The 7 Dog Breed Groups, Explained (So You Can Know Your Puppy’s Secret Powers)

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The World Canine Federation recognizes 350 unique dog breeds. In the United States, the American Kennel Club now recognizes 209 breeds. That’s…a lot of dogs. To better understand each race, humans have categorized them into groups based on the tasks they were bred (or born) to do. Generally speaking, you can tell a lot about a dog’s personality, activity level, and trainability based on their group. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. In fact, some breeds have been reclassified over the years. Either way, understanding dog breed groups helps us connect better with our canine companions.

What are the dog breed groups?

Dog breed groups are classifications based on dog occupations and personalities. Every breed recognized by kennel clubs around the world has evolved to excel at certain tasks or was bred by humans to do so. The result is hundreds of distinct races that tend to fall into one of seven groups.

Most dogs in each dog breed group will have similar dispositions, physical abilities, and wiring. However, there is certainly variety within each group, as many similar breeds have evolved to perform the same tasks in different climates or with unusual methods. Some breeds, like the Anatolian Shepherd, have moved into different groups over time as they have specialized in one area. Originally, Anatolian Shepherds guarded dogs but were reclassified as working dogs because they were so good at guarding houses.

The next time you watch The national dog show Where westminster, note the canine differences and similarities in each group! Each year at these shows, the judges choose one dog from each group as the best of the group; these seven finalists compete for the Best in Show. That’s why dog ​​shows aren’t just beauty contests! The judges attempt to determine which dog is the most perfect specimen of its breed. They take into account the group and the tasks that these dogs were supposed to do. For example, Newfoundlands are gentle and friendly dogs that perform rescue missions and assist fishing crews on boats. A Newfoundland with an aggressive, hostile personality, or without partially webbed toes will lose a judge’s favor.

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The 7 Major Dog Breed Groups in the United States

The seven major dog groups in the United States are Herding, Hound, Non-Sporting, Sporting, Terrier, Toy, and Working. Initially, when the AKC debuted in 1884, it threw all dog breeds into the sporting or non-sporting group. Over time they have been inundated with so many races that they have developed a better categorization system. In 1924, they added the Working, Terrier and Toy groups. Finally, in 1983, the AKC gave sheepdogs their own designation.

1. Breeding group

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General size: medium to large

Personality traits: Friendly, obedient, intelligent, playful

Activity level: High

Examples: Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, German Shepherd, Puli, Spanish Water Dog, Belgian Malinois

Group dog sitting have only one goal: to keep the cattle in line. These dogs know how to use their natural herding instincts to surround sheep, cows, reindeer, goats and more, without devouring them like wolves would. Due to their demanding tasks, Herding breeds have tons of energy. If you adopt one, make sure you know how to exercise them regularly throughout the day (otherwise they could tear your house apart). These dogs are also incredibly intelligent; they learned to navigate a field with tons of cattle, listen to orders from shepherds, and decide where to go next. This combination of energy and intelligence means they are great at obedience and agility training. They really feel strongly connected to their humans and don’t appreciate time alone. Another fun fact: Many sheepdogs have long, shaggy coats that evolved to protect them from the elements.

2. Group of dogs

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General size: medium to large

Personality traits: Independent, determined, vocal, serious, sensitive

Activity level: Moderate to high

Examples: American Foxhound, Beagle, Whippet, Greyhound, Basset Hound, Saluki, Rhodesian Ridgeback

Unlike sheepdogs, which can hunt without killing, hunting dog breeds were born to hunt. Scent dogs have incredibly powerful noses that can follow anything you ask of them (and probably a lot of things you don’t ask of them). Hunting dogs are known for their speed and ability to spot prey from great distances and bring them down. Unsurprisingly, hound group puppies have very high prey drive and may not do well with other small pets in the household. Since many dogs were bred to track game on their own (or at least until their human caught up to them), they have an independent streak that can make training difficult. Although most dogs are medium to large in size, a few small breeds, such as the badger-hunting dachshund, are considered members of this group.

3. Non-athletic group

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General size: Varied

Personality traits: Loyal, Loving, Charming

Activity level: Varied

Examples: Boston Terrier, Dalmatian, French Bulldog, Shiba Inu, Standard Poodle, Bichon Frize

These dogs are a motley crew of dogs that don’t totally fit into the other six categories. Some breeds have outgrown their original roles (such as Bulldogs who were bred as fighting dogs) while others never had specific duties to begin with (Chow Chows had various roles as hunters, workers and guard dogs over the centuries they have passed). For the most part, non-sporting group dogs are now seen primarily as companion animals. It means a lot of loyalty, affection and obedience. Note: Sometimes loyalty means protection and territoriality!

4. Sports Group

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General Size: medium to large

Personality traits: Familial, obedient, gentle, athletic

Activity level: Moderate to high

Examples: Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Cocker Spaniel, Breton, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, English Springer Spaniel

Ever since humans and dogs joined forces, they have went hunting together. Sporting group dog breeds are known for retrieving, pointing, and settling, as you’ll notice in many of their names. When firearms were invented and hunters began to rely on a good shot to catch game, sporting dogs really took off. Setters and pointers are like hunting dogs in that they sniff out birds and indicate where their human hunter should aim. Scavengers can quickly pick up fallen birds without destroying them. Spaniels know how to scare game out of brush, giving hunters prime targets. Many sporting dogs have water-repellent coats due to their work in lakes and swamps.

5. Terrier Group

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General Size: Small to medium

Personality traits: Stubborn, charming, fiery, intelligent

Activity level: High

Examples: West Highland White Terrier, Russell Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, American Staffordshire Terrier, Cairn Terrier

Terrier group breeds are often referred to as “scrappy” and it’s easy to see why. These goofballs were bred primarily to dig up and scare away rodents like rats and badgers. All but two from the British Isles, which means that their coats have evolved to withstand the windy, cold and wet weather of this region. If you notice a terrier relentlessly chasing something small, it’s his instincts kicking into high gear. Known for being confident despite their small size and determined to make a name for themselves, terriers can be stubborn and difficult to train. Many, like the Bull Terrier, were developed by humans to fight, but have now become beloved pets.

6. Group of toys

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General size: Little

Personality traits: Loyal, affectionate, territorial, alert

Activity level: Low to moderate

Examples: Pomeranian, Chihuahua, Pug, Yorkshire Terrier, Papillon, Pekingese

The only thing everything toy breeds have in common their small size. They are companion dogs, folks. Many think of themselves as big dogs that guard their homes with royal confidence, but they’re actually tiny. Some were born that way while others were bred over time to be pets. In fact, many small breeds were status symbols for royalty throughout history. Miniature dog breeds appreciate attention, give affection freely (to their favorite human being) and are ideal for people in apartments. They also live longer on average than large breeds. Although little puppies are often referred to as barkers, it’s a trait like any other (we’d say dogs are more vocal than toys!) that can be curbed with proper training. Finally, if you have children and are looking for a miniature breed, make sure it is a known breed. to be suitable for children.

7. Working group

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General size: Big

Personality traits: Loyal, independent, protective, willful, gentle

Activity level: Moderate to high

Examples: Bernese Mountain Dog, Akita, Boerboel, Giant Schnauzer, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Mastiff

Say hello to some dogs who love long working days. Working group breeds have always existed – some for millennia – as a right arm for humans in need. They are known for hauling loads around farms, pulling sleds in the dead of winter, guarding homes for their lives, and much more. Naturally, they are tall, muscular and fearsome. With their families, however, working dogs are absolute sweethearts. They are loyal to an insane degree and will protect you at all times. That is why they need a firm and clear formation very early on. Since working breeds are also highly intelligent and independent, they need parameters in which to operate. Many work alongside soldiers, security guards, farmers and people with disabilities. Honestly, what can’t dogs do?

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