by Lydia Schrandt
USA TODAY 10Best

These are 10 of the world's most interesting dog breeds

The American Kennel Club currently recognizes 193 dog breeds. These 10 have some of the most interesting histories.

Chow Chow

Throughout their history, they’ve served as companion dogs to Chinese nobility (one Tang Dynasty emperor was said to have 5,000 Chows), haulers and hunters.

Bichon Frise

While commonly associated with France, the breed originated in the Canary Islands of Spain, where they were used as sailing dogs.

Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is among the oldest breeds in the Americas, dating back to pre-Columbian times – you can spot similar dogs on artifacts from lost civilizations.

Dachshund

"Dachshund" means "badger dog" in German, and the breed was originally developed to dig into badger dens some 600 years ago.

Bulldog

While the bulldog has long been a symbol of England, it’s also a popular mascot in the U.S. Handsome Dan at Yale is believed to be the first animal mascot in sports.

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier, nicknamed the "American Gentleman," originated in the 1870s as a cross between a bulldog and a white English Terrier.

Newfoundland

These massive, sweet-tempered working dogs come from the Canadian province of Newfoundland, where they were companions for fishermen, specializing in water rescues (they have partially webbed feet).

Pug

The compact and cute pug dates back some 2,000 years to ancient China, where emperors took a liking to small flat-faced dogs.

St. Bernard

These gentle giants of the Swiss and Italian Alps were bred by hospice monks founded by Bernard of Menthon to help rescue travelers en route to Rome who’d gotten buried in snow drifts and avalanches.

Samoyed

The thick, white coat of the Samoyed makes them impervious to cold, including the minus-60 degree temperatures of their homeland in the Siberian town of Oymyakon.

Siberian Husky

It was a pack of Siberian Huskies that made the 658-mile journey to Nome that would inspire the Iditarod.

See all 50 dogs at USA TODAY 10Best

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