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5 Dog Breeds Steeped in Legends & Myth

Rainbow BridgeLegends have to start somewhere, right? How did these five breeds come to develop such stories? Within this list we have guardians of the underworld, fairy creations, shape shifting crime stoppers, and deterrents of evil. Do these myths have any basis in reality? Or are they merely campfire stories made up for the benefit of dog enthusiasts?

Shih Tzu

This pint sized little bundle of sass is fully immersed in Buddhist lore. It has been speculated that the Buddha traveled with a Shih Tzu. One day, robbers descended upon the Buddha and his followers. The faithful Shih Tzu turned into a lion, chasing the evil doers off. There is a white mark on the forehead on a majority of Shih Tzu’s. Legend has it that is the lasting imprint of the Buddha’s kiss upon his loyal dog. Bred by Tibetan monks to resemble small lions, the Shih Tzu’s were thought to be either the living form of rascally family deities  or that they carry the souls of lamas who hadn’t reached Nirvana.


Many people are put off by the hairless demeanor of the Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo), yet it is believed that this ancient dog from Mexico has healing powers. Known for their extreme body heat, the Xolo was used to warm people who suffered chills from a fever but also was thought to cure arthritis and rheumatism. The Xolo was also believed to scare away evil spirits.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

In the whole of Great Britain, there is none so revered as the Welsh Corgi. Queen Elizabeth II received her first corgi as a gift from her father in 1933. The Pembroke, with the tail-less behind that wags so enthusiastically, are believed to have been born out of the lairs of fairies. Legend has it that fairies rode on the backs of low slung dogs such as a Corgi. Look at a standard Corgi’s coloring, is there a slight imprint of a small saddle across the shoulders?

Chinese Shar-Pei

Bred in China for guarding one’s home, the Shar-Pei scared away more than what is in the human world. It was believed that the purple tongue and wrinkled skin of this ancient breed also sent ghosts packing. To have a Shar-Pei in residence may promise the owner a spectral free zone.


This popular breed from Mexico, the Chihuahua, is known for its unwavering devotion to their human. With devotion so powerful, it is rumored that the Chihuahua’s attachment continues on into the spirit realm. Equipped with the mindset of a Rottweiler, it is whispered that these pint sized dog leads wayward souls through the belly of the underworld, protecting them from harm.

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Written by Renee Moen
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