Their origin is disputed. Some authorities believe they are the result of crossings between mastiffs and sheepdogs; others see them as descending from Tibetan Mastiffs about 2,000 years ago; others prefer a Mesopotamian origin.
The Cavalier King Charles has become the most popular of the Toy Spaniels. It is the ideal small companion dog with lots of character. Affectionate and friendly, it loves to interact and play games with everyone within the family.
Also known as the Alabai, the Mid-Asian Shepherd, the Central Asian Sheepdog, the Central Asian Owcharka (also written as Ovcharka or Ovtcharka), the Middle Asian Owcharka, the Sredneaziatskaya Owcharka, or simply the Asian Shepherd.
This attractive, short-legged breed, with its bushy beard and eyebrows, was deliberately created by the Czech geneticist Dr Frantisek Hоrak of Klanovice, following World War II. Before the war he had been a keen hunter and had then favoured Scottish Terriers.
In earlier days it was sometimes referred to as the Red Chester, the Brown Winchester, the American Duck Retriever or simply the Ducking Dog. Its primary role is as a cold-water retriever of game birds. It is known to its friends as the Chessie.
Totally unaware of their diminutive size, Chihuahuas really do believe themselves to be Mastiffs in heavy disguise. However, these feisty little dogs make extremely loyal pets and they enjoy family life and human company.
With a hairless body and a crest of hair reminiscent of a Chinese pigtail, this unique dog has other peculiarities; for example, many do not have a complete set of teeth. It is said to be one of the ancestors of the Chihuahua.
This is a breed created by one man - the American explorer Arthur Walden. Born in New Hampshire, he left to face the challenges of Alaska in 1869. Once there he became fascinated by the local working dogs and acquired great skill as a sled-driver.
It takes a special kind of personality to be the owner of a Chow Chow. Distinguished by their unique blue tongue, they have adapted to being household pets from their origins as hunting dogs in China. Chow Chows are prized species.
The Cirneco Dell'Etna has been living on Sicily for several thousand years. Dell'Etna is a reference to Mount Etna, the 1o,ooo-foot active volcano on Sicily's eastern side, where he hunts rabbits on the terrain formed by molten lava.