20 Wonderful English Dog Breeds – With Pictures!
When it comes to dog breeds there are so many wonderful ones from across the pond. In fact, many of our favorites (or should that be favourites?) come from the Island. Whether they’re hunters, elegant lapdogs, or enormous Mastiff breeds, there really are some incredible English dog breeds for every future pup parent to adopt.
But what do you need to think of before welcoming one of these amazing dogs into your home?
What Is An English Dog Breed?
There’s no such thing as ‘The English Dog Breed’ (although we’re pretty sure the Bulldog would like the title). There are many different dogs that have all been bred in England, usually by English breeders. Some have been around for centuries, and others are relatively new dogs. Many are amazing hunting dogs (there was a big boom in Europe in the 1800s with breeders competing to breed the best hunter), lapdogs for English royalty, and many that have their origins in blood sports.
When it comes to appearance, English dog breeds are so diverse. Everything from the tiny English Terrier to the much larger English Mastiff. They can have many different coat colors and lengths, be stock or skinny, and have floppy or erect ears. The possibilities range right across the canine spectrum!
Can Anyone Adopt an English Dog Breed?
Many of the English breeds on this list are very popular – so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a breeder. As we said, there’s a huge variety of dogs that come from England so it’s important you choose the right one for you and your circumstances. As hunters and herders, many breeds need lots of outdoor activities and exercise and wouldn’t like to live in an apartment in a city.
Others are much bigger and need an experienced owner who can handle how demanding big breeds can be (although loving and affectionate too)! It’s important to research each breed well and see if they would be a good match for you. It’s then equally important to find an ethical breeder (or a shelter) to adopt your pooch from.
20 English Dog Breeds That You’ll Love
Here are just 20 amazing English dogs for you to consider. Many of them are very well-known breeds, but some you might not have heard of!
OK, let’s at least give them the title of being first on this list. English Bulldogs are funny, charming, and affectionate dogs. They’re known for their adorable wrinkles, slightly squished face, and stocky appearance. They can be several colors although many will have fawn or white markings.
These dogs have been around for centuries and were first used in bull baiting (where packs of dogs would fight a bull and spectators would bet on the outcome). When this was banned in the 1800s, they were then used in illegal dog fighting. Breeders have worked hard to help the reputation of these pups but it’s still important you find a reputable breeder who cares about the future of the breed.
Yorkies are the smallest on this list of English dogs. They’re very popular all around the world – whether that be for their fiery personalities, striking looks, or affectionate nature. There are many different Yorkshire Terrier colors and these wonderful dogs can either have a long or clipped coat.
Although small, many Yorkshire Terrier owners describe this breed as having big dog personality. They won’t mind being yappy when someone is approaching and they have a tendency to forget just quite how small they are. They’re very loving with those they know and will enjoy playing, although adults should also watch younger kids playing with a pup this size.
Border Collies are very popular dogs both is England and in America. They’re constantly topping (or coming close to the top of) the list of the world’s most intelligent breeds and are excellent herding dogs. They’re great with children (although might have a tendency to herd them too) and need to be part of a very active family. They need lots of daily exercise and will benefit from herding balls, frisbees, and other fun toys to keep them entertained.
This stunning merle dog breed can also have different colored eyes or eyes that aren’t just one color. They’re very fast and athletic and love to play with other dogs and their humans. They’re easy to train thanks to their high intelligence and love to have a job to do.
Not only are Beagles excellent hunters (they were originally bred to hunt foxes and rabbits) but they also make great companion dogs. They’re goofy, silly, intelligent, and very cute tri-colored dogs that love to be part of an outdoorsy family. They’re pretty easygoing pups and get along well with other dogs thanks to their pack nature.
They have short, dense coats that are relatively easy to care for. They will blow their coats in spring, so you’ll need to prepare for a little extra grooming then. Anyone thinking of adopting a Beagle should know they need lots of play time and will love squeaky toys!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very popular, affectionate, and seriously cute little dogs. They were originally bred for the laps of royalty, mainly King Charles I and II, who wanted an all-round great little lap dog. These pups are cute, silly, playful, and love to be around their owners.
Cavaliers are known for having little button noses and hugely expressive eyes. They have a gorgeous, feathery coat that can be 4 different colors. They also have amazing long ears and a gentle expression that would melt any heart!
English Springer Spaniel
Just like Terrier breeds, there are many Spaniel breeds on this list of English pups too. The English Springer Spaniel was bred over 500 years ago as an intelligent hunting dog. As their name would suggest, they would ‘spring’ on their prey and flush them out so that their hunters could shoot them.
These dogs are boisterous, fun, affectionate, and very playful. They can also be serious when on a hunt or when they have a job to do. They’re very trainable dogs and like to work closely with humans and please them. Because of their wonderful long ears, they can be prone to infections so make sure you keep them clean and dry.
If you’re looking for an English mixed breed, why not think about the Springador or the Border Collie Springer Spaniel mix?
English Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels, like their Springer cousins, were first bred for hunting. This English breed, however, has developed into an all-round, loved companion dog. It was even top of the list of favorite dog breeds in America for years. They’re sweet, adoring, energetic, and get on really well with children.
Cockers are very smart and can be easily trained. The English Cocker Spaniel needs regular exercise and will love chasing after balls or playing with children in the park. It’s also important to keep their minds active through canine classes or other stimulation. They’re stunning red dogs that are a popular breed in and out of England!
The Airedale Terrier is the biggest of all the Terrier breeds. These strong, athletic, and versatile dogs were bred by factory workers in England to hunt vermin. They’re intelligent and eager so training shouldn’t be a problem. Although, like other Terrier breeds, you can expect the Airedale Terrier to be feisty and stubborn on occasion.
They have wiry coats that can be black or tan or grizzled and tan. They have minimal grooming needs – a brush a week will keep them looking their best. You can take them to a groomer 3 or 4 times a year for a deep brush and wash to remove any mats that may form due to their natural coat texture.
That’s right! One of the most popular dogs in American is actually English! Everyone knows how great Golden Retrievers are as pets. Charming, goofy, smart, and a great companion for kids has given them the accredited title of the family breed. They need regular exercise every day and will love having toys to play with.
These pups have stunning golden coats, but Golden Retrievers can also be red! Their luscious golden coat sheds heavily twice a year and you can expect to do quite a bit of vacuuming during this time. Brushing them will help to remove most of it!
Whippets are amazing dogs. They’re fast, often timid, and very loving. In fact, Whippets are very similar to Greyhounds but just a little smaller. (Here you can find out more differences and similarities between Whippets vs Greyhounds).
These stunning, thin dogs make great companions for the elderly as well as for families. Although they’re known for being great racers, they much prefer to sprint rather than run long distances so don’t need that much exercise.
Whippets were first bred in Victorian England by coal miners who loved dog racing but who couldn’t afford to keep and feed the much larger Greyhound!
There are two types of Fox Terrier: the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier. They’re very similar except the Wire Fox Terrier has a more wiry coat and a beard! As you might have guessed from their name, these wonderful dogs were bred to chase foxes from their dens during fox hunts.
They’re very lively dogs and you can expect all the personality of a typical Terrier breed. They’re active and need a good amount of exercise and time outdoors exploring new sights and smells. These pups are generally white with patches of tan or black on them.
Old English Sheepdog
How amazing is the Old English Sheepdog? They may be one of our favorite Disney Dogs (the best friend of Eric in the Little Mermaid), but these pups are also incredible herders. Under all that shaggy fur, these pups have strong, muscular bodies that let them work in the fields for hours at a time. That, naturally, means they need regular exercise and a good amount of it.
But these pups aren’t just working dogs. They’re also excellent companions and make great watchdogs. As a breed originally bred on farms, they’re good with children and guarding too.
If you fancy a mix of English and German, why not go for the adorable Shepadoodle? The amazing mix of the Old English Sheepdog and the Poodle!
Bull Terriers are comical pups. As the ‘egg heads’ of the canine world, there’s no mistaking their obviously domed heads and erect ears. But it’s not all about appearance with these dogs (even though that’s as far as many people go) because they really are the ultimate personality breed. Tenacious, fiery, affectionate, and playful, they’re everything you’d imagine from a Terrier dog.
Bull Terriers need a lot of fun exercise to keep them entertained. It’s also really important that they get lots of training early on. The Bull Terrier, like the English Bulldog, was first bred to bait bulls and they can be a little feisty. Strong training and early socialization will ensure they’re loving and well-rounded pets.
Jack Russell Terrier
Many confuse the Fox Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier, with good reason. Jack Russells are actually descendants of Fox Terriers! Even though they’re small and compact, these dogs have plenty of personality and will keep any owner on their toes. They’re very lively and active dogs and need to be kept entertained, otherwise they can become destructive or display unwanted behavior such as barking.
A great option for a Jack Russell is a puzzle toy or a snuffle mat. They’re a brilliant way to keep them entertained whilst you’re busy. These amazing family dogs get on well with children and other pups and will always keep you smiling!
Dog or a lamb? These iconic dogs are very versatile and athletic pups that were first bred in the North of England as great home dogs. They’re wonderful watchdogs as well as being very cuddly too. Bedlington Terriers are lively and active, but when they get the exercise they need they’ll be happy to curl up and relax.
Talking of curling up, it’s hard to ignore this breed’s amazing coat. They shed minimally but will need to be groomed every so often to keep their wonderful coats looking as good as possible.
Manchester Terriers are sleek black and tan dogs. They come in two sizes, standard and toy and both are amazing pups. Like other Terrier breeds, they were bred in the 1800s as ratters and still have some digging and hunting tendencies today. Lots of training should be enough to stop them from doing this too often.
These pups are very sleek and have lots of spirit and personality. They’re active and need a couple of fun walks a day, or time running after a ball to keep them physically and mentally fit. Like other breeds, it’s important not to overfeed a Manchester Terrier. You might want to consider one of the best fresh dog food diets as many brands pre-portion the food depending on your unique pup.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are muscular dogs that, like others on this list, were first bred for blood sports, particularly bull baiting. At the beginning of the 19th century, blood sports were all the rage, and English breeders were breeding new and more agressive dogs all the time. Thanks to lots of recent, ethical breeding, these pups are no longer overly aggressive, but wonderful, adorable pups that love to be part of a family. They’re actually designated nanny dogs in many families.
It’s very important that you get your Staffie from an accredited breeder. An AKC-appointed breeder for Staffordshire Bull Terriers is a good place to start looking. These pups are still used in underground dog fighting, and it’s very important your pup doesn’t have any strong fighting instincts in them.
Pointers have been one of the most popular English dog breeds for hunting for centuries. As their name suggests, these elegant dogs ‘point’ out the prey for their owners. They’re swift, full of energy, and sophisticated dogs that get on well with other pooches and are very affectionate with the people they love.
Pointers can be many different colors and have a lot of different markings, including a beautiful liver and lemon coat. They don’t require much grooming maintenance thanks to their short and dense coat, but their adorable, floppy ears need to be regularly checked to avoid infection.
English Mastiffs as we know them today (the American Kennel Club refers to them simply as Mastiffs), have been around since the Medieval times, although very similar breeds have existed for thousands of years. These very big dogs can weigh up to 230 pounds and are the perfect guard dog. They’re also very patient and wonderful with children. Due to their size and determination, they were used in wars too.
Even though they’re very big, these dogs don’t really need a lot of exercise. It’s important they don’t strain themselves by jumping from heights or running upstairs. Even though they’re friendly and loving, English Mastiffs need an experienced and competent owner who can manage their size.
Bullmastiffs are the result of crossing two other pups on this list: The Bulldog and the Mastiff. With such iconic and strong parent breeds, you can expect the Bullmastiff to be just as special. They were first bred to guard English estates and protect them from poachers. But when they’re not on patrol, they’re quite docile and sometimes a little stubborn.
The Bullmastiff is an intelligent dog with a huge amount of love to give the right owner. They need lots of early socialization (like their parents) so they learn good doggy manners and behavior. Training is essential for these dogs, and they really need an experienced owner who can manage their size.
So, there they are! 20 amazing English dog breeds for you to choose from. There are lots of hunters, Terrier dog breeds, and ex-blood sporting dogs (as well as some others) on the list. It’s very important you choose the right dog for you and your pup-owning experience. It’s also essential to research your breeder to make sure you’re getting a healthy and happy dog that will be a very loved part of your family!