Dog Breeds Named After the People Who Created Them

August 20, 2014

By Linda Cole

Many dog breeds were named based on their country of origin or original job they were bred to do. Some, like the Papillon, got their name from their physical appearance. A handful of dog breeds were named after a person, including the following:

boykin luke faraoneBoykin Spaniel – In the early 1900s, Alexander White took in a small brown dog he found wandering around the Methodist church he attended in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His intention was to keep the dog he named Dumpy as a pet, but it wasn’t long before White noticed Dumpy had an interest in birds, so he sent the dog to his hunting partner in Camden, South Carolina to be trained. Dumpy blossomed into a premier turkey hunter and retriever. The breed that began with a little stray dog was named after the man who trained him, L. Whitaker “Whit” Boykin.

King Charles Spaniel – King Charles I of England loved toy spaniels and passed his love on to his son, Charles II. When Charles II assumed his role as King, he was seldom seen without one or more dogs by his side. He issued a decree that gave his little dogs access to all public places, including in the House of Parliament – a decree that is still in existence today. The popularity of the breed was at its highest during the reign of the House of Stuarts. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is closer to the original dogs Charles I and II adored, and is larger with a longer muzzle than the King Charles Spaniel, which is known as the English Toy Spaniel in America.

Doberman – A German tax collector named Louis Dobermann needed a dependable guard dog he could take with him on his rounds to keep him and the taxes he collected safe from robbers. The Doberman Pinscher became an effective deterrent and the breed was named after the tax man.

Gordon Setter – Alexander, the 4th Duke of Gordon, wasn’t the first to breed black and tan setters, but his breeding program was well known for his excellent dogs. The breed was named after Gordon Castle where Alexander developed his setters during the 1600s. The Gordon Setter is of Scottish origin.

jack russell vidar hoelJack Russell and Parson Russell Terrier – Reverend Jack Russell, like many English men during the mid 1800s, enjoyed fox hunting. He developed a terrier breed with the stamina to run alongside horses and capable of going to ground (when hounds drove a fox into a hole, the dog would drive it back out into the open so the hunt could continue). The only difference between a Parson Russell and Jack Russell Terrier is the size. Both breeds were named after the Reverend.

Laverack and Llewellin Setter – Both are English Setters, but come from a specific and pure bloodline that dates back to the early 1500s. During the early 1800s, Edward Laverack began breeding a line of very successful field English Setters. His line of English Setters was well known for decades and given the name Laverack Setters. R.L. Purcell Llewellin used Laverack Setters and crossed them with a line of dogs he had been working on. His breeding program became as successful as Laverack’s and his line of dogs became known as Llewellin Setters.

Stephens Stock Cur (Stephens Cur) – Cur dogs have been around since the pioneer days and originated in the southern states. Each breed has distinct traits, hunting style, and region of origin. These dogs were bred to work and were used to hunt and help put food on the table, guard their family, and round up semi-wild free ranging livestock. The Stephens Cur was bred in southeastern Kentucky by the Hugh Stephens family over a hundred years ago. These small dogs excel at hunting squirrel and raccoon. They are also used in packs to hunt mountain lion, bear and wild boar.

plott hound iconoclastPlott Hound – In 1750, the Georg Plott family migrated to America and settled in the western region of North Carolina. The German immigrants brought with them five red Hanovrian Scenthounds, a type of Bloodhound. Georg bred his dogs with other hounds and curs to develop a breed that was easy to train, was courageous, and had an exceptional nose to track and hunt bear and other large predators. Today the Plott Hound is known as a unique coonhound.

Parnell’s Carolina Cur – Feist is an ancient word that describes a small noisy dog. Like the cur breeds, feist breeds were developed in the southern states. Both were low maintenance dogs. Feist were used to control vermin, hunt small game like squirrels, opossums and rabbits, and flush out birds. James Parnell from Hartsville, South Carolina produced a small cur breed by crossing a Stephens Cur with a Mountain Feist to produce a squirrel hunting dog breed.

Top photo (Boykin Spaniel) by Luke Faraone
Middle photo (Jack Russell) by Vidar Hoel
Bottom photo (Plott Hound) by an iconoclast

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Share this:

Share Your Thoughts

  • WordPress
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Daniel F says:

    Extremely informative article. I know many things about these dog breeds but I was unaware of this information. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. I had no idea about any of these! How cool!

    – Paw waves from the Pyrs at It’s Dog or Nothing