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5 Celebrated Dogs Throughout History

December 18, 2018

Dogs and humans have a very unique bond spanning thousands of years, so it’s no wonder pups have made their way into royal courts the world over. From England, Egypt, Tibet, and Madagascar, check out our list of these five celebrated dogs throughout history!

1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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The Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi were recognized as separate breeds by The Kennel Club of England in 1934. According to the AKC, Queen Elizabeth II is one of the breed’s most ardent admirers, although having nippy cattle dogs in Buckingham Palace has brought its fair share of challenges. Princess Elizabeth acquired her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Dookie, in 1933.

2. Coton de Tulear

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Cotons de Tulears, named for the seaport town of Tulear, were once the preferred lapdog of the nobles of Madagascar, reveals the AKC. According to the American Coton Club, These white dogs were also popular companions of the Roman aristocracy.

3. Shih Tzu

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According to, little is known about the origins of the Shih Tzu, but genetic testing tells us that they are one of the more ancient breeds in existence. It is thought that Shih Tzus originated in Tibet. It is here that Tibetan lamas might have bred them to be a tiny replica of a lion. The smallest of the Tibetan breeds, these pups are known for their heavy coat and tail that curves over the back. These dogs served as companions and watchdogs to the monks in the lamaseries. The Chinese also gave the Shih Tzu another name — chrysanthemum dog — because the hair on the face grows in all directions like the petals of the flower.

4. Pekingese

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The earliest known record of a dog resembling the Pekingese dates to the T’ang Dynasty of the 8th century. As reported by Pekingese Central, these small dogs were treated as sacred, and could only be owned by members of the imperial family. Pekingese were so revered that their likenesses was carved in ivory and bronze, and studded with precious gems. At their height of popularity in China between 1821 and 1851, during the Tao Kuang period, thousands of these pups lived in various Chinese palaces.

The AKC writes of a Chinese legend that says the Pekingese was created by the Buddha, who shrunk a lion down to dog size. The breed is of such antiquity that we will never know its true beginnings. Despite this, the fanciful origin myth does contain a grain of probable truth. Pekingese were likely bred down to toy size from a larger dog, but this was not by the Buddha! Likely it was done by Chinese emperors and their courtiers.

5. Greyhounds

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The Greyhound’s story begins properly in Egypt some 5,000 years ago. The hounds of the pharaohs were designed to detect, chase, capture, and dispatch the fleet-footed wildlife of Egypt’s deserts. The American Kennel Club writes that the pharaoh’s subjects, the godlike beauty of these dogs were an extension of their ruler’s divine majesty. 

Did you know we test for over 165 genetic health conditions that could affect your pup? Are you thinking about getting your Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Shih Tzu, Greyhound, Pekingese, or Coton de Tulear tested? click here to order your kit!