Dogs have been loyal companions for humans since the beginning of time. From the wolves and wild dogs that became the hunting partners of our ancestors to the designer breeds we know today, there are countless stories, images, and folklore tales documenting our life-long love affair with these amazing creatures.
Some even argue that human evolution wouldn’t be possible without the presence of our dog companions, giving them credit for keeping us safe from harm and allowing us to continue to exist! I’m totally on board with that sentiment and couldn’t agree more that human life wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged friends.
In many cultures, dogs are viewed as symbols of good luck: they’re thought to bring prosperity, peace, and good health to those of us lucky enough to share our homes with them. There are some dogs that are thought to be luckier than others, though. Read on for a list of some of the world’s luckiest dogs:
The Lucky Pug
Hailing from the land of China and at the top of this list is the adorable, smushy-faced Pug. These guys have been bringing their owners good luck and companionship for over two millennia — yes, you read that right! The breed originated somewhere around 400 B.C. and they were known to be the loyal companions of Tibetan monks, among other things.
The “good luck Pug” story started when the Chinese Emperors who kept them as pets realized that the adorable wrinkles on their foreheads were eerily similar to the Chinese character for Prince. Because of this belief they were treated like royalty — and even had their own bodyguards! Whichever way the idea of Pugs as good luck charms came to be, one thing’s for sure: their cuteness and funny personalities inspire smiles wherever they go!
Shi Tzu: Little Lion
There are few small dog breeds that I love more than the Shi Tzu. Apparently, I’m not alone — they’re the 20th most popular breed among a total of 196! These little silky-coated cuties are another ancient breed, originating somewhere in Tibet around 624 C.E. They were reportedly bred by monks to be Holy dogs, as were a handful of others around the same time. With their great temperament and love of children, it’s easy to see why they’re such popular family members.
The Shi Tzu’s good luck story comes from ancient Buddhism, as the Buddha himself was reportedly a Shi Tzu owner! An ancient story states that the Buddha’s Shi Tzu protected him from being robbed while they were out walking one day by transforming into a lion and scaring the thieves away. The Buddha kissed his pup’s forehead in gratitude, leaving a white spot — which are common in Shi Tzus to this day and known as the “Buddha’s kiss.” No wonder this adorable breed was named Shi Tzu: it translates to “little lion dog!”
Chinese Crested: Savior of Ships
Somewhat of a mystery breed due to conflicting origin stories, the Chinese Crested is an interesting dog to behold. While they do come with a full coat of fur in some cases, the majority of them are hairless — with the exception of their head and/or paws, which is how the name “Crested” came to be. It’s thought that these little guys originally hailed from Africa (and in some stories, Mexico) and were brought to China by tradesmen, who then observed their amazing ability to catch and kill the vermin aboard their ships.
This is a big part of their good luck charm, as by killing the disease carrying vermin, they were thought to be protecting the sailors from deadly viruses. The Chinese Crested was also helpful in healthcare, aiding patients in pain by acting as hot compresses and bed warmers! In any case, these little guys are uniquely adorable, and love their families to bits. They do need to be socialized from a young age, however, as they can be averse to strangers and small children in some cases.
The Prized Lhasa Apso
While they were only introduced in the US in the early 20th century, the Lhasa Apso is yet another ancient dog breed. They were first documented in Tibet around 800 A.D. and are thought to be one of the most prized breeds in the world according to Tibetan culture. This adorable, silky-haired breed is small but mighty, and was often known to guard monasteries and the homes of important people in Tibetan society. Their sharp bark would alert their owner of intruders, while their Mastiff partners would scare off any potential threats.
The Lhasa Apso’s good luck reputation comes from the belief that they could hold the souls that were waiting to be reincarnated as humans. They also have the reputation of a symbol of peace, health, and prosperity for anyone lucky enough to be given one as a gift. This was once the only way to get a Lhasa Apso, as they were very rarely sold and difficult to find. With their adorable looks and great temperament, it’s no wonder they’re such a popular breed — and having a dog with such a lucky history can’t hurt, either!
A Dalmatian’s Spots: A Symbol of Good Luck
With their gorgeous spotted coat and noble presence, it’s hard not to notice a Dalmatian. Their origins are conflicted, but most say they originated in Europe, Asia, or Africa — or at least dogs resembling them did. There are reports of them being traveling dogs that were the companions of European Gypsy families, which may be what makes up part of their magical good luck story, but it’s hard to say.
From carriage dogs in the 1700’s to circus dogs and then firemen’s dogs, the Dalmatian has served a variety of purposes over the years. They’re the center of an old English saying that meeting a Dalmatian is good luck, especially if you’re on your way to a business meeting! Spotted dogs in general are widely known as good luck charms, so the Dalmatian definitely fits the bill there. I have to say, with their good looks and crazy active temperaments, I’d feel lucky to meet one!
Greyhounds Bring Good Fortune
Any dog lover knows that watching a Greyhound run is a sight to behold. Their grace and speed are unmatched by any other breed, clocking up to 45 miles per hour in some cases! Though they make great racing dogs, they’re not actually a high energy breed — they can sprint with the best of them, sure, but spend most of their time lounging around once their daily exercise is taken care of. Greyhounds originated somewhere in Egypt and are considered an ancient breed. They were originally bred for hunting, and eventually became the racing champions we know today.
The myth that seeing a Greyhound with a white spot on its head brings good fortune is a difficult one to track down, but it’s popular. It’s thought to have originated somewhere in England along with the spotted dog superstition, but the where and when are a mystery. Needless to say, the grace and precision of a running Greyhound sparks excitement and joy in anyone who’s fortunate enough to witness it, and the fact that people have won large sums of money from betting on their races only adds to the good luck charm!
The Scottish Good Luck Charm: Black Dogs
Black dogs (and cats, for that matter) have long been seen across cultures as a sign of a bad omen. Associating them with death or the underworld thanks to years of inaccurate folklore, it seems to be a natural reaction for some to fear dogs of this color. While I couldn’t disagree more — black dogs are among my favorite of all — this is partly why shelters and rescues appear to have a more difficult time getting homes for dogs and cats that are black or dark colored, along with them being difficult to photograph and not standing out as much as their lighter colored shelter mates.
However, there are some cultures who believe that black dogs are actually good luck, which I wholeheartedly agree with. In Scotland, for example, coming across a stray dog is considered extremely good luck, and if it’s a black dog, even more so. Scotland has a history of being avid dog lovers, with many breeds originating there that you wouldn’t expect! They view dogs as a sign of loyalty, companionship, and protection, which most of us can get behind, right? Fun fact: Scotland is the home of the first brewery in the world to grant its employees “Paw-ternity leave,” giving workers time off when they bring a new dog home!
Strange Dog = New Friendship
I don’t know about you, but I always consider myself lucky when I meet a new dog. Maybe it’s just my animal loving nature, but it seems I’m not the only one: dogs have long been viewed as a good luck charm across many cultures throughout time. The old story of puppies sitting outside homes waiting to join the families who live there has been told countless times, and though many folks choose not to let them in, apparently it would be good luck if they did!
The old superstition that a strange dog entering your home signals a new friendship originated somewhere in Scotland — but holds true all over the world. While letting a stray dog into your home isn’t something many people would do (and isn’t recommended based on the advice of some animal experts), it does signify your generosity and compassion for an animal without a home. If you do decide to allow a stray dog access to your home, just be mindful and get him checked out by a vet as soon as possible. Who knows, maybe he’s the new friend the superstition was talking about!