Are Cocker Spaniels inherently romantic breeds, or did Disney simply create the dreamy image with the Lady and the Tramp movie? Do we deem certain physical traits, such as big eyes, long coats, or flowing hair, as most romantic? Perhaps we correlate romantic breeds with the countries of origin. Comme la France?
I’m topping this list because of my beauty, but also because of my sweet disposition and charm. Have you seen my dreamy eyes? We Cavaliers were bred for tender friendship, a romp on royal grounds, and the arms of aristocracy. Today we’re classified as a toy breed. We’re remarkably agile, sporty, and all-together sociable. Few breeds match our gentle and loving nature. Rumor has it we’ve inspired many couples to join hands and gaze into one another’s eyes. Some even raise their glass to us: Here’s looking at you, Cav.
2. Shih Tzu
An ancient and esteemed breed, we were developed in Tibet and China to love and be loved. No chasing rats, carrying dead fowl, or herding cattle for us. We’re also known as Chrysanthemum dogs, and flowers sure relate to love. We’re little lion dogs, a favorite of imperial rulers and a beloved house pet during the Ming Dynasty. Now you’ll notice I’ve used a variation on the word “love” many times already. Clearly we’re associated with devotion and affection. You’ll get no argument from us.
3. Bichon Frise
Originating in the Mediterranean, we became especially popular in Spain and France. Sailors gifted my ancestors to ladies in various ports, inspiring our nickname the Love Dog. King Henry III apparently carried one of my predecessors around in a basket. Our powder puff appearance makes humans exclaim “Adorable!” and adorability is the cousin to romance. Or perhaps our association to romance stems from Bichons represented in art. We were frequently painted alongside glamorous aristocratic owners. My favorite is the 15th century piece depicting my predecessor with the goddess of love. And so, for including me on this wonderful list, I say grazie and merci!
4. Irish Setter
My brilliant coat in shades of mahogany or deep chestnut, along with my overall astonishing beauty, may inspire you to think of romantic scenes. I appreciate your praise for my beauty, but I’m also an athletic, sporty bird dog. And like many of us born on the Emerald Isle, socializing comes naturally. After a busy day outdoors, I’ll sit quietly at your feet as you and your friends chat through the evening. I’m lighthearted, sweet, social, and gracious. Just remember: When my Irish eyes are smiling, I’m usually up to something!
Well, this is rather embarrassing. Perhaps I’m on this list because people believe everything about France and Spain is romantic? Or perchance it’s because we were French court dogs in the 17th century? I know people are enamored with my elegant white coat, kind eyes, and incomparable beauty, and thus associate me with love. My mountain shepherds lovingly call me Patou, a soft term of endearment for a strong working dog. But make no mistake: I was bred for a serious job, guarding my flocks on the Pyrenees slopes from predators such as wolves. Let’s hope you put me on a working dog list next time.
Let’s hear from you, readers? Which breeds do you associate with romance, and why?