Companion Dogs

Companion dogs have secondary characteristics, so I have separated them into sub-groups called the Companion Group, the Barbichon Family, and the Hunting-Sporting Group.

Primarily, Companion dogs are people dogs. They like to be with you. They want to keep company with you. A companion dog is devoted to you and your family. If he is primarily your dog he will never want to be far away from you and he will never allow you to be far away from him. If at all caninely possible, she will "dog your footsteps" most of day. These dogs are known for paying close attention to everything you say. They truly live up to the concept that a dog is your best friend.

The Companion Group

Except for the European "Little Lion Dog" the Lowchen, and the African Chinese Crested, the Companion dogs originate in Asia. The Pug traces back to 400 BC in Asia. The Tibetan Spaniel and Lhasa Apso are from Tibet. The rare Chinese Crested comes from a group of African Hairless Terriers and is also classified in the Toy Group, as is the Pug.

The Barbichon Family

These cheerful, athletic, sociable, and attractive dogs, well adapted to a watery environment, were dropped off on islands and shorelines all over the world in the 14th C. In the Caribbean they were named after the city of Havana in Cuba. In the Mediterranean they evolved in France as the Teneriffe Bichon and in Italy they were named after the city of Bologna. In the Indian Ocean off the south-east tip of Africa they evolved on Madagascar where they were named for the port city of Tulear with the descriptive name of a major Malagasy export, cotton.

Included in the Companions Group are what I will call the Barbichon Family. Although history is clouded, they seem to be related and they all have a similar look and a similar disposition. They include the Bichon Frise, the Bolognese, the Coton de Tulear, the Havanese and the Maltese. Three of these, the Bichon, Havanese and Maltese are also classified in the Toy Group.

All of the Barbichon dogs have ancient origins and they all hail from the Mediterranean area. They are all small and white and rather than fur, they have long dry hair — either curly or straight. The Maltese (named after Malta Island) is referred to as the Melitaeos dog by the Egyptians and Greeks beginning in the 7th C. BC. The others breeds appear later. They are probably descended from a small water dog that was popular with seaman and travelers. Portugese ships took them from the Iberian Peninsula and the Atlantic islands nearby, such as the Terneriffe and Canary Islands. One of their ancestors may be the Barbet as well as other herding and water dogs from the Iberian Peninsula. (Hence the name Barbichon, meaning a diminutive or smaller form of the Barbet. Barbichon was later contracted to the shorter word, Bichon.) Certainly the Barbichon dogs are related to the Caniche or Poodle, who is also descended from the Barbet.

Coton de Tulear, "Coco"

Rococo Splendor of Chateau Cotons

Maison des Cotons, Palo Alto, CA

The Hunting-Sporting Group

The Labradoodle is a mixed breed, or a Hybrid, or what I call a Compound dog. An F1 Labradoodle is 50% Labrador and 50% Poodle.

Both of the breeds in this Companion sub-group are also known as Gun dogs.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is descended from the King Charles Spaniel (English Toy Spaniel) and other toy spaniels. The Cavalier was bred to have a longer nose and to look like the spaniels portrayed in paintings during the era of King Charles II of England. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also classified in the Toy Group.

Bichon Frise

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Bolognese "Boodles"

Palo Alto, CA

Havanese

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Maltese

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Chinese Crested

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Cockapoo

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Lhasa Apso

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