Posted 3 months ago ago
With the European Championships on the horizon, 24 nations are getting ready to do battle on the football field.
Among those cheering players on from their home countries, along with their families and friends, will of course be their loyal doggos.
Each country has its own breeds and styles of canine that they call their own.
We’ve had a look at the national breed from each of the competing countries.
Turkey - Kangal Shepherd
Often referred to as a sheepdog but actually more of a flock guardian, Kangals are big enough to fend off predators but are also renowned for their agility.
With a sleek, light-coloured coat and standing anywhere between 63cm and 80cm tall, it is believed the breed originally served the people of Sivas in Turkey but has since become the national breed.
Italy - Spinone
Originally a hunting dog, these fluffy friends date back to the 1400s in Italy.
It has a history of being used to track enemies and to carry food by the Italian resistance in World War II.
They have a distinctive moustache and beard on their faces, making them among the most handsome dogs going.
Wales - Welsh Sheepdog
A furry face that will be very recognisable to British dog fans, the black, red and white beauties are common around Britain.
Their long ears, round eyes and constant energy make them a dream for someone who wants a busy dog - they’re full of energy and need a lot of exercise!
Switzerland - St Bernard
Long famous for rescuing people from being stranded on mountains, these helpful doggos have become a treasured breed in hilly Switzerland.
They used to carry out search and rescue missions alone and would learn what to do from older dogs, not their owners.
They’re big, warm, loyal and officially called a ‘giant dog’ - it is pretty clear why!
Denmark - Broholmer
Making its name as a guard dog for wealthy homes in Denmark, the Broholmer is a powerful but protective pup.
It has a loud bark and, when well-trained, it is calm and good-tempered to its owners but watchful of strangers.
It’s regarded as a great family dog for those looking to add another voice to their household.
Finland - Finnish Spitz
These dogs may look like a big ball of fur, but they were originally used in hunting parties and still often are in their native land.
Always on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary, they are known as alert, active and friendly and are supposed to be very good with young children.
Belgium - Belgian Malinois
One of four distinct forms of Belgian Shepherd, these shorter-haired companions are currently regarded as the primary dog breed of Belgium.
Another breed that is protective and makes good guard dogs, the Malinois is traditionally fawn in colour with black.
They are renowned for being very trainable dogs and having a strong guarding instinct.
Russia - Caucasian Shepherd
Another breed originally from the mountains in eastern Europe, these shaggy-haired friends were traditionally used to protect sheep and other livestock.
They are strong but soft - for all their fur, they have been used before to hunt bears.
The Netherlands - Keeshond
Those who prefer their furry friends on the small side will no doubt have run across these little bundles of fun.
Closely related to Pomeranians, these delightful doggos are small in size but big in fur and their little pointed ears are honestly adorable.
They originally had a reputation as barge dogs and could often be found travelling the waterways of the Netherlands.
Ukraine - Odis
If you want a friend whose fur you can just bury your face in, the Ukraine might have the one for you.
The national breed, the Odis, is not dissimilar to an English Sheepdog, with big fur often covering its face!
Known for being bright and friendly, these dogs look like the most inviting pillows you could imagine.
Austria - Tyroler Bracke
With a name given in English as the High Altitude Hound, it’s no surprise where these intrepid dogs made their name.
Known for having a great nose and being good at picking up scents, these hardworking companions are also known to be good at handling tricky terrain like mountains or forests.
North Macedonia - Šarplaninac
Named after the Šar Mountains in the Balkans, these strongly-built dogs have always been used in controlling livestock in mountain regions.
Their dense fur makes them ideal companions in cold weather and is most enthusiastic about the flock it is protecting above all others.
England - Bulldog
A symbol of Britain for decades, these gruff but lovable pooches are renowned as the national dog of England.
Often linked with the likes of Winston Churchill as a classic part of England, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but we know that these dogs know how important they are.
Croatia - Croatian Sheepdog
These adorable curly-furred friends are active and enthusiastic, with a strong need for human companionship - perfect for those who like to feel our dog’s love!
They are very loyal to their owners and can be distrustful of strangers if not trained well enough, but they are generally docile and committed to their owner.
Scotland - Scottish Terrier
Another of the more pint-sized pooches featured on this list, the Scottish Terrier is an independent dog that likes outdoor life.
They are known to be a little feisty at times but, while sometimes stubborn, are very loving friends.
They are fearless and rugged, having been nicknamed the ‘Diehard’ in years past because of their determination.
Czech Republic - Cesky Terrier
Among the lesser-known native breeds to people in Britain, these curious doggos are recognisable by their long neck and body.
Generally longer than they are tall, it is believed to be one of the six rarest dog breeds in the world and can be likened to a classic terrier in some ways.
Spain - Spanish Mastiff
Similar in appearance to other forms of mastiff, these big boys were mainly used to herd sheep across Spain.
This noble giant is aloof, dignified, calm and intelligent, and is known to move slower where possible, although it can move very quickly when needed.
Once an owner has trained it, they are also regarded as extremely loyal and hard-working.
Sweden - Swedish Vallhund
The floofy friends are hardier than they look, with short legs and a thick coat.
While it struggles in deep snow due to its shorter legs, it is well-equipped for every other type of terrain and made its way as a herding dog for many years.
One quirk of the breed is that they are born with every variance of tail length, from no tail at all to full length, therefore they are often mistaken for having been docked, which is illegal.
Poland - Polski Owczarek Nizinny (Polish Lowland Sheepdog)
Bearing a shaggy coat and able to adapt to many climates, these doggos are very popular as companions in many different situations.
Described as stable and self-confident, they are known to have an excellent memory and are generally a very healthy breed, meaning not too many unwanted surprises.
Slovakia - Slovak Hound
Sometimes going by the name of the Black Forest Hound despite having no connection with the place, these take the appearance of a traditional hunting hound.
Though independent, it is easy to train and is known for its intelligence, including having an excellent sense of direction.
Hungary - Hungarian Vizsla
A popular breed in the UK, these beautiful sporting dogs are known to be fearless and protective.
The Vizsla is a natural hunter endowed with an excellent nose and outstanding trainability.
They are known to form attachments to owners, children and even strangers very quickly, and once trusting are very loyal.
Portugal - Portuguese Podengo
These big-eared beauties come in three distinct sizes, with each taking on a different purpose.
The Grande (large) was developed for deer and wild boar hunting, the Medio (medium) was developed for rabbit chasing, flushing, hunting and retrieval, and the Pequeno (small) was also developed for flushing rabbits from cover as well as being a good mouser.
France - Poodle
No surprises about this one - the breed has become synonymous with France for many years.
Despite being at one time common as circus dogs, they are now known as great companions.
They are highly intelligent, energetic, and sociable - and who can forget that lush coat?
Germany - Great Dane
Despite the name suggesting it’s from Denmark, the iconic Great Dane is actually a German dog.
One of the largest breeds in the world, they have been used as both great hunters and great protectors in the past, including royal families using them to protect themselves.
Despite their size, they are among the most friendly and affectionate dogs around.