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The 7 Types of Dog Breeds

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The roles and traits of the AKC’s dog breed categories are different.

Even though every dog is different and has its own personality, looks, and likes, the American Kennel Club puts them all in a group based on their breed (AKC). These differences are clearest when talking about purebred dogs, but mixed-breed dogs whose ancestry is limited to just two or three breeds may also look and act like they belong to one group.

The seven types of dog breeds, or breed groups, are based on the “jobs” that the dogs were originally used for, such as herding, sporting, hounds (bred to hunt), or toy dogs, which are small breeds often called “lap dogs.”

In many official AKC dog shows, like the National Championship, dogs compete first within their own breed for best of breed and then within their breed group for best of group. For example, Best Hound, Best Terrier, Best Working Dog, etc. The seven dogs that won best of their groups then compete against each other for the coveted title of Best in Show.

With more than 190 dog breeds and varieties registered with the American Kennel Club, the different breed groups have grown to include a wide range of dogs. Still, all breeds in a group are related by the “purpose” for which they were created, even if they look very different.

Here are the seven types of dog breeds, their histories, and what pet owners can expect when they bring one of these four-legged friends home. Even though your dog is an individual, you can get an idea of what its personality and looks will be like when it grows up by looking at the traits of its breed and breed group.

Just a quick word on training. Even though each breed of dog has its own habits, they all need positive training to reach their full potential and live happily in any home.

Sporting Group

The dogs in the Sporting Group were bred to be the best hunting companions. Their job is to help find, flush, catch, or bring back birds like pheasants or ducks. People who hunt use these dogs to help them find upland game birds or waterfowl.

There are four main types of sporting dogs: spaniels, pointers, retrievers, and setters. Some of the breeds in this group, like retrievers, are very good at swimming and hunt waterfowl like ducks. On the other hand, setters, spaniels, and pointing breeds are known to be experts at hunting quail, pheasant, and other game birds in the grasslands.

Even though these breeds are known for helping hunters in different ways, each has its own specialty. Pointers and setters usually find and mark game by “pointing,” which means holding their bodies still, raising one front paw, and pointing their noses in the direction of the bird they are hunting. Most spaniel breeds are used to flush game, which means to find birds and scare them into flying, so the hunter can take aim and shoot. Retrievers are dogs that are used to find dead or hurt game, especially in water.

All of the dogs in the Sporting Group are naturally active and alert. They also have stable personalities and strong hunting instincts, both on land and in the water. Sporting dogs make great pets because they are friendly and well-rounded, and they are a great addition to active families because they need a lot of exercise and time outside.

German shorthaired pointers, and Irish setters are some of the most popular sporting dog breeds, but there are many others.

some of these dog breeds:

Hound Group

Originally, hounds were also part of the Sporting Group. But in 1930, the American Kennel Club created the Hound Group to include dogs that were bred to hunt warm-blooded animals like rabbits, raccoons, or even antelope. This is different from sporting breeds, which are usually used to hunt birds.

Even though all hounds are smart hunters, there are many different breeds in this group. Some hounds use their sense of smell to find game, while others use their eyesight and speed. Scent hounds like bloodhounds, beagles, and Basset hounds are sometimes used for service, like finding escaped prisoners or helping with search-and-rescue missions. Greyhounds, whippets, Afghan hounds, and the Irish wolfhound are all types of sight hounds. They are known for their speed, which makes them popular as racing dogs and hunting dogs.

It’s hard to make generalisations about such a diverse group of dogs, but in general, the friendly, loving dogs in this group will make good family pets and loyal companions, and some will need more vigorous exercise than others. “Members of the Hound Group have strong prey drives and will often do anything to catch their prey,” says the American Kennel Club. They can be stubborn, though, and if they aren’t kept in their yard, they may leave home to follow a scent and get lost.

some popular breeds of hound dogs:

Toy Group

Even though the dogs in the Toy Group might look like cute toys, they are just as much dogs as their bigger cousins in the other breed groups. Chihuahuas, pugs, Maltese, Pomeranians, miniature pinschers, and Yorkshire terriers are some of the most well-known dogs in this large group.

The toy breeds have been around for hundreds of years. They were made to be companions for their families. Most of the time, these small, easy-to-carry dogs sit on their owners’ laps or are carried around in their arms, a purse, or a bag. Even though these dogs don’t need a lot of space, they still have big personalities.

The breeds in the Toy group are usually friendly and quick to adjust to their family’s home. They are smart, friendly, and have a lot of energy. Even though they are small, many of them have strong instincts to protect and big personalities. Some, on the other hand, can be high-strung or hard to housebreak.

some of the small dog breeds:

Non-Sporting Group

The Non-Sporting Group is for dogs that don’t fit into any of the other six groups. It includes a wide range of breeds with jobs that don’t meet the requirements for the other six groups. The AKC used to register dogs as either “Sporting” or “Non-Sporting.” Over time, hounds and terriers were separated from the “Sporting” group, while “Non-Sporting” gave rise to “Toy” and “Working” dog groups. In the end, there was a separate category for Herding dogs that was different from Working dogs.

All of the dogs that are still around are in the Non-Sporting Group. These dogs are different in size, purpose, and history. Most of these dogs are good house pets and watchdogs, but their breeds are so different, from the French bulldog to the poodle, that it’s hard to say what their individual traits are. Dalmatians, Bichon Frises, and Boston terriers are some of the other well-known breeds in this group.

some of the breeds that make up the non-sporting group:

Working group

The dogs in the Working Group are different from the dogs in the Non-Sporting Group because they have jobs like guarding property or saving people. Arguably the hardiest breeds in the canine community, dogs that are categorised into the Working Group have historically been responsible for tasks ranging from pulling sleds and carts to guarding flocks and homes.

While the appearances and jobs of the dogs in this group vary, most are powerful and intelligent, and can be relied on to perform rescues and any other tasks to protect their families. Farm and draught animals, security, police, and military dogs, and guide and service dogs are all types of dogs that belong to this group. As such, they make dependable, loyal pets with incredible intelligence and energy. But because they are big, strong, and protective, it is very important to socialise and train these breeds of dogs the right way.

some of the working group breeds:

Herding Group

The Herding Group is made up of the breeds that may have the easiest job. It was made by the AKC in 1983. Once part of the Working Group, the Herding Group now has 30 breeds, from the corgi to the German shepherd, with a wide range of sizes. Other popular dogs for herding are the Australian shepherd, the border collie, the Old English sheepdog, and the colly.

Herding dogs have been used for a long time to gather sheep, cattle, and goats and to protect them. These shepherds with four legs work closely with their owners and often use hand signals as well as spoken commands to do their jobs. Many breeds of herding dogs are used as service dogs, police dogs, or in the military today.

These dogs are easy to train because they are smart and naturally responsive. Also, they tend to be loving and faithful companions. Most of these breeds are happiest in homes where they get a lot of exercise, have a routine, and know what is expected of them. They are usually very smart, so they often get bored and need mental as well as physical stimulation. Due to their natural tendency to herd, these dogs may try to herd small children, other pets, or even adult members of their families.

some of the Herding Group members:

Terrier Group

Most dogs in the Terrier Group came from the British Isles. Their jobs changed over time based on where they lived, such as killing rodents and keeping watch over their family’s home or barn. Most of these dogs were raised to do things like hunt small animals like rats, otters, and badgers. Miniature schnauzers, Scottish terriers, Airedales, Jack Russells, and Westies, or West Highland White terriers, are some of the most popular types of terriers.

There are a few different kinds of terriers. Short-legged terriers, like cairn terriers, were made to chase rodents underground, while long-legged terriers, like fox terriers, can dig these animals out instead of following them underground. “Bull” breeds, like bull terriers, were once used to bait bulls and fight dogs, but they are now some of the most popular pets.

All of these dogs are brave and sure of themselves, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to find their prey, no matter where it is. Terrier dogs tend to be active and strong-willed. Even though they make great pets, they usually have strong personalities, and some breeds may need special care when they are groomed. They may also bark a lot and get into trouble if they are left alone with nothing to do.

some popular terrier breeds:


What kinds of dogs shouldn’t have their fur cut?

Huskies, terriers, German shepherds, and other dog breeds with a double coat should never be shaved.

What kinds of dogs have tails that curl?

So many! Basenjis, Akitas, Shiba Inus, Chow Chows, Norwegian Buhunds, Samoyeds, Finnish Spitzs, and Pomeranians are all on the list.

What kind of dog howls?

Some dog breeds, like hounds, Alaskan Malamutes, beagles, basset hounds, bloodhounds, American Eskimo dogs, and huskies, howl.