Dog Breeds: B

Barbet

This rare water dog, thought to have originated in France, is today known affectionately as ‘The Father of all Poodles’. Barbets possess the characteristic webbed feet of the water dog, making them excellent swimmers. Their thick coat is well adapted for water and mud, though needs a lot of attention in order to prevent matting.

Basenji

A hunting dog, not far removed from the wilds of Africa, the Basenji is a unique pet in many respects. While not capable of barking in the manner of other dogs, Basenjis are quite vocal and expressive. Suited to families or individuals with the time and space to deal with high energy levels, but care must be taken to contain their drive to wander and to hunt.

Basque Shepherd Dog

A good-natured, lively and highly intelligent breed, the Basque Shepherd Dog is well suited to the outdoor life and makes a great contender in a variety of competitive canine activities. Originally from the Basque region of Spain, incredibly, they are still used there today for pastoral purposes. Equally, however, they make a fantastic family pet, and are known for being particularly patient with small children.

Basset Artésien Normand

The Basset Artésien Normand is a medium sized scent hound that was developed in France to track game while hunting on foot. It is an excellent tracking dog and requires an active lifestyle, but also makes a friendly and affectionate companion, getting along well with children and other dogs. It’s long ears and skin folds can predispose it to infections, but otherwise, the breed requires minimal grooming.

Basset Bleu de Gascogne

An enthusiastic hunter with great stamina and an extremely sensitive nose, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne is a very old breed that originated in France, where it was used by peasants on foot to hunt a range of game. A very rare breed in the United Kingdom, it makes a playful and amiable pet that gets along very well with people and other dogs.

Basset Fauve de Bretagne

This typically low-slung small Basset breed hails from northern France, where it is extremely popular as a rabbit hunter, working either individually or in pairs through thick vegetation. However, it is also gaining popularity as a pet because of its cheerful disposition and sociability. The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is a perfect choice of dog for children, and it can mix with other non-canine pets, despite its hunting background.

Basset Griffon Vendeen

With its comically abundant eyebrows and twitching moustache, the Basset Griffon Vendeen’s appearance gives some clues as to its friendly and jovial personality. Originally a hunting dog, it has now become a sought-after pet, but it retains a strong hunting instinct and must be watched around cats and other small pets. Petit and Grand variations exist, and both need plenty of exercise.

Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is a medium sized breed with a placid and affectionate temperament. It was originally bred in France for tracking animals during hunts over large distances and has an exceptional sense of smell. It has a short coat, which requires minimal grooming, but can be prone to skin problems due to excessive wrinkles in addition to some other health problems. The Basset Hound is exceptionally good with children and other animals.

Bavarian Mountain Dog

A brave, tenacious hunter with a keen nose for blood, the Bavarian Mountain Dog is finding its way from the wilds of southern Germany into increasing numbers of homes because of its devotion to its owner, coupled with its calm and poised manner. Though famously reserved around strangers, it is never shy or aggressive, and it has the patience and stoicism to tolerate even the rowdiest of children.

Beagle

The Beagle is small sized hound, which is gentle, intelligent and good natured. The modern Beagle was developed in Great Britain but has since proved enormously popular in the USA and Canada, as well as around the world. Beagles are exceptionally good with children and make good family pets, but can suffer from separation anxiety. They need a medium amount of exercise and do not require any specialist grooming. They suffer from some inherited health problems so selection of a healthy family line is important.

Beaglier

Beagliers are small, sociable designer dogs with a reasonably long history. Particularly popular in Australia, they are known for their playful and affectionate personality, although they are rarely compatible with other non-canine pets. They are energetic and gentle enough to be suitable for most children, though their coat can shed quite heavily, and may be an issue for allergy sufferers.

Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie is a medium sized breed of herding dog that was developed to work with sheep and cattle in Scotland. It is charismatic, bouncy and intelligent and extremely quick to learn. The Bearded Collie is an active dog and requires plenty of exercise. It has a long coat which needs regular brushing to keep it in good condition.

Beauceron

Although it has long been used as a hunting and guardian dog in its native France, the Beauceron is an unfamiliar breed to many. Highly intelligent and easily trainable, this is a dog that can reward a confident owner with unfailing loyalty and protection, but it needs discipline, intense socialisation, and plenty of exercise. It does not mix well with other pets.

Bedlington Terrier

Despite its appearance, the Bedlington Terrier is more wolf than lamb, and remains true to its working origins as a hunter. While keeping the home free of rats and mice, it will also be a loyal companion, a vigilant watch dog, and enthusiastic playmate. It gets along with other easy-going small breeds, but its headstrong, fearless nature means it should not be left unattended with larger or aggressive dogs.

Belgian Shepherd

The Belgian Shepherd is sometimes considered not one, but four breeds, and can be seen with a variety of coat types and colours. This large, intelligent dog is highly energetic, and is popular with police forces around the world for its trainability and bravery. It makes a loyal and obedient pet, but needs an experienced owner with the time to give it the vigorous exercise it needs.

Bergamasco

Those that can look past its tangled, matted mess of hair will find the Bergamasco to be a very intelligent, gentle dog with the independence and determination that might be expected from a herding dog expected to work on its own initiative. The bizarre coat is a triumph of function over appearance, and is amongst the easiest to care for in the canine world.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, docile breed with an extremely good nature. Originally developed in Switzerland as an all round farm dog the breed has a thick coat, which can shed heavily but does not require specialist grooming. It is very loyal and likes to be part of the household, getting on well with children and other pets. The Bernese Mountain Dog can suffer from several health problems and lives on average for around 7 - 8 years.

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small breed, which belongs to the toy group. The breed is intelligent with a happy, lively and extremely sociable character. It was originally from the island of Tenerife but was later developed in France. The Bichon Frise is fantastic with children and makes an excellent companion but can suffer separation anxiety. The breed ideally needs professional grooming and can suffer from some inherited health problems so selection of a healthy family line is important.

Bichpoo

Bichpoos are lively and affectionate companion dogs that are produced by cross-breeding the Bichon Frise and Poodle. Their playfulness and cheerful disposition allow them to fit in with young families, even those with other pets. The fluffy coat requires regular grooming, and the Bichpoo needs a good deal of exercise for a dog so small. Owners must be prepared to provide constant companionship to prevent separation anxiety.

Black and Tan Coonhound

The Black and Tan Coonhound originates from the US where he was bred to hunt raccoons. A gentle dog, but with a wanderlust and a love of howling, this canine character is a handful and, whilst he is reliable with children, his tendency to be led by his nose means he’s challenging to train and not suited to first-time owners.

Black Norwegian Elkhound

Closely related to the original grey Norwegian Elkhound, these are an active and hard-working breed of dog that love to be outdoors, even in the height of the harshest winter. Requiring plenty of stimulation, these lively dogs do very well when competing in outdoor activities and have a highly adapted sense of smell, which puts them at a distinct advantage when tracking and hunting.

Bloodhound

Bloodhounds are gentle and loving dogs with a distinctive appearance due to their wrinkles, long, droopy ears, and hanging eyes. They are famous for their impressive sense of smell and are used by the police for tracking people, being able to follow a scent for a long time and over long distances. At home, they are excellent pets, very fond of children, and friendly towards other animals.

Blue Lacy

An originally Texan dog, the Blue Lacy is known for being fierce and brave. They are an enthusiastic and highly adaptable working breed, with a well-proportioned, muscular conformation. Their stamina and energy reserves seem endless, and they can endure even the toughest of weather conditions. A generally healthy and long-lived dog, they thrive in farms and on ranches, and love to be outdoors all day long.

Bluetick Coonhound

A hound that gets its name from its stunning, speckled coat, the Bluetick Coonhound is an athletic, medium-sized dog who is fantastic at trailing scents, even many days after the target is long gone. While valuable as hunters, they are equally suited to family life and make superb pets if provided with an active, outdoor lifestyle.

Boerboel

The Boerboel is a massive mastiff-type dog, native to South Africa. Bred to protect homesteads against big cat predators, this dog is intimidating and yet his hefty exterior hides a loving heart towards his family. Given the Boerboel’s size and strength, good socialisation is essential, as is an experienced owner well-versed in ethical ways to motivate large dogs.

Bohemian Shepherd

The perfect mix of a loving companion and talented herding and sports dog, the Bohemian Shepherd has easily earned its status as a versatile and much-loved pet in its homeland, the Czech Republic. Diligent and quick to learn, this breed performs well in a huge variety of tasks and was even employed alongside the Chodove people to patrol and guard the borders of Bohemia in the 14th century.

Bolognese

One of the original lapdogs, the Bolognese has a long history that can be traced back through the aristocratic families of Italy. It is a playful, but serene, toy breed that rewards a loving owner with loyalty and devotion. Very sociable with other pets, and good with older children, it will fit well into most homes.

Borador

A multi-talented worker, as well as a gentle and protective companion, the Borador shows just how well designer dog breeding can sometimes work out. This Border Collie/Labrador Retriever cross is just as well suited to life as a family pet as it is to search-and-rescue or guide dog work. Its coat requires very little work, but it needs a lot of exercise.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is an English dog breed characterized by its tireless energy and stamina, and incredible intelligence, that puts it in the top list of the smartest dogs. They flourished as herding dogs, and are known for their staring gaze and herding tendencies, but they also make wonderful family pets. They are affectionate, loyal, and easily bonded to people. They require a large amount of both mental and physical stimuli in order to develop their full potential and be happy dogs.

Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is a friendly, active, hardy, small breed of dog, with a wheaten, red, grizzle or blue-coloured, rough-textured outer coat. The Border Terrier loves to do all of the things you would expect a dog to do – dig, run, jump, bark, eat and chase cats. The Border Terrier is a loving, cheerful companion, and an excellent playmate for children.

Borzoi

The Borzoi is a large, quiet and sensitive breed of dog developed by the Russian aristocracy as a sighthound used to hunt many types of small wild game. It is independent in nature and training must be kept varied to ensure it does not become disinterested. The breed can find young children overwhelming and has innate hunting instincts, which mean it can be prone to chasing small animals. It does not require specialist grooming but does need regular brushing. Generally, the breed is healthy and does not suffer from breed specific health problems.

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is a small, lively breed with an exceptionally sociable nature which makes them excellent companions. Originating from the USA, the Boston Terrier was influenced by several other bull and terrier breeds. It has minimal grooming requirements and lives to around 12 years old. It has some health problems and is a brachycephalic breed which can have problems breathing so care should be taken to avoid hot or stressful conditions.

Bouvier des Ardennes

Almost lost to extinction just a few short decades ago, this breed of dog is phenomenally rare, and almost never spotted outside its native Belgium. Traditionally used to herd cattle on farms, they are well-adapted to their role, and continue to work on Belgian farms to this day. They are equally adept at hunting, and even provided families with food when times were hard during World War I.

Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres is a large, sensible breed of dog who is both brave and extremely loyal. Originally developed in the Flanders region of Belgium as an all-round farm dog with excellent herding capabilities, the breed now fulfills other working roles and is kept as a companion. The breed has a thick, profuse coat, which requires regular brushing, but does not shed. The Bouvier des Flandres is an energetic breed that needs an experienced owner and plenty of exercise. The breed can suffer from some inherited health problems so carefully selecting a puppy from a healthy line is important.

Boxer

The Boxer is a medium sized dog that originates from Germany where it was originally used for hunting and then by the army in World War I. The Boxer has a playful, happy character but is, at the same time, fearless and protective of its family. Boxers are energetic dogs and need consistent training and plenty of exercise. They can suffer from some health problems, so careful selection of healthy family lines is important.

Boykin Spaniel

This sweet-natured and sporty brown dog is as suited to hunting and retrieving out on the water, as it is to curling up with you and your family by the fire in the evening. Docile yet energetic, they make a great companion to any child, and their intelligence, versatility and willing nature make them pleasantly easy to train.

Bracco Italiano

The Bracco Italiano is a large breed of dog that was originally used as a pointer and retriever during shoots in Italy. The breed is very active and requires around two-hours of exercise a day. It has a gentle, docile character and is affectionate and good with children. Its coat is short and it does not require any specialist grooming.

Braque d’Auvergne

Unknown to most people outside the hunting community, the Braque d’Auvergne is a long-established French pointer that can offer a great deal as a pet. Its innate responsiveness, eagerness to please, and intelligence mean it is generally very obedient, while it is remarkably affectionate and gentle, making it a great fit for homes with children. It needs a lot of exercise, and should not be kept with smaller pets.

Braque Français

A family-orientated dog, the Braque Français is fabulously skilful at its job, making him both a great hunting companion and house-hold pet. Intelligent and composed, he takes well to all manner of training, and can become skilled at a variety of tasks. Sensitive at times, a patient and kind owner will benefit this dog most.

Brazilian Terrier

A versatile and vivacious little terrier, this breed is well-known within its native Brazil – though not yet in the rest of the world. Prized for their vermin catching ability, they thrive when outdoors and active, and have almost endless amounts of energy. A great addition to an active family, the Brazilian Terrier is highly trainable, plucky, spirited and a real pleasure to be around.

Briard

The Briard is a large breed of dog, which was originally used as a multipurpose farm dog and has excellent herding skills. It was developed in the Brie region of France and is very active, requiring about two-hours of exercise a day. It is a happy, lively breed, is extremely intelligent, and thrives on mental stimulation. The Briard is very loyal and highly protective of its family, meaning it makes an excellent guard dog.

Brittany

The Brittany is a clever, biddable dog from northern France that has traditionally been used as a pointer by hunters. Although its sweet disposition and sociability can make it a terrific choice for families with children or other dogs, it has extremely high energy levels that need to be managed through regular, intensive exercise.

Broholmer

The Broholmer is a rare Danish breed of dog that can make a gentle and affectionate companion with the right guidance. Large and well-muscled, this imposing dog has been used for centuries as a guard dog; a task that he is well-suited to with his often-distrustful nature. Consistent training from a young age is critical to ensure this powerful breed never gets out of hand.

Bucovina Shepherd Dog

This ancient, large- breed dog, native to the mountains of North East Romania is rarely, if ever, seen outside its home country. Prized for the loyalty it will show its family, and its ability as a guard dog, the Bucovina Shepherd that was once used as a protector of sheep and goats, is now more commonly seen protecting the households of urban Romania.

Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier are physically very similar but are differentiated by their size. They are fun loving, charming dogs which can be independent and stubborn. They were originally developed as a fighting dog in England, but despite this, they do not look for trouble. They require minimal grooming and get on well with children. The breed does suffer from some health problems so selection of a healthy family line is important.

Bulldog

One of Britain's oldest native breeds the Bulldog is now primarily a companion dog. A stout, thick-set dog, the Bulldog was bred for bull-baiting, but after this was banned, a more affectionate, gentle nature was selected for. Bulldogs are good with children and do not require lots of exercise but are prone to some health problems, so careful selection of healthy family lines is key.

Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff is a powerful, fearless guardian, but also a loyal and affectionate pet. Dependable with children and other pets, and reserved with strangers, the breed is an excellent choice of family pet for those with the space to accommodate them. They require little grooming, but produce a lot of drool! A moderate amount of exercise is required to keep them in good shape.