Do I capitalize the names of dog breeds?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
Do not routinely capitalize the names of dog breeds. Many breed names are composed of proper nouns that you capitalize and generic terms (like retriever or terrier) that you lowercase.
Breed names are often composed of a place-name, as in these references to the breed’s country of origin:
Portuguese water dog
Sometimes the place-name refers to a region within a country:
A generic term of foreign origin might also be combined with a place-name:
Another formulation for breed names includes the name of the person who created the breed:
Jack Russell terrier
Many breed names are composed entirely of generic terms, even though the terms may no longer be common parlance or may be of foreign origin:
Yet other breed names are capitalized according to convention and for clarity:
Old English sheepdog
These same guidelines apply to other animal breeds, like cats or cattle:
Consult a dictionary like Merriam-Webster when you’re uncertain.