The Olympics bring the world together because everybody loves a feel-good sports story. Kind of like the way everybody loves dogs (everybody DOES love dogs, right?) So we thought we’d see what happened when we combined the two. What if dogs were Olympians? Which breeds would be best for which sports—and why? These illustrations nail it. Bursting with the bright colors of the Rio games, they celebrate the amazing natural talent of these dog breeds.
Phelps and Ledecky, meet your match
Golden retrievers are among the swimming stars of the dog world. If dogs were Olympic athletes, they’d be neck-and-neck with the Labrador retriever for a place on the swimming team. These popular family dogs never met a pool they didn’t love. Their webbed feet and water-repellent coat help them conquer even the coldest of waters, so they’d excel at the open-water competitions too.
The furriest member of the Final Five
There’s one dog that tops the podium at most agility competitions: the border collie. These uber-smart herding dogs have the intelligence, form, and leap ability to learn even the trickiest doggy gymnastics skills. Balance beam? No problem. They’re also bred to stay alert and keep their eye on their goal—that is, the sheep—so you know they’d stick the landing.
Who else could beat Usain Bolt?
If dogs were Olympians, there’s no competition for the track and field spot. That goes to the sleek, speedy greyhound. With long legs, keen sight, and a slim build, these racing dogs can reach up to a whopping 43 mph. (Compare that to Usain Bolt himself, who tops out at about 27 mph.) Greyhounds are also known as gentle, friendly pets—and many former racing stars are in need of adoption. Consider it!
Just try that penalty kick
Loyal, vigilant, and athletic, the beloved German shepherd has all the qualities you want in a goalkeeper. Their muscular, deep-chested build gives them strength, while they’re also known for being nimble and surprisingly fast. Great guard dogs and devoted family pets, there’s no way they’d let the other team score. They make our Olympic soccer team, for sure.
Gentle giants for the win
Don’t let their sweet, shaggy looks fool you: the St. Bernard is super-strong. These beloved dogs were bred to work and to rescue travelers in the Alps, and their powerful, muscular physique shows it. Modern-day St. Bernards are competitive in cart pulling and weight pulling, so they’d be a natural fit for some world-class Olympic weightlifting.
Synchronized swimming—one of the quirkiest, most mesmerizing sports at the Olympics. And who better to take it on than the elegant poodle? Poodles are among the smartest of dogs, and they know it. Proud, refined, and very trainable, a sleek group of standard poodles could win gold here. Just picture it. You know you can.
Illustrations credit: Andrea Jones