11 English and British Dog Breeds

There's over 30 dog breeds that come from the United Kingdom, including some extremely famous breeds that may surprise you! Find out our top 11 British Dog Breeds including everything from Terriers to Spaniels.
shetland sheepdog
shetland sheepdog
shetland sheepdog

England is most widely known as the land of afternoon tea and Shakespeare, but did you know that it’s also responsible for over 30 British dog breeds? These breeds include some of the most famous ones on the planet, including the Queen’s favoured Corgis and the highly intelligent Border Collie.

At Purina, we’ve picked out 11 of the top English dog breeds, including some which may surprise you!

1. Airedale Terrier

Hailed as the ‘king of terriers’, the Airedale Terrier originated in Airedale in Yorkshire and is the largest terrier breed. Bred to catch otters and rats, this British dog breed is incredibly intelligent, making it excellent at agility and obedience competitions.

Airedale Terriers also make perfect family dogs as they usually get on well with children and are known to possess a playful, puppy-like temperament even when they get older.

2. Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel originally got its name from the Duke of Newcastle, as it was named after his residence Clumber Park. They’re the largest of all the Spaniel breeds and are known for their excellent hunting skills, and according to history they were once renowned throughout England for their success and were highly sought after by noblemen.

This English dog breed is a great family pet because of their loyal and loving natures. They’re also the ideal choice for first time dog owners due to their intelligence and willingness to be trained.

3. Beagles

Beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds throughout the world. With their, big, affectionate eyes and happy disposition, it’s easy to see why this British dog breed has captured the hearts of so many households. But did you know that they’re also fantastic working dogs? Their noses have around 220 million scent receptors (nearly as many as a Bloodhound), which makes them extremely good at picking up scents.

Their superpowered nose paired with their friendly faces has earned them positions at airports working with security, as they can accurately sniff out any contraband, yet their cute looks make them less intimidating to those who are frightened of dogs.

4. Shetland Sheepdog

Hailing from the Shetland Islands in Scotland, the Shetland Sheepdog was bred as a herding dog and to protect farmers’ land against birds and other possible threats. Also known as Shelties, they’re one of the smartest dog breeds and excel at obedience and agility competitions due to their eagerness to learn and high intelligence.

Shelties also possess a strong herding instinct and have been known to try to herd squirrels and rabbits when out on their daily walks, and in some cases, they may even attempt to gently herd children.

5. Corgi

Perhaps one of the most British dog breeds of all time, the Corgi is world renowned for being the Queen’s favoured canine companion. Yet, despite their royal reputation and small size, they were actually originally bred to herd cattle, sheep and even horses!

Originating in Pembrokeshire in Wales, the breed’s roots are steeped in magic and enchantment as they were believed to come from the lands of fairies and elves. With their adorable pointed elf like ears, diminutive stature and murky history, it’s easy to see where the fairy-tale came from.

Corgi english dog breed

6. Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier is thought to have come from gypsies who used the breed for poaching on English estates. Due to their success at hunting, nobles soon noticed them and eventually adopted them as their own hunting dogs. Additionally, they were excellent at catching vermin which made them popular for factory and mine workers.

Today, this English dog breed makes for a very affectionate member of the family and is known for its loving nature. However, these dogs require lots of mental and physical stimulation to keep them entertained.

7. Manchester Terrier

Dating back to the early 16th century, the Manchester Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds. Known as the ‘gentleman’s terrier’ in Victorian England, the British dog breed is believed to be a cross between a Whippet and a Black and Tan Terrier and was purposefully bred for rat killing.

Many people think they look like a miniature Dobermann, but this is actually because the Manchester Terrier was one of the original breeds used to create the Dobermann! They make friendly and energetic companions, but because of their rat killing instincts they can’t be kept with small animals.

8. Border Collie

The Border Collie is one of the most hardworking dogs of all. Originally bred as a herding dog on the Scottish and English border (hence the name), this British dog breed still continues to be used today on farms across the globe.

Border Collies are workaholics in every sense of the word and are always happiest when they’re active. Because of this, they’re not suitable for families looking for a laid-back dog breed as they may fall into destructive habits when they’re not physically and mentally challenged.

border collie dog breed

9. English Cocker Spaniel

Up until 1870, the English Cocker Spaniel was classed as the same breed as the English Springer Spaniel. However, people eventually recognised the differences in appearance, which spurred the separation of the two breeds.

The word ‘cocker’ comes from ‘woodcock’, the bird that this British dog breed was purposefully bred to hunt. In present day, their extremely gentle natures and people orientated personalities make them a popular pet for families, but they’re not ideal if you spend a lot of time away from home.

10. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier breed is most widely known for their quick and smart personalities, combined with their high prey drive. They were originally bred for the purpose of fox hunting around 200 years ago, but are now popular with farmers as they’re also excellent ratters.

Their high intelligence makes them easy to train, but be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to it. Jack Russell Terriers don’t tolerate boredom, so you’ll need to ensure that their training sessions are exciting and that they’re given plenty of daily exercise.

11. Lakeland Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier is a hardy English dog breed, hailing from the picturesque Lake District. They possess a sturdy build and thick double coat which is because they were originally bred to protect farmers’ sheep flocks, especially during lambing season – when foxes were particularly rife.

Despite their rural roots, they’re also extremely successful in the show ring and have won many awards. In fact, one of the top-winning show dogs of all time was a Lakeland Terrier named Ch. Revelry’s Awesome Blossom. The dog was owned by comedian Bill Cosby and won more than 100 best in shows.

So that’s our top 11 English and British dog breeds! If you’d like to find out more about different dog types, take a look at our dog breed library.