7 Most Popular English Dog Breeds

7 Most Popular English Dog Breeds

Author WDF Staff


England is home to many popular dog breeds. Most English breeds were developed for a specific purpose; English dog owners and breeders weren’t really interested in creating breeds for companionship. Thanks to them, we have many beloved dog breeds today that are mostly kept as companions. If you’re a fan of the English culture, you’ll love these fantastic English dog breeds.

1. Bulldog

We will start this list with the charming Bulldog. The modern-day breed shares some traits with their ancestors, the Old English Bulldog, but the breeders made sure their temperaments were entirely different. These fairly lazy dogs make ideal companions to owners that prefer a slower pace of life.


Bulldog’s ancestors can be traced back to the 13th century. These dogs were used for bloodsports such as bull-baiting and bear-baiting. After these “sports” were outlawed, the Old English Bulldog outgrew its purpose. Dog breeders adapted and carefully bred these dogs into mild-mannered dogs we know and love today.

2. Yorkshire Terrier

There aren’t many dog breeds as charming as the Yorkshire Terrier. This is an English breed that originated in the Yorkshire area, where they were, believe it or not, a working breed. The Yorkshire Terrier was small enough to be very effective at hunting mice and rats in English kitchens, pantries, houses, and farms. They might be small, but they were pretty feisty.

yorkie terrier

These days, the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular small companion dogs out there. They are affectionate, playful, and relatively intelligent. However, many Yorkie owners fail to provide enough training and socialization to their dog. Many of us forget that Yorkies are still dogs, despite their size. They need the same amount of training, exercise, and socialization as larger dogs.

3. Beagle

Modern-day Beagles are very popular family pets. That is entirely different than what they were initially bred for. Beagles have a tremendous sense of smell, and they can easily track a scent for miles. That is precisely why this breed was developed - hunting. Beagles were popular hunting dogs, and they specialized in hunting small game like rabbits and foxes.


Unlike the Beagles of the old, the modern-day breed is highly affectionate and playful. They are gentle and make great playing partners for the kids in the family. As soon as these dogs were imported into the US, they gained popularity. Hunters and their families absolutely loved these dogs. As hunting became less and less necessary, the only role the Beagle had to fulfill was that of a loving family companion.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

English kings and queens were highly fond of dogs. The 17th-century royal family can be credited for creating the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Both Charles I. and Charles II. loved small spaniels, so they decided to “refine” the breed by crossing it with small Asian companion breeds. Crossbreeding gave the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel its domed head and a flatter face.


Modern-day Cavaliers are incredibly gentle dogs. They are very peaceful, but if they need to, they can summon huge bursts of energy. They come from a long line of working spaniels, so their energetic capabilities are not that surprising. If you are looking for a calm dog that forms strong connections with the owner, the Cavalier might be the right dog for you.

5. Bullmastiff

We could include both the Mastiff and the Bullmastiff on this list, but we decided to go with the Bullmastiff because these dogs were created in England. Mastiffs came to the UK during Roman times, but Bullmastiffs were entirely created there. Gamekeepers had to keep private lands safe, and in the 17th century, they started having many problems with poachers.


The Bullmastiff is a cross between a Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog. The idea behind the new breed was to create an active, powerful, and fearless dog. Needless to say, gamekeepers managed to produce exactly that. These dogs are still suspicious of strangers and make fantastic guard dogs.

6. Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier shares its birthplace with the Yorkie - both breeds come from Yorkshire. However, there is a considerable size difference between the breeds. The Airedale is the largest member of the Terrier family, and they earned the nickname “The King of Terriers.” These black and tan dogs excelled at performing different tasks, so their popularity wasn’t surprising.

airedale terrier

One of the less known facts about the Airedale Terrier is that these dogs were used by British and German police and military. These dogs were heavily used as military dogs in World War I. They had to perform different tasks that often made them casualties.

7. English Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel, or as it is called in England, Cocker Spaniel, was a hunting dog. Their main task was to locate and flush the woodcock. The type of bird these dogs were hunting earned them their name. These days, English Cocker Spaniels are energetic family companions and prominent show dogs.

cocker spaniel puppy

The breed standard was developed in 1902, and before that, breeders simply used the size of a dog as the main way of determining which type of work the dog would be doing. These dogs were imported to the US, where American dog breeders decided to further develop the breed and create the American Cocker Spaniel.

World Dog Finder team

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