Can You Guess This Dog Breed From a Single Sentence?


By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Dogs: they're man's (and woman's) best friend. According to archaeological research, they've been living with us, hunting with us, and guarding us for at least 10,000 years. (Or the average length of time it takes to housebreak a puppy, according to those of us who have done it!)

Over those 10,000 years, humans have selectively bred dogs for the traits that we needed, and that they needed to adapt to diverse environments. There are shaggy dogs bred to withstand cold weather, thin-coated dogs bred to be comfortable in the heat, and dogs with water-resistant double coats bred to swim in cold waters. Others were developed to have specific skills: herding, retrieving, guarding flocks, or just being companions. 

This makes the choice of a breed for a pet dog very important. A pet with generations of watchdog genes will bark at any random noise outdoors -- a real drawback if you live in a city that's never quiet!

How much do you understand the traits of different dog breeds? Our quiz will test your knowledge. We'll describe the breed in one sentence, and you pick from four answer choices. Some questions will probably be easy (like the ever-popular Lab), but the rarer breeds are going to be a bit harder. 

Ready? Let's do this!

I am the smallest of dog breeds.

The Chihuahua blew up in popularity after "Bruiser" co-starred in "Legally Blonde." Unfortunately, this led to many ending up in shelters after owners realized Chihuahuas could be territorial and snappish without proper training.


I'm the doughty symbol of the British nation!

The bulldog is the symbol of England and its people. It represents tenacity and immovability.


I'm a favored lapdog, named for the shape of my face.

The Pug has a quiet nature, suiting it for quiet indoors life. You'll occasionally see Pugs in portraits of wealthy families from the 18th and 19th centuries.


Some people would guess I'm the largest of dog breeds, though I'm not.

The breed now known as the Great Dane originated in Germany. They were once known as the "German Boarhoud" for their role in hunting.


I'm a hunting dog, but also America's most popular pet dog.

The Labrador's sweet disposition has allowed it to move indoors and live a cushy life as a house pet. However, they are still popular with hunters for retrieving game.


Bred to herd sheep, I am definitely NOT a house pet.

Border Collies are possibly the smartest and most active dogs in the world. There was a vogue for them as pets in the 1990s, which led to some buyer's remorse on the part of owners who hadn't read up on the breed's characteristics.


You'll recognize me by my spotted coat.

The Dalmatian is another poor choice for a house pet or couch dog. Bred to run alongside coaches, they need a great deal of exercise.


Once, only Chinese nobles could own me.

The Pekingese is a very short, long-haired dog. Because of the length of their coats, Pekingeses sometimes look wider than they are tall.


I am a hunting dog that comes in a 13-inch and 15-inch variety.

There are several dogs that closely resemble Beagles in their tri-color coats and their build. These include the American Foxhound and the Harrier. But the Beagle is much more common and popular as a pet -- so if you think you're looking at a Beagle, you probably are.


I was bred long and thin to go down holes after rodents.

The Dachshund attained its size through generations of breeding. Germans developed the breed to hunt vermin, often badgers, into their holes.


I'll tell you a secret: I was actually bred in America.

The "Aussie," increasingly popular as a pet dog, was developed in America. It was named, though, for the strong influence of Australian breeds like the Australian Cattle Dog.


I'm not the most popular dog in the U.S., but I'm close (both in popularity and in genetics).

The Golden Retriever usually ranks (as listed annually) as America's third-most-popular dog. It has a long, silky blond coat and an easygoing nature.


You'd never know I'm a hunting dog from my sleepy appearance.

The Basset Hound is a tracking or scent hound, like Beagles, Harriers and the Bloodhound. But its droopy eyes and trip-on-'em long ears give it a lazy appearance.


I'm recognized by my gorgeous red coat.

The Irish Setter has the classic long skull and long body of most setters. It's distinguished, though, by its long red hair.


I am the largest of the dog breeds.

This dog, the national animal of Ireland, was bred not only to hunt wolves but to be a war dog. They commonly grow to be three feet high at the shoulder, and often more.


A German tax collector bred me to protect him on his rounds.

Karl Dobermann didn't need protection because people hate tax collectors, though some do! He wanted a guard dog because he had to carry money through the streets and thus was a target for theft. So he developed the fearsome Doberman Pinscher.


If you're too intimidated to buy a Doberman, you might try me!

The Miniature Pinscher wasn't developed by simply breeding the smallest Dobermans to each other. Its ancestors include the Dachshund and the Affenpinscher.


Named for part of Canada, I'm a ship's dog that loves to swim.

The strong, double-coated Newfoundland can swim for long periods of time. It was bred to retrieve ship's nets and rescue men that had fallen overboard.


My powerful build comes from my early days of pulling carts.

The Rottweiler can be identified by its muscular build and black coat with tan markings. In their native Germany, Rottweilers used to pull light carts.


I am known for my dreadlock-like corded coat.

Props to the Hungarian people for developing these sheepdogs with their delightful corded coats. The Komondor is the larger breed; the Puli is smaller. A Puli recently won the Internet by getting in a mop bucket and being pushed around for Halloween!


I look like a little blonde starlet dog!

Like the Chihuahua, the adorable Pomeranian is a favored "accessory dog" for young women. Not always blonde, they can be seen in a black-and-tan variety, or tan-and-white.


People think of me as a mountain rescue dog.

The St. Bernard was used for rescuing lost alpinists. According to legend, they would carry a little barrel of brandy around the neck, but this is likely not true; alcohol actually constricts blood vessels and does not help a freezing person.


I've been a war dog, a guard dog, a family pet ... even a movie star!

The German Shepherd is an intelligent dog that can work in a number of fields. Rin Tin Tin (a German Shepherd) was a WWI army dog who went on to appear in silent films.


I was bred by an English parson for hunting and ratting.

Reverend John Russell's handiwork lives on in all of these three closely-related breeds. Intelligent, energetic, sometimes downright bossy, they are not a good choice for the first-time dog owner.


I am sometimes called the African barkless dog.

The Basenji makes a yodeling sound rather than a bark. It has a habit of standing on its hind legs, like a meerkat, when curious.


I was named for the kind of game I hunt.

The Cocker Spaniel was used to flush and retrieve birds (i.e., "gamecocks"). Their easygoing temperament also make them good house pets.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt's dog, Fala, was this breed.

Fala is depicted along with the American president in a statue. Fortunately, the president had a staff to help with his dog's exercise, because though Scotties are small, they are energetic.


President Obama's dogs, Bo and Sunny, were this breed.

The First Family chose their dogs for their nearly hypoallergenic coats (no pet with hair or fur can be said to be 100-percent dander-free).


I come in giant, standard and miniature sizes.

The Schnauzer is a bearded dog that resembles a terrier. The miniatures look a good deal like Scottish Terriers.


At my full size, I am a clever hunting dog, not a lap dog!

Though we often think of the miniature poodle when we think of poodles, the full-size breed is used for hunting. Their coats, when not clipped short, grow out into long cords, not unlike the Komondor's or Puli's.


I am a tri-colored dog of Swiss origin.

The Bernese is a big dog which has a black coat with tan and white markings. They were working dogs on farms, and sometimes pulled loads like Rottweilers did.


Dogs on film, round 1: Uggie, the dog in "The Artist," was this breed.

Jacks are mentioned elsewhere in this quiz, but the breed is too great to reference just once! Jacks have appeared in many movies and TV shows of the 2000s and the present decade, and Uggie was the subject of a campaign to get him his own "Best Actor" nomination. (Spoiler alert: It wasn't successful).


Dogs on film, round 2: Asta, Nick and Nora's dog, was this breed.

Asta, who appeared in the detective film "The Thin Man," was a fox terrier. His real name? Skippy.


Dogs on film, round 3: "Lassie" was this kind of dog.

We put quotes around "Lassie" because the first dog to play her on-screen was a male named Pal. He sired other Rough Collies who went on to play the same role. Who says there's no nepotism in Hollywood?


My name reflects my French lineage.

Not a well-known breed, the Briard is a protective dog of French origin. It can be aggressive if not properly trained.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!