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You’ll see a plethora of information listing all of the known dog breeds out there, claiming it is A-Z. However, the more you check out, the more you realize that they aren’t really comprehensive… the letter Z is missing!
So, what’s the deal with dog breeds starting with A-Y getting all of the attention and leaving out the last letter of the alphabet?
Well, it is actually more difficult to find breeds that start with this letter as there are only a few- just six from my findings!
You may be wondering then, what dog breeds start with Z?
The dog breeds that start with Z are as follows: Zuchon, Zerdava, Zapadno-Sibirskaia Laika, Zwergpinscher, Zwergspitz, and Zwergschnauzer. Some of these breeds originated in countries other than the U.S., giving a reason as to why these names may look uncommon to you. Regardless, these pals are well-known despite their different titles!
Most of the dogs starting with Z go by different names: their common names that don’t start with a Z. And some of these breeds’ common tags normally discredit them from joining a list of “Z” dog types in the United States.
The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize any breed starting with this letter, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t out there!
Also, remember that common names aren’t common everywhere in the world, and each breed may be referred to as something different even though they’re the same animal!
I’ve listed and described these breeds in this article anyways for you to still get a glimpse of these extraordinary pups (or to learn more about some of the popular kinds), so keep reading!
You might’ve heard about Shichons, which are actually the same breed as Zuchons! Breeders use the former name as these pups are a mix between the Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise. But how did this adorable combination come to be?
Well, Shichons are a group relatively new to the dog world, making their appearance in the 1990s (roughly). Though they aren’t recognized by the large dog registries, they’ll likely pick up the traction to become official. Owners rave about these pups, and for good reason.
Mixed breeds will vary in what color (and coat type) they are, either black, tan, brown, white, silver, or even light peach. They are characteristically small in stature, with an adult weighing 10 pounds on average. Carrying droopy ears on their rounded head and mostly having soft, curly coats, people like to call them “teddy bears”, understandably!
Be careful getting a “teddy bear cut” at the grooming salon though, as you may not find him if he’s cuddled up on any teddy bear toys in your kid’s room!
So they look charming, but what is this adorable pup like to have as a family member?
Bred with the intention of being a family dog, they do their job splendidly! Zuchons are intelligent, cuddly, sweet, loving, and tolerable. These pups will give you constant attention as if you are their ultimate creator and shower you with affection for it. Kids will even find a new best friend in this breed, as Shichons won’t get sick of the chaotic playtime.
Most of their energy will go into adoring you and being a small breed, and they don’t have much energy to work with. They’ll likely feel satisfied with a walk or some fetch each day. Your kids might even wear out the pup for you!
With proper socialization, your Zuchon can cohabitate with other dogs, cats, birds, and small animals. Even strangers won’t be a problem, accepting anyone that will give him head pats and snuggles.
All around, you’ve got a winner here in the family dog department!
The Zerdava is a particularly interesting breed of dog: a spitz-type dog also known as a Turkish Laika (and “Kapi” by natives). Yet another non-registered breed, these pups would bark at their chance for some recognition!
This breed’s history is not well documented, so it has proven difficult to confirm their ancestral roots. However, researchers have been able to determine from their studies that these dogs are closely related to Northern Laika breeds, and some wolf traits were retained. Originating in the Black Sea region of Turkey, most of the breed’s population has continued to remain here, cared for and utilized by local hunters.
You can see in this video the resemblance a Zerdava still has to its wolf heritage (disregard the yapping pooch):
Zerdava’s are extremely versatile dogs; they were (and still are) used for hunting wild boar populations in Turkey as well as guarding properties and homes. Their brave personalities and impressive physique make them best suited for outdoor living and performing tasks for their owners.
Their appearance is very striking, one you would not be able to miss!
Being a medium size breed, an adult dog averages 35 pounds. The body is a light to dark chestnut color, with the feet being white and covered in brown spots. The distinguishing trait of a Zerdava is its white tail, inwardly curved. With a deep, wide chest, upright ears, and strong build, they are meant to be outside!
Though an independent and stubborn dog, Zerdavas can still be quite affectionate and playful with its owner. Its loyalty will be solely to its first owner, which may make a full household difficult with this pup. Other animals or small kids are not recommended for this breed due to their high prey drive.
They are notoriously strong, intelligent, efficient, and hardy animals. An outdoor space for this breed to spend most of its time is ideal as they are not a domesticated homebody like a Zuchon!
With a Zerdava, you will have a ride-or-die best friend like no other!
3. Zapadno-Sibirskaia Laika
In English, this dog is referred to as a West Siberian Laika. Though this group’s standard was decided in the early 1900s, it was recognized as an official breed in 1980 by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). It is truly a powerhouse dog worth the attention!
This Laika breed originated in Siberia through a mix of Manci and Khanty hunting dogs. Today, it can be seen all throughout Russia (primarily in wooded regions) as the most prevalent hunting dog there!
You would notice this breed as it walks into the room, as it is a medium-large breed weighing on average 50 pounds and has well-developed muscles. Its thick, straight fur (perfect for the cold Siberian weather) is a peppered mix of either grey, reddish-brown, brown, or white. Similar to the Zerdava, this breed has strong, pointed ears that are always erect.
A confident dog, the Zapadno-Sibirskaia Laika is typically even-tempered, with heightened senses for, as you guessed it, hunting!
They thrive with plenty of mental stimulation, specifically through activities of scent tracking, detecting, and catching various types of wild animals. Give this extremely active lifestyle and this breed will be devoted and loving to you. With many energetic and intelligent dogs, depriving them of mental and physical stimulation will result in destructive behaviors.
Be wary of dogs of the same sex, as this breed can turn aggressive towards them. They can also be aloof with strangers and risky around young children. With this said, the dog is not naturally aggressive if properly raised; it simply has a literal wild side!
It is recommended that only experienced Laika owners adopt this particular breed as they understand the independence this dog exudes. This breed would do best in an active, outdoor home with an owner dedicated to training and letting it explore its natural instincts!
Mostly known as a Miniature Pinscher, this breed is also called a Zwergpinscher or Mini Pin! These dogs have a special place in my heart after an abandoned Mini Pin decided to follow my brother home from school one day.
Clearly neglected before, he still acted like the happiest dog in the entire world, so grateful to us for allowing him in our backyard. We tested the waters with our two chihuahuas, and he was so spirited that they played together instantly. Nobody ever claimed him, so we kept him. The rest was history!
The Zwergpinscher (meaning “little biter”) originated in Germany with its earliest ancestors believed to be the German Pinscher, Dachshund, and Italian Greyhound. They were officially accepted as a breed by the AKC in 1929 and also have had a place in the FCI since 1955.
If you’ve seen a Mini Pin, you’ve probably noticed their docked tail and long skinny legs. Their smooth, shiny coats are either jet black or chocolatey brown with red/brown markings, deer red, or reddish-brown. An adult dog will be on average 11 pounds– definitely a small breed!
You’ve found your perfect match if you want a high-energy, happy dog to join your family!
This breed is not one to shy away from fun as they love to play with toys and tear up the grass during speed laps! Here’s a joyful slow-motion video of a Zwergpinscher playing with its (unrelated) Doberman Pinscher friend:
Zwergpinschers are the textbook definition of a companion dog. “Small but mighty” really describes this breed well as they can be effective watchdogs for your home.
You’ll also find it easy to mesh this breed with other pups and family members as they are extremely tolerable and agreeable. Their lively, affectionate, and cuddly spirit will make them everyone’s favorite family member!
My family’s Zwergpinscher is one of two dogs remaining (out of six) after 15 love-filled years. He only has one eye left and needs daily medications, but that never gets his spirit down! He impresses me every day, so I always recommend this breed to first-time dog owners (just be prepared for plenty of barking and whining).
I am sure this dog will fill your life with immense love and joy for years to come!
You might be thinking, what in the world is a Zwergspitz? Well, it is actually our beloved Pomeranian!
This fluffy, barking royalty goes far back into the past and was first distinguished as its own breed in 1888 by the AKC. Believe it or not, their origins go back to dogs that lived in the frozen Arctic region of Iceland. It is believed that they used to be much larger as the pups were used for herding, pulling sleds, and guarding. Once transported to Europe, they were bred to become smaller until they reached the little figure they are today!
Pomeranians have a unique look, one that quite literally looks like a pom-pom ball (or a little husky)! Only weighing an average of seven pounds, they still have a big-dog mentality. Their coats are usually one solid color, though that color varies greatly. Thick undercoats with longer fur are characteristic of their Nordic descent as are their smaller ears.
You’ll notice that this breed’s tail curls back along its bum and is almost fluffier than its whole body!
My uncle’s Zwergspitz would always bark her brains out, running around in circles every time we came to visit. Vocal, playful, inquisitive, and adaptable, these pups will make sure they are the star of the show. They can be a bit overpowering at times because they just really want your love and pets!
Pomeranians make great family pets, though their small size should be taken into consideration with small children. You can grow your bond with this breed through training sessions followed up by some snuggles on the sofa!
Their bark is likely to annoy any danger away, so you’ll have a fun-size protector in the home!
Hinting from the name Zwergschnauzer, this breed is also known as a Miniature Schnauzer. There are three sizes of schnauzers, and this one (as expected) is the smallest! So, where did this petite pup come from?
Yet the second dog originating from Germany on this list, the Zwergschnauzer was believed to be bred into existence by accident. An Affenpinscher and a Standard Schnauzer sealed the deal and thus created our miniature friends! After decades of breeding and gaining popularity, the Mini Schnauzer became a recognized breed by the AKC in 1926 and the FCI in 1955.
The Zwergschnauzer is notorious for its beard and distinguished stance. Short and stocky, an adult will weigh approximately 13 pounds. They can be peppered black and white, black and silver, pure black, or pure white with a coarse coat texture.
Some owners even let them sport some fluffy eyebrows, which is the main feature that makes them look so grumpy!
If you have a full family and your kids are bugging you to get a dog, this breed is sure to make a splash with them! Miniature Schnauzers are lovey-dovey, fantastic with children, and very adaptable. Very active, smart, and eager to please, this pup will always be up for learning new tricks and tasks to do!
A properly socialized Zwergschnauzer is always one of my favorites to work with. They are obedient, calm, and friendly. You can never go wrong with this breed!
It is difficult to find dog breeds that start with the letter Z simply because they aren’t really out there! Well, they are out there, but common names and translations make it difficult to either find them or realize that they can also go by another name.
Remember, much like with every living thing on this planet, people across the world will know a single organism by many different names. It can be interesting to dig deeper and see what information is out there!
Hopefully, this article introduced you to a few breeds you haven’t heard of before or let you learn some fun information about the public’s longtime favorite breeds!