Do You Capitalise Dog Breeds?

Do You Capitalise Dog Breeds?
January 6, 2019


Grammar and language can be tricky to get to grips with. So, if you’re wondering if you should capitalise dog breeds when you’re talking about them online, you’re not alone. Many people ask the very same question.

Knowing the right answer can help you to gain more respect when you’re interacting with other dog fans online, or when it comes to listing your pups for sale. While no one likes a grammar Nazi, it’s still good to find out about these things.

The short answer to the question ‘do you capitalise dog breeds’ is no.

But, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Capitalisation should be used with some dog breeds but not others. Capitalisation is only correct if the dog breed is named after a country, place or nation or people. You’ll notice that a lot of dog breeds are regionalised such as German shepherds, Afghan hounds, and Airedale terriers.

Yet, it can be hard to know, without knowing the origin of the dog, if you’ll need to use capitalisation.

For example:

Great Danes inherit their names because they originate from Denmark and Germany.

Pomeranian’s also get their name from where they originate from – Pomerania in Central Europe.

Rottweilers are named after a small German town.

So, your international geography will have to be on point to know the origin of the dog breed names.

There are a few dog breeds which don’t require any capitalisation at all. These dog breeds include:

  • bulldogs
  • terriers
  • retrievers
  • pugs
  • poodles
  • basset hounds.

Regardless. the names of dog breeds still continue to be put into capitals – which no doubt you’ll have noticed in newspapers, books, and magazines.

If you were looking for an easy answer to the question, we apologise for the disappointment as there is currently a lot of ambiguity around it even with language experts. But, if you’re doing any form of formal writing, we’re sure that no one will raise an eyelid if you capitalise the common noun (e.g. retrievers, terriers, hounds). Yet, proper nouns which are place names such as English and Yorkshire should always be capitalised.

If you’re wondering where the common nouns usually come from:
 Mastiff is derived from a Latin word mansuetus which means mild or tame.
 Terrier is derived from the French word “chien terrier” meaning dog of the earth. 

Of course, as you will have noticed from those two examples, dog breeds should always be capitalised when used at the start of the sentence.