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Interesting facts you may not know about Australia’s most popular dog breeds

Interesting facts you may not know about Australia’s most popular dog breeds

Written by Dr. Nandita Mirajkar, Scientific Affairs Lead at ilume

Are you considering bringing a puppy home and wondering which breed would suit you best? Or perhaps you already know how awesome your dog is, and want to see if other Aussies agree with you? Read on to learn about Australia’s most popular dog breeds, and what makes them everyone’s favourite.1

Labrador Retriever

One of the most popular breeds for good reason, Labrador Retrievers are friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions. They shower everyone with affection - children, adults, other dogs and even strangers! An exuberant breed with high exercise needs, Labradors love to spend all day playing fetch (‘retrieving’) and swimming. As a highly intelligent breed that’s easy to train, Labrador Retrievers are suited to working in search-and-rescue, drug / bomb detection or as service / assistance dogs.

Interesting fact:
Labradors can alert humans of the early warnings of hypoglycaemia in diabetic patients. They have a very sensitive sense of smell and may be trained to sniff out specific chemical changes that occur when blood sugar levels drop.2

Border Collie

The Border Collie is an exceptionally intelligent workaholic. Energetic, athletic, and keen to work, Border Collies are happiest when problem-solving, herding or involved in agility and obedience training. As the best working breed for herding sheep, Border Collies are also known for their ‘herding eye’, a strong, fixated stare that intimidates sheep and helps in herding them.

Interesting fact:
The Border Collie is known to be the most intelligent dog breed in the world. They can learn commands in less than five exposures and obey >95% of the time.3 Chaser, a Border Collie, understood more than 1000 human words.4

Golden Retriever

Another much loved breed, the Golden Retriever is friendly, loyal, beautiful and makes for a great family dog. Known to stay playful well into adulthood, this energetic breed can spend hours outdoors, swimming and fetching (‘retrieving’). Golden Retrievers are intelligent and eager-to-please, which makes them easy to train for serious work such as hunting, field work, search-and-rescue and as guide dogs.

Interesting fact:
Golden Retrievers are natural swimmers. They have webbed toes and a thick, water-resistant double coat that help them stay warm in chilly water.1

German Shepherd

A breed with noble character, German Shepherds are confident, dependable, loyal, and courageous dogs who will put their life on the line for their loved ones. Their agility, intelligence, and ability to learn a variety of commands and tasks make German Shepherds excel at anything they are trained to do. These all-purpose workers are excellent at guiding / assistance, police and military service, search and rescue, drug detection and competitive obedience.

Interesting fact:
German Shepherds have proven their true character many times over. They served alongside soldiers on the battlefield during World War I and II as trackers, guards, messengers, sentinels, and rescuers, delivering first aid and ammunition, guiding blinded soldiers to safety and even comforting soldiers who were fatally injured.5

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Affectionately called a ‘Staffy’, this breed is intelligent, courageous, sensitive, and loving. With an ancestry of being bred for fighting, today’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a docile, playful, sweet-natured, and fun companion.

Interesting fact:
Despite their tough appearance, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are patient and loving towards children and have earned the reputation of being a ‘nanny dog’.1


Amongst the most loved breeds in Australia, the Cavoodle or Cavapoo is a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle breeds. Their loyal, gentle, affectionate, outgoing, and playful nature make them great family pets. Cavoodles are also intelligent, athletic, and very eager for your attention and praise, making them easy to train.

Interesting fact:
Contrary to belief, the Cavoodle isn’t ‘hypoallergenic’ i.e., they aren’t unlikely to cause allergies in their humans. In fact, ‘hypoallergenic dogs’ don’t really exist, although there are some breeds that shed less fur than others, which can result in less sneezing for their owners.6

French Bulldog

Affectionately called the ‘Frenchie’, the French Bulldog is loving, playful, friendly, and charming. French Bulldogs are a small breed ‘lap dog’, require little exercise, don’t bark much, are even-tempered, and adapt well to life with singles or couples, making them a popular choice for city dogs. French Bulldogs make pretty good watchdogs, and we’re not just saying that because of their adorable, alert-looking, erect ‘bat ears’.

Interesting fact:
French Bulldogs aren’t really French! Originally from England, they later grew in popularity amongst the upper class in France, and were eventually bred for their distinctive ‘bat ears’ in America.1

Miniature Dachshund

The Miniature Dachshund, aka Doxie / Weiner dog / sausage dog, is a friendly, high-spirited, bright personality, who enjoys the companionship of their humans and is always willing to give them love and affection. They are clever, playful, curious, comical, and entertaining, which makes it easier to overlook their dogged stubborn streak. With a reputation for being independent, tenacious, fearless, and bold, Miniature Dachshunds make loyal companions.

Interesting fact:
Miniature Dachshunds used to be called ‘badger dogs’. Bred to hunt badgers and rabbits, this history explains their short legs that kept them close to the ground to track the scent of an animal and crawl into burrows, and their long, floppy ears that prevented grass and seeds from entering their ears during these escapades. Even today, Miniature Dachshunds still love burrowing and digging!7

Honourable mentions

Although they may not reign the highest on the popularity list, this list would be incomplete without mentioning some other amazing breeds that are truly loved by Australians.

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Maltese Cross Breeds
  • Goldendoodle / Groodle (Golden Retriever x Poodle)
  • Labradoodle (Labrador x Poodle)
  • Pug
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Australian Kelpie (and its cross breeds)

Your dog is unique and special

While different breeds have always been associated with certain personality traits, have you ever known some dogs who just don’t fit this standard? Perhaps you vouch for the fact that your pooch breaks all breed stereotypes with their unique personality?

You may be onto something. A recent study found that while many behavioural traits are heritable, only 9% of individual differences in behaviour could be explained by breed. Your dog’s behavioural characteristics or personality is more likely influenced by their genetic ancestry and environment.8

Your dog is truly one of a kind and deserves food that is equally unique and special. Nourish their mind and body with fresh, healthy, human-quality meals that use only the most thoughtfully selected natural ingredients. Bring out the best in your best friend with ilume.