Dog Breeds: S

A true hybrid, the Saarloos Wolfdog is a mixture of two species: the German Shepherd dog and the Siberian wolf. While maintaining the aloofness and cautious nature of the wolf, the Saarloos Wolfdog has also inherited the intelligence and drive of the German Shepherd. Certainly not for the first-time owner, these dogs require a vast amount of time and training.

Bred for many centuries in the north of Spain as a hunting dog, the Sabueso Español has traditionally been used to track and hunt a huge variety of game, including wild boar and rabbits. Seldom kept as a family pet, the Sabueso Español is far better suited to life as an outdoor, working dog in a rural environment.

Noble and elegant, the Saluki is an extremely old breed with its origins in the Fertile Crescent, where its prodigious speed has allowed it to hunt gazelles for millennia. It is a quietly affectionate dog with family, but aloof and reserved with strangers. Its drive to pursue anything that runs means it should never be homed with cats or other non-canine pets.

The Samoyed is a cheerful, fun-loving dog that is great with children. It originated as a hunting and herding dog in the frozen tundra of Siberia, but has secured its place as a lovable family pet. Its thick coat requires a lot of work, and the breed has high energy levels, so needs to be exercised regularly.

A medium-sized, sweet-natured companion animal from Korea, the Sapsali dog is a national treasure that has traditionally been seen as a lucky charm and a protector from evil spirits and ghosts. While population numbers shrunk alarmingly in the mid 20th century, government sponsored breeding programmes have ensured the revival of the breed within Korea, though they are very rarely seen internationally.

A hard-working, South East European mountain dog, the Šarplaninac has been used for many hundreds of years as a protector of livestock on the Šar mountain range. Incredibly protective, they will keep their flock safe from predators, barking to warn them away, though attacking when necessary. Strongly devoted to their family, they can make calm and loyal pets if provided with appropriate training and socialisation.

A Dutch shepherding dog that is now more often seen in the home than on the field, the Schapendoes has mostly left behind its life as a working dog and has happily settled into the role of companion animal. Not one to be lazy, however, this dog is making a name for itself in show rings, agility courses and obedience trials internationally.

A ruggedly handsome scent hound that was developed over a hundred years ago within Sweden, the Schillerstövare is a versatile dog. With the ability to hunt small prey over long distances and to integrate smoothly into most family homes, this breed is the ideal pet for the active household. Their loving nature and zest for life are a bonus!

Bold, brash, and brave, the Schipperke is a Belgian breed with a hugely entertaining personality. As a family pet it is extremely loyal and loving, but it is equally a courageous guardian, and very distrustful of strangers. Its strong personality means it does not always mix well with other dogs and can be difficult to train.

The Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzer are three different breeds of varying sizes, which share many characteristics, such as appearance and character. They originate from Germany are intelligent, tolerant dogs, which are very loyal and easy to train, although they need plenty of exercise. They are good with children and require little grooming on a daily basis but need stripping or clipping a few times a year. The health problems which can affect the Schnauzer vary depending on the type.

The Schnoodle is not a true breed, but a cross between the feisty Schnauzer and the clever Poodle. It is an energetic, happy dog that comes in a huge range of sizes and varying coat colours and textures. Primarily an affectionate pet, it will also do its best as a guard dog, and tends to bark at the slightest provocation.

The Schweizer Laufhund is a Swiss breed of scent hound that essentially encompasses four very similar breed types: the Bernese Hound, the Bruno Jura Hound, the Schwyz Hound and the Lucernese Hound. Having hunted for centuries on the Swiss mountains, the Schweizer Laufhund is an athletic dog of great scenting ability that also makes an affectionate and docile family pet.

A Swiss scent hound that was developed in the early 20th century, the Schweizerischer Niederlaufhund was bred because hunters required a smaller dog to work on the restricted plots of private hunting land that were becoming popular within Switzerland at the time. They continue to hunt today, but make equally good pet dogs that form strong bonds with their family.

A landrace dog from the Scottish Highlands, the Scotch Collie is the predecessor of the popular Smooth and Rough Collies of today. Bred for their ability to shepherd flocks and hunt small predators, this dog was never kept for its looks, with its appearance varying greatly amongst its breed members. Incredibly rare today, there are thought to be around 200 Scotch Collies left in the world.

An imposing but sweet-natured hunting dog, favoured by the Scottish aristocracy for their deer hunts, the Scottish Deerhound has a wonderful nature that makes it a very appealing pet. It requires a lot of outdoor space, and unfortunately has a short lifespan, but can offer endless good humour and affection to those in the right setting to accommodate it.

The Scottish Terrier is a serious and independent-minded character, befitting its origins as a working dog which kept farms around its native Aberdeen free of rodents. As a companion, it is lively and entertaining, as well as being an able guard dog. It often does not mix well with other pets, and may not be patient enough for small children.

The Sealyham Terrier was first bred to hunt badgers and otters in the Pembrokeshire countryside, but despite its tenacity in the field, it is the mildest-mannered of the terrier breeds. It is an affectionate and easy-going dog that gets along with pets and humans alike. Though it enjoyed a period of popularity in the mid-twentieth century, it is now something of a rarity.

An ancient Roman scent hound, the Segugio Italiano is still a very popular hunting and companion dog in its native Italy, but is exceptionally rare in much of the rest of the world. Despite its stamina and high energy levels in the field, it is a kind, gentle, and laid-back character that mixes well with other dogs.

The Serbian Hound is a traditional scent hound breed from the Balkans, particularly Serbia and Montenegro. Their hunting background has produced a modern breed with a love of exercise and activity. They are a highly social breed that forms a strong bond with their owner. A Serbian Hound makes for a loyal and affectionate companion, if you can find one outside of the Balkans!

The Serbian Tricolour Hound is a breed of hunting dog from the Balkans. While they are admired for their hunting prowess, they can have also found a niche as much loved family pets. Their playful and loving nature makes them suitable for family life, however, they have high exercise requirements that can make them difficult to keep.

The Shar Pei is a long-established breed from China that was valued for its abilities as a guard dog and fighter. Almost extinct 40 years ago, the breed has become a very popular pet, although it is not easy to integrate with other dogs. Shar Peis are prone to several significant health problems, and puppies should be sourced from reputable breeders.

A mixture of the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky, the Shepsky is a visually attractive dog that is loyal, intelligent, athletic and affectionate. With heaps of energy, the Shepsky needs structure and discipline in its life so that its natural vigor and drive can be channeled into its work and training rather than any bad behaviours.

There are few dogs as attractive and graceful as the Shetland Sheepdog. Though it looks like a miniature Rough Collie, the breeds do not share a common history. Shelties are very devoted to their people, from whom they do not like to be separated. They are hugely popular pets for their loyalty and intelligence, and make excellent companions for active owners.

The Shiba Inu is a brave, intelligent dog originally bred in Japan to hunt small birds and mammals in mountainous regions. It can make a good pet, but is best suited to homes without other small pets and young children. An ancient breed, Shiba Inus have strong personalities and high energy levels, and require regular exercise and firm training.

The Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed originated in the region of Tibet and bred to be a companion pet. It has a peculiar short muzzle and a long, silky coat. Despite its self-important, snobbish looks, the Shih Tzu is a friendly and affectionate dog, fond of people, children, and other animals, that lives its life in seek of love and attention.

The Shih-Poo is a small but spunky Poodle cross that loves to play. It inherits the Shih Tzu’s attitude, and is quick to protect itself when handled roughly, so doesn’t always get on with younger children, but it is an energetic and affectionate dog that is a fun companion for adults and older kids. It has a low-shedding coat that needs regular grooming.

The Shikoku Inu is one of the oldest examples of Japan’s native dog breeds. They are determined hunters, using their independent mindset and natural intelligence to overcome any problems they encounter. In Japan, they are most recognised for their bravery and loyalty. They are a highly active breed that loves to spend time with their owner outdoors.

The playful and energetic Shorkie is an ideal indoor dog with a light coat that does not shed much and modest exercise requirements. It is best suited to adult households, or those with older children, and it is generally happier when it is the only pet placing demands on its owner’s attention. It is an alert and vocal watchdog, but may suffer from a number of health problems.

The Siberian Husky is the smallest of the sled dogs and originates from the Soviet Arctic. The Chukchi Indians bred them as a multipurpose dog, providing a means of transport, as well as assistance hunting. They have a gentle, friendly character and a strong pack instinct. Their coat can shed heavily, but does not require any specialist grooming. The breed requires a lot of exercise to keep them happy and healthy and suffers from relatively few health problems.

The Silken Windhound is a new breed on the block. The first litter of Silkens was born in 1987. They are a friendly and loving breed that’s willing to be friends with everyone, but they pay special attention to their owners. Intelligent and athletic, this breed is an all-terrain dog that is as happy curled up by the fire as they are on the agility course.

The Skye Terrier is a small native British breed of terrier that is in danger of dying out. Originally bred as a hunting dog for going to ground, the breed is full of character and can be feisty, but is extremely loyal and intelligent. The breed can become very attached to its master and is not ideal for families with children. Its coat is medium to long but can be kept in good condition with home grooming.

Also known as the Arabian Greyhound, the Sloughi is a North African hunting breed that exudes elegance and grace. Its aloof and haughty attitude to strangers belies its loyal and affectionate relationship with its owners, but it needs a calm, mature household in which to thrive, for it is a sensitive character. As a sighthound, it should not be homed with smaller pets.

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer is a large breed of gundog that was developed in the 20th century. It is easy to train and eager to please, which makes it the ideal working companion with good stamina. The breed is energetic and requires plenty of exercise. The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer can suffer from a number of health problems, so careful research on family lines is important when choosing a puppy.

A medium, black and tan Slovakian hunting dog that has been around for centuries, the Slovenský Kopov is well-liked in its homeland for its courage and stamina, as well as the devotion it shows to its family. Traditionally used to hunt wild boar, the Slovenský Kopov must be strong, willing and athletic to make a successful working dog.

An attractive Swedish scent hound, the Smaland Hound has been in existence for hundreds of years, hunting successfully in the southern region of Smäland. A versatile worker, they have traditionally hunted both small prey, such as birds and larger prey like elk. Their gentle disposition and loyal nature means that they are also commonly kept as family pets.

A highly trainable and responsive dog, the Small Münsterländer is a very capable all-round hunting dog, skilled in tracking, pointing, and retrieving. When not working, it is a cheerful and affectionate companion, and it enjoys socialising with other dogs and new people. Plenty of exercise is vital to prevent it becoming excessively boisterous and excitable.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a bouncy, energetic and affectionate medium-sized breed of terrier. The breed originates from Ireland where it was used as a multi-purpose farm dog. It requires plenty of exercise and does not shed but requires regular brushing to keep its coat clean and mat free.

The South Russian Ovcharka is a shepherding dog native to Ukraine and Russia, that has guarded the livestock flocks of the Russian Steppes for many centuries. Naturally defensive and territorial, they are superbly suited to their job, though can make challenging pets. Wilful and strong, they require experienced handling, and would certainly not be a suitable choice for a first-time owner.

A physically impressive giant breed, the Spanish Mastiff has likely been in existence for more than two thousand years. Traditionally used to guard and shepherd flocks within Spain, they continue to work within their homeland today, and are now often seen as family pets. Calm and devoted, with the right guidance, and strict and consistent training, they can make wonderful companions.

The Spanish Water Dog is a versatile working dog that has only ventured beyond the farmyards of its homeland in relatively recent times. It is a very intelligent, energetic breed with a cheerful disposition, though it is reserved around strangers, and needs plenty of socialisation from a young age. Health problems are common, and puppies should only be bought from reputable breeders.

A delightful little hunting companion, the Sporting Lucas Terrier easily makes up for in pluck and determination what he may lack in height. This nimble, energetic dog will happily chase vermin and small game both above and below ground for miles on end. A great pet for all the family, the Sporting Lucas Terrier bonds closely with people of all ages.

The St. Bernard is an enormous, docile dog with a gentle nature. It was originally developed in Switzerland and rose to fame as a rescue dog. Today the breed can suffer from several health issues so selecting a healthy family line is important. The St. Bernard is best suited to cooler climates, as it has a think, dense coat, which requires regular brushing and the breed has medium exercise requirements.

A cheerful and sweet-natured breed, the Stabyhoun is a rare Dutch dog that is recently becoming more recognised worldwide. They are prized for their diverse sporting talents, as well as their ability to get on remarkably well with all of the family. Despite all the breed has to offer, their population size remains low, with only a few thousand dogs in existence today.

Strong and fearless, Straffordshire Bull Terriers are also playful dogs with a fun-loving character and a keen desire to please their owners. Intelligent and very active, Staffies, as they are lovingly nicknamed, love to exercise and play, and they are particularly good with children. They are, however, dominant and not always friendly towards other animals, which is why they require firm leadership from an early age.

This black and white Cur dog is driven and spirited. Completely dedicated to its role as a hunter, this dog displays bravery and confidence no matter what size prey it may be facing. The Stephens Cur is happy to live outdoors but can adapt well to life inside the home once their exercise needs have been met and they have received the appropriate training.

A rough-coated, energetic dog, the Styrian Coarse-Haired Hound was bred in Austria for the purpose of hunting boar – a task which it continues to carry out to this day. Their sweet nature has meant that, even though they are still working dogs, they are welcome inside the family home. This resilient canine gets easily bored if not working.

The Sussex Spaniel is a cheerful and energetic dog, bred specifically in nineteenth century England for flushing and retrieving. As a pet, this breed is tractable, sensitive, and active, and thrives in an environment with multiple daily walks and opportunity to run and play.

This hunting and reindeer-herding dog is extremely rare, even in its native Sweden. Although the demand for its services as a working dog has all but died away, the Swedish Lapphund also has many appealing traits that allow it to happily live as a companion breed. Energetic and clever, it is a capable agility and obedience competitor, and it also makes an excellent watch dog.

The Swedish Vallhund is a sturdy, confident and energetic dog, bred specifically to herd and drive cattle in Sweden. As a pet, this breed is affable and active, and thrives in a family that enjoys daily vigorous walking or other regular exercise.