many of the worldʻs most well-known and popular breeds of dogs. From the giant Bullmastiff to the tiny Yorkshire Terrier, here are 33 dog breeds with English roots.

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Top 33 English Dog Breeds:

1. Bullmastiff

Bullmastiff
Image Credit: BORINA OLGA, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 24-27 inches, 100-130 pounds
Life expectancy: 7-9 years
Temperament: Affectionate, loyal, and brave
Colors: Fawn, red, or brindle

Bullmastiffs were developed by rich English landowners in the 19th century to help guard their hunting grounds against poachers. They are large, powerful dogs with big heads and strong jaws. Despite their size, bullmastiffs are typically docile dogs—if not a bit stubborn. They should be trained and socialized from an early age due to their large size.


2. English Mastiff

English Mastiff
Image Credit: Michal Ninger, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 27.5 inches and up, 120-230 pounds
Life expectancy: 6-10 years
Temperament: Courageous, dignified, and good-natured
Colors: Fawn, apricot, or brindle

English mastiffs were guarding the island as far back as 55 B.C. when Julius Caesar invaded, later taking some of the giant dogs he encountered back to Rome. Mastiffs were used as hunters and guard dogs in medieval England. Modern-day mastiffs are still large and intimidating-looking dogs but are generally more docile than their ancestors. Mastiffs are bigger than Bullmastiffs, with wrinkly foreheads and a thicker coat. They are gentle giants but like all big dogs should be properly socialized and trained from puppyhood.


3. Old English Sheepdog

old english sheepdog bobtail
Image Credit: Svetlana Valoueva, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 21 inches and up, 60-100 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Temperament: Adaptable, gentle, and smart
Colors: Gray and white

Old English Sheepdogs were most likely developed in the West of England in the 1700s. They originally served as drover dogs, moving herds of cattle from one place to another. Old English Sheepdogs are active, friendly dogs with a lot of personality. Their distinctive shaggy coats require regular grooming to keep them maintained.


4. Otterhound

Otterhound_Shutterstock_Lourdes Photography
Image Credit: Lourdes Photography, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 24-27 inches, 80-115 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-13 years
Temperament: Amiable, Boisterous, and even-tempered
Colors: Grey, blue, yellow, brown, black, fawn, and combinations of these

This lesser-known breed was developed in medieval England to hunt otters that were preying on fish in rivers and stocked ponds. The Otterhound did its job a little too well and otter hunting was eventually outlawed due to the near extinction of the species. Because of this, Otterhounds are not as widely bred as other hunting breeds. Otterhounds are excellent swimmers and have webbed feet and a keen sense of smell.


5. Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retriever
Image Credit: H. B., Pixabay
Height and weight: 22-24.5 inches, 60-70 pounds
Life expectancy: 8-10 years
Temperament: Cheerful, optimistic, and good-humored
Colors: Black or liver

Flat-coated retrievers were first bred in England in the mid-1800s. They were once the most popular retrievers in England but now lag in popularity to the more well-known Labrador and Golden Retrievers. Flat-coated retrievers are known for being extraordinarily happy dogs overall and remain mischievous and puppy-like for many years. They are very energetic and require a lot of exercise.


6. Curly Coated Retriever

black curly coated retriever
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 23-27 inches, 60-95 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Temperament: Confident, proud, and wickedly smart
Colors: Black and liver

This distinctive-looking breed was developed in England in the 1800s as a waterfowl retriever and gun dog. Their curly coats are waterproof and help protect them from rough terrain as they hunt. Curly Coated Retrievers are affectionate but more independent and wary of strangers than other retrievers. They are very energetic and intelligent dogs who need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them occupied.


7. English Foxhound

English foxhound_Shutterstock_Mary Swift
Image credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 24 inches, 60-75 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-13 years
Temperament: Affectionate, gentle, and sociable
Colors: Black, white and tan or lemon and white

English Foxhounds were bred in the 1600s to hunt foxes in packs, trailed by hunters on horseback. The fox hunting tradition later spread to Colonial America, where a distinct breed, the American Foxhound was developed. English Foxhounds are sweet dogs but very energetic and can be stubborn. They have a sharp nose and a strong hunting drive, which can make them challenging to keep as house pets unless they have space to roam safely or otherwise get lots of exercise.


8. Pointer

english pointer_No-longer-here_Pixabay
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay
Height and weight: 23-28 inches, 45-75 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-17 years
Temperament: Loyal, hard-working, and even-tempered
Colors: Black, black and white, lemon, lemon and white, liver, liver and white, orange, orange, and white

Pointers date back to the 1700s in England, where they were used to find and retrieve game birds. They are still very popular hunting dogs but their intelligence, athleticism, and good temper mean they also excel in other activities. Pointers compete in agility, field trials, and serve as service and therapy dogs. They are active dogs who need a lot of exercise.


9. Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier on grass
Image Credit: Lumia Studio, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 23 inches, 50-70 pounds
Life expectancy: 11-14 years
Temperament: Friendly, clever, and courageous
Colors: Black and tan, grizzle and tan

Airedale Terriers were developed by workers in the north of England in the mid-1800s as duck and rat hunters. They are smart and strong dogs, famously versatile, and able to perform many different jobs. Airedales are an active breed and can be rambunctious so regular exercise and obedience training is recommended.


10. English Setter

english setter
Image Credit: Pixabay
Height and weight: 23-27 inches, 45-80 pounds
Life expectancy: 12 years
Temperament: Friendly, mellow, and merry
Colors: Blue, Tri-color, Lemon, Liver, Orange

English Setters were developed 400-500 years ago as hunting dogs. They have a distinctive speckled coat pattern called “Belton.” English Setters are known as sweet and sensitive dogs who make wonderful companions. They require regular exercise and do best with gentle, positive training.


11. Bull Terrier

Bullterrier-on-green-field_tratong_shutterstock
Credit: tratong, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 21-22 inches, 50-70 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-13 years
Temperament: Playful, charming, and mischievous
Colors: White and any other color, solid or with white markings

Bull terriers were developed in the 1800s, at first as a fighting dog, but they became popular as pets after dogfighting was outlawed in England. They are strong, muscular dogs with fun and unique personalities. Socialization from a young age is very important for bull terriers. They also require patient training and plenty of attention.


12. Field Spaniel

fieldspaniel_Pxhere
Image Credit: Pxhere
Height and weight: 17-18 inches, 35-50 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-13 years
Temperament: Sweet, fun-loving, and sensitive
Colors: Black, liver

The Field Spaniel was developed in England in the late 1800s after dog shows began to rise in popularity. Before that time, spaniels used for hunting werenʻt classified into distinctive breeds.  Show breeders began to selectively develop different types of spaniel and the Field Spaniel was one of these. Originally bred as hunting dogs, they are smart and well-known for being extraordinarily docile dogs who get along well with people and other animals. Like all energetic and intelligent dogs, they require regular exercise, training, and mental stimulation.


13. English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel chasing Snow Goose
Image Credit: Susan Schmitz, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 19-20 inches, 40-50 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-14 years
Temperament: Friendly, playful, and obedient
Colors: Black and white, liver and white, or these colors plus tan

Like Field Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels were developed from a more generalized group of spaniels. First recognized in the 1700s, English Springer Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs. They are highly trainable, hard-working, and social dogs. Springers are still used for hunting but also in detection work and are popular family pets. Because they are so social, Springers may not do well if left alone often.


14. Sussex Spaniel

Sussex Spaniel
Image Credit: rebeccaashworth, Shutterstock2
Height and weight: 13-15 inches, 35-45 pounds
Life expectancy: 13-15 years
Temperament: Friendly, merry and even-tempered
Colors: Golden liver

Sussex Spaniels were developed in the County of Sussex in the 1700s as short but burly hunting dogs, uniquely suited to the tough terrain of the area. The Sussex Spaniel is not as common as some of the other spaniel breeds. They are a slow-growing breed and should not be exercised too strenuously while they are young to avoid injury. Sussex Spaniels can be stubborn and require a patient trainer.


15. Clumber Spaniel

Clumber Spaniel_Flickr upload bot _Wikimedia
Image Credit: Flickr upload bot , Wikimedia
Height and weight: 17-20 inches, 55-85 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Temperament: Mellow, amusing, and gentlemanly
Colors: White with lemon or orange markings

Clumber Spaniels are named after the Nottinghamshire estate where they were first developed in the 1700s. Bred as short but strong and burly hunting dogs, they are also sweet and easy-going pets. Clumbers enjoy time in the outdoors and do tend to shed and drool. They are eager to please but a bit challenging to train because they prefer to think over a command before deciding whether or not to obey.


16. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

staffordshire bull terrier
Image Credit: Pixabay
Height and weight: 14-16 inches, 24-38 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-14 years
Temperament: Clever, brave, and tenacious
Colors: Black, blue, brindle, fawn, red, white, or any of these colors with white

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was one of several breeds developed originally for use in blood sports like pit fighting. Staffies as a distinct breed were first recognized in the mid-19th century. After dogfighting was outlawed, breeders focused on crafting this former fighting breed into a beloved family pet. It is important to socialize and train Staffies from a young age, especially with other animals. They are smart, loyal, and eager to please dogs.


17. Bulldog

Old tyme bulldog_chrisbrignell_Shutterstock
Image Credit: chrisbrignell, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 14-15 inches, 40-50 pounds
Life expectancy: 8-10 years
Temperament: Friendly, courageous, and calm
Colors: Fallow, fawn, brindle, red, white, or a mixture of these

Bulldogs are easily one of the most recognizable and popular dog breeds in the world. Developed in the 13th century for bull baiting, Bulldogs are a national symbol in England. Bulldogs are easy-going, personable, and charming dogs, which helps explain their worldwide popularity. It is important to be aware that Bulldogs are susceptible to numerous health problems, particularly breathing issues due to their flattened noses. They are very sensitive to overheating as well.


18. English Cocker Spaniel

English-cocker-spaniel_Labrador-Photo-Video_shutterstock
Credit: Labrador Photo Video, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 15-17 inches, 26-34 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-14 years
Temperament: Energetic, merry, and responsive
Colors: Black, tan, blue roan, golden, lemon roan, liver, liver roan, orange roan, red roan, orange plus mixtures of these and white

Like the previously described spaniel breeds, English Cockers were developed in the 19th century as hunting dogs. They are a distinct breed from the American Cocker Spaniel, primarily distinguished by being larger and with a thinner head. English Cocker Spaniels are talented hunting dogs and popular as pets because of their charming personalities.


19. Beagle

Beagle-Basset-Mix_Sandy-Waggett_shutterstoock
Credit: Sandy Waggett, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 13 inches and under or 13-15 inches, under 20 pounds or 20-30 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-15 years
Temperament: Friendly, curious, and merry
Colors: Black and tan, Tri-color, Lemon, and white, tan and white, red and white

Happy and adorable Beagles are one of the most popular dogs to originate in England. They were first developed in the 1300s to hunt rabbits. Beagles are still very capable rabbit hunters but are most well-known as energetic, lovable pets. They are endlessly entertaining, talkative dogs who can also be stubborn. They love food and will follow their noses wherever an exciting scent leads.


20. Whippet

Whippet
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay
Height and weight: 18-22 inches, 25-40 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Temperament: Affectionate, playful, and calm
Colors: Black, blue, brindle, fawn, cream, red, white, and combinations of these

Whippets were developed in Victorian England by working-class breeders who wanted to hunt rabbits and race dogs in their free time but couldnʻt afford to keep large Greyhounds. Practically, they just created a smaller version with the same speed and lean build. Whippets still enjoy a good run but are also calm, low-maintenance pets who rarely bark.


21. Fox Terrier

miniature fox terrier
Image Credit: Kazz Smith, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 15 inches, 15-18 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Temperament: Confident, alert, and gregarious
Colors: White, White and black, white and tan, tri-color

Fox Terriers are separated into the Wire Fox Terrier and the Smooth Fox Terrier based on their coat type. The two breeds are of similar size and were both developed in the 1700s to chase foxes from their dens during hunts. Fox Terriers are smart, active, independent dogs with a lot of personality.


22. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel_ErikaWittlieb_Pixabay
Image Credit: ErikaWittlieb, Pixabay
Height and weight: 12-13 inches, 13-18 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Temperament: Affectionate, gentle, and graceful
Colors: Blenheim, tri-color, black and tan, ruby

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are descended from various types of toy spaniels popular in 17th century England. The distinct breed as it is known today was developed in the 1920s. Cavaliers are among the sweetest of dog breeds, known for their friendliness to all. They are adaptable, smart, and easily trained. Because of this, Cavaliers are popular agility and therapy dogs.


23. English Toy Spaniel

English Toy Spaniel
Image Credit: Mark KA, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 9-10 inches, 8-14 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Temperament: Gentle, playful, and intelligent
Colors: Blenheim (red and white), Ruby (red), King Charles (black and tan), Prince Charles (black, white, tan)

English Toy Spaniels (known in England as King Charles Spaniels) were developed in Victorian England, descendants of toy spaniels that had long been the favorites of English royalty. They have distinctive domed heads and profuse coats. English Toy Spaniels can be a bit more willful than Cavaliers although they are still friendly, quiet pets.


24. Bedlington Terrier

bedlington-terrier_No-longer-here_Pixabay
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay
Height and weight: 15-17.5 inches, 17-23 pounds
Life expectancy: 11-16 years
Temperament: Loyal, charming, and frolicking
Colors: Blue, liver, sandy, or these colors with tan

These unique-looking, “lamb dogs” were developed in North England in the 1800s. Originally used to hunt vermin, charming and lovable Bedlington Terriers became much-desired household companions. Bedlingtons are lively and like to be the center of attention. They don’t shed much but do require regular grooming to keep their fast-growing coats maintained.


25. Lakeland Terrier

lakeland-terrier_eventsfb_Pixabay
Image Credit: eventsfb, Pixabay
Height and weight: 14-15 inches, 17 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Temperament: Friendly, confident, and bold
Colors: Black, black and tan, blue, blue and tan, grizzle and tan, liver, red, red grizzle, wheaten

The Lakeland Terrier was first developed in the Lake District of northern England. It is one of the oldest terrier breeds from England. Lakeland Terriers are independent, strong-willed dogs who need early training and a lot of mental stimulation.


26. Manchester Terrier

Manchester-Terrier_Shutterstock_Ricantimages
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 15-16 inches, 12-22 pounds (Standard)
Life expectancy: 15-17 years
Temperament: Spirited, bright, and keenly observant
Colors: Black and tan

Manchester Terriers were developed in the city of Manchester in the mid-1800s. Originally used as rabbit and rat hunters, Manchester Terriers come in two sizes varieties, Standard and Toy. Manchester Terriers are fast, smart dogs who love a challenge. They may enjoy participating in a variety of dog sports including agility and flyball.


27. Parson Russell Terrier

Parson-Russell-Terrier_Kristyna-Mrazkova_shutterstock
Credit: Kristyna Mrazkova, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 13-14 inches, 13-17 pounds
Life expectancy: 13-15 years
Temperament: Friendly, clever, and athletic
Colors: White with black, brown, cream, tan, or tri-color markings

A lot of dog in a little package, the Parson Russell Terrier was developed in South England in the 1800s. Named after their creator, Parson John Russell, the Parson Russell was bred to pursue foxes down into their dens. Because of this history, these dogs are smart, tough, and independent. While they may look adorable, consistent training and socialization are a must for this strong-willed breed.


28. Russell Terrier

jack russell terrier
Image Credit: Pixabay
Height and weight: 10-12 inches, 9-15 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-14 years
Temperament: Alert, inquisitive, and lively
Colors: White with black, brown, cream, tan, or tri-color markings

Russell Terriers were also developed by Parson John Russell in the 1800s. They are a shorter-legged version of the Parson Russell Terrier that is recognized and registered as a distinct breed. Russell Terriers share similar backgrounds and the strong-willed personalities of the larger Parson Russell Terriers.


29. Patterdale Terrier

Patterdale Terrier lounging
Image Credit: JD, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 10-15 inches, 11-13 pounds
Life expectancy: 11-14 years
Temperament: Tough and courageous
Colors: Black, red, liver and chocolate, grizzle, black, and tan, bronze

The Patterdale Terrier is recognized and registered as a distinct breed in England. They were developed in the North of England to hunt and kill vermin. Because of this, they are intense, hard-working dogs with a strong prey drive. They are primarily used as working dogs.


30. Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk terrier
Image Credit: PhotoDanis, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 9-10 inches, 11-12 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-16 years
Temperament: Fearless, alert and fun-loving
Colors: Black and tan, grizzle, red, red wheaten

Norfolk Terriers are a more recent breed, developed in the 20th century to hunt rats. Norfolk Terriers are distinguished from the closely related Norwich Terrier by their folded ears. These small terriers are social but have a strong prey drive. Early socialization and training are important.


31. Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier_Shutterstock_Natalia Fedosova
Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 10 inches, 12 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Temperament: Affectionate, alert, and curious
Colors: Black and tan, grizzle, red, wheaten

Norwich Terriers were developed in the 1800s. They are closely related to the Norfolk Terrier but are distinguished by their pricked, upright ears. Norwich Terriers were bred to hunt vermin in packs and are less independent than some other terrier breeds. They are known as extremely cute but sometimes stubborn dogs.


32. Border Terrier

adorable Border Terrier puppy
Image credit: Pixabay
Height and weight: 12-15 inches, 11.5- 15.5 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Temperament: Affectionate, happy, and plucky
Colors: Blue and tan, grizzle and tan, red, wheaten

The Border Terrier was developed in northern England near the Scottish border to help hunt foxes. They have longer legs than many terriers and a distinct head shape known as an “otter head.” Border Terriers get along better with other dogs than many terrier breeds but have a high prey drive around other small animals. They are hard-working dogs but affectionate and good-tempered pets.


33. Yorkshire Terrier

puppy-dog-biewer-Yorkshire-terrier_Svetlana_Khoruzhaia_shutterstock
Credit: Svetlana Khoruzhaia, Shutterstock
Height and weight: 7-8 inches, 7 pounds
Life expectancy: 11-15 years
Temperament: Affectionate, sprightly, and feisty
Colors: Black and tan, blue and tan, black and gold, blue and gold

The tiny but bossy Yorkshire Terrier was developed in Northern England in the 1800s. Despite their dainty appearance, these dogs were indeed bred, as most terriers were originally, to hunt rats and other vermin. They became more well-known as lap dogs as their popularity spread to urban areas. Yorkies pack a lot of personality into a small package and they remain extremely popular pets worldwide.


Featured image credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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