What's Your Dog Breed's Superpower?


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Belinda Stancombe

Dogs are amazing! They have the power to fill us up with unconditional love and friendship. No matter what the breed, every dog has a unique personality to share with the world.

Dog breeds have been adapted over the years with certain skills and features that make them unique. Almost like super powers, these traits have been developed to give certain breeds that little bit extra, making them outstanding!

Discover your dog's Superpower and the reasons behind it!

Dachshund: Super Diggers

While all dogs love to dig from time to time, some breeds seem to have stronger digging instincts than others. Dachshunds were originally bred to dig and burrow down to catch badgers and other prey, hence the reason for their long bodies, sharp claws and good sense of smell.

While very cute and popular pets, Dachshunds are bred to do a job and can become bored easily. A bored Dachshund is more likely to follow their natural digging instinct and dig up a favourite garden while their owners are not home. It is important to provide this breed with plenty of things to do such as interactive dog toys or even consider setting up a dedicated "doggy sandpit".

Some other breeds that love to dig include the Jack Russell Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer and Alaskan Malamute.

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Labrador: Super Supportive

Labradors are naturally loving, gentle, intelligent and eager to please. This is why they are at the top of the list when it comes to supportive working dog roles. Best known for their role as Guide Dogs for the Blind, these service dogs are specially trained to support people with disabilities and provide them with more independence and a better quality of life. Service dogs can also be trained to support other disabilities including mobility and hearing-impairment, and be used as medical alert dogs.

Labradors also make excellent emotional support dogs. Emotional support animals are important in reducing stress and anxiety and may be helpful for people diagnosed with autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress or generalised anxiety.

Some other breeds commonly used in supportive roles include the Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Staffy and Border Collie.

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Greyhound: Super Fast

Not surprisingly the Greyhound breed is known to be the fastest dog breed in the world. With a tall and slender build, flexible spine and large heart, greyhounds are built for speed and bred especially for dog racing.

So how fast are they? Greyhounds can reach speeds of up to 74 km/hr in just six strides. They run in a "double suspension gallop", the same as cheetahs, where all 4 feet come off the ground at once. While cheetahs are the fastest land animal, reaching speeds of up to 120km/hr in under 3 seconds, a greyhound has amazing endurance and would eventually outrun a cheetah.

Despite being built for speed, greyhounds don't actually demand a lot of exercise and are happy to lounge around and sleep most of the day. Only requiring a walk once a day makes them excellent pets for busy households. The Greyhound Adoption Programme are a fantastic organisation that rehome ex-racing greyhounds and match them with their forever homes.

Other dog breeds with the superpower of speed include the Afghan Hound, Saluki, Vizsla, German Shepherd and Dalmatian.

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Bloodhound: Super Sniffers

The Bloodhound has the best sense of smell of any dog breed. With approximately 300 million scent receptors, bloodhounds are excellent trackers and can follow scents on the ground and in the air. They have been known to follow a trail that is hours to days old.

Originally bred for hunting, the Bloodhound is built for tracking with long and floppy ears that sweep along the ground gathering odours. Their wrinkled skin around the head and neck traps stray scent particles, directing them to their large, open nostrils. Bloodhounds are trained for use in law enforcement, and Search and Rescue, with their tracking abilities being so reliable, the results have been used as evidence in a court of law.

Other excellent tracking breeds include the Basset Hound, Beagle, German Shepherd, Labrador and Belgian Malinois.

Border Collie: Super Smart

Widely heralded as the smartest dog breed in the world, the Border Collie is a busy-minded, hyper-intelligent and hard working dog. They have a high exercise requirement and thrive most when they have a job to do.

Originally bred for herding sheep, the Border Collie's mind loves the challenge of herding, and can quickly become bored if under stimulated. They are highly responsive, easy to train, and well known for being able to seemingly read their master's mind.

Other intelligent dog breeds ranking just behind the Border Collie include the Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Dobermann, Shetland Sheepdog and Labrador.

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Great Dane: Super Sized

According to the Guinness World Records, the title of the tallest dog belonged to American Great Dane, Zeus who stood at 1.11 metres measured to the shoulder and a whopping 7 ft when standing on his back legs. Although the title of tallest dog is held by Zeus the Great Dane, the Irish Wolfhound breed tends to be taller than the average Great Dane coming in at around 86cm standing.

Often referred to as 'gentle giants', the Great Dane breed generally have a sweet and patient disposition, and love affection. They can make great family dogs, but due to their size they require proper training and daily exercise.

Other dog breeds with super sized powers include The Scottish Deerhound, Leonberger, English Mastiff and Borsoi.

If you have recently welcomed a Cavoodle into your family in the last few years, then you are not alone. The Cavoodle, a cross between the Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is currently Australia's most popular dog breed.

So what makes the Cavoodle so popular? This small to medium sized designer breed is intelligent, affectionate, and playful, making them perfect family dogs. Their curly soft coat and big floppy ears gives them a 'teddy bear' like appearance, making them extra cuddly! Due to their poodle genetics, they shed very little and are considered to be hypoallergenic and suitable for owners that suffer from mild allergies.

Some other popular breeds in Australia include the Labrador, Golden Retriever, Maltese Cross and Staffy.

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Super Nanny

A popular breed in Australia, Staffies are intelligent, courageous, energetic and affectionate. Due to their tough appearance and bad press, Staffies are often misunderstood, being branded as aggressive dogs.

Staffies in fact make fantastic family dogs. Nicknamed the "Nanny Dog", they are incredibly good with children and make excellent guardians and playmates that are loyal, devoted and loving.

Some other fantastic family dog breeds include the Golden Retriever, Labrador, Cavoodle, French Bulldog, Poodle and Irish Setter.

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Azawakh: Super Rare

If you have never seen or heard of the Azawakh, that is not surprising. One of the rarest dog breeds in the world, the Azawakh is an ancient breed originating from the Sahara Desert where they were used for hunting. Like all sighthounds, they are built for speed and have a strong prey instinct. They bond firmly to their owners and are affectionate, playful, intelligent and protective.

Some other rare breeds of dog include the Norwegian Lundehund, Xoloitzcuintle, Lagotto Romagnolo, Catahoula Leopard Dog and the Otterhound.

German Shepherd: Super Protective

Easily one of the most recognisable dog breeds, the German Shepherd is loyal, highly intelligent, energetic and hard working. Originally bred for herding, they are naturally protective and make excellent guard dogs. These qualities have led to the breed being extensively used as working dogs in the military and police, as well as service dogs. They make wonderful family pets and give endless loyalty to their owners and handlers.

Some other breeds that are naturally protective include the Belgian Malinois, Dobermann, Rottweiler, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Bullmastiff.

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Chow Chow: Super Fluffy

Chow Chows are known for their distinctive look. With a wide flat face, surrounded by a mane of fur, the Chow Chow breed takes on the appearance of part noble-lion and part cuddly teddy-bear. Their fluffy appearance is attributed to their thick woolly undercoat, covered with an outer rough or smooth coat layer. Apart from their adorable fluffy coat, the Chow Chow's most distinctive feature is their blue-black tongue.

Originating from China, the Chow Chow is an independent breed, known for their cat-like personality. They are loyal and develop strong bonds with their owners but can be wary of strangers. Due to their independent personalities, they can be stubborn when training and require an experienced and dedicated pet owner who is willing to put in the work required.

Other super fluffy breeds of dog include the Keeshond, Bichon Frise, Pomeranian, Alaskan Malamute and Samoyed.

Chihuahua: Super Small

The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed, averaging between 1.8kg and 2.7kg in size. According to the Guinness World Records, the smallest dog was a Chihuahua called Miracle Milly, measuring 9.65cm in height fully grown, weighing only 500g.

Named after the Mexican state where they originated, the Chihuahua should not be underestimated due to their small stature. They have big personalities and are naturally curious, outgoing, loving and intelligent. A popular pet, the Chihuahua comes in a short and long coat variety as well as the super petite Teacup Chihuahua.

Some other small dog breeds include the Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Toy Poodle and Papillon.

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Further Reading

Tick, Flea and Worming Guide For Dogs

How To Calm an Anxious Pet

Dental Care For Dogs

The Real Cost of Supermarket Food

Obesity Pet Facts

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