We can probably all guess how the Golden Retriever got its name, but what about the Lhasa Apso or the Poodle? Turns out, the origin of some breeds’ monikers is pretty interesting. CNN.com, along with Mental Floss, brings us the tales of how 12 different breeds got their names.
1. Jack Russell Terrier
Yep, Jack Russell was a real guy.
John Russell was born in Dartmouth, England in 1795, and over the years he became quite a hunting enthusiast. While he was studying to become a clergyman at Oxford, he met a milkman who had a white terrier bitch named Trump who seemed to be the perfect dog for fox hunting.
After convincing the milkman to sell him the dog, Russell began breeding Trump to develop a line of terriers with the stamina to hunt foxes all day and the courage to go after game that had slipped into holes.
Russell actually has two dogs named after him. We’re all familiar with the Jack Russell terrier, but the Parson Russell terrier, a similar breed with longer legs, also takes its name from Russell and is recognized as a separate breed.
2. Lhasa Apso
The little dog’s name sounds funny, but its origins are pretty straightforward. The Lhasa Apso was originally bred as a watchdog for Tibetan palaces and monasteries; it was hard for an intruder to sneak in past the watchful, yipping pooches.
The “Lhasa” in the name comes from the city of Lhasa, Tibet’s longtime capital. Apso is a Tibetan word meaning “bearded,” so the breed’s name signifies that it’s a longhaired dog that originated in Tibet.
3. Basset Hound
The lovable big-eared hounds don’t get their name from a person named Basset. Rather, “Basset” comes from the French word bas for “low” and refers to the dogs’ low-slung statures.
Read the rest at CNN.