With eight types of dog breeds organised into groups, and over 300 recognised breeds in the official breed classifications of the American Kennel Club, this guide will help you narrow down the choice you face in choosing the right dog breed for you. Most breed types have broad character traits, so by highlighting which of these traits most closely resembles your own lifestyle requirements we hope to make the task a bit easier for you.
There are a number of kennel clubs and official breed groups around the world and we have used throughout this site the standardisation of the The American Kennel Club (AKC), but you may find that breed classifications of various dog types vary from country to country.
The other primary English speaking organisations are:
The Kennel Club (UK)
The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC),
The New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC),
The United Kennel Club (UKC).
There is also Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) which is a world organisation with 84 member countries.
Official Dog Breed Groups-
Breeds in the Terrier group are typically brave, tough and tenacious. Smaller terriers were trained to corner and kill mammals deemed as vermin, both above and below ground. Hunting alone, terriers tend to be intelligent and feisty. The bull type terriers are the largest terriers and were bred for fighting other dogs or baiting large animals such as bulls or bears, they tend to be tough and confident -
Terriers are no nonsense rough and ready dogs, usually great fun to be around especially with older kids, but can be stubborn and aggressive towards other dogs or pets so proper training and socialization is a must, they may be quicker to snap than other breed types.
Dog Breeds in the Non-
Some of the dog breeds listed in this group are the oldest documented in the world. Standard Poodles, Bulldogs and Dalmatians belong in this group
Breeds in the Hound group are bred to pursue mammals, either using scent to follow a trail such as the Basset Hound, or using sight to chase down fleeing prey in the case of the Greyhound. Some will breeds do both.
Their hunting style means they work alone or in packs which can reflect on how companionable they are. Hounds are generally intelligent and gentle, some are very gregarious and soak up attention, while others can seem more aloof. Hounds can be quite independent minded, difficult to train and with high prey drives or wanderlust, but on the whole make loving and companionable pets.
Breeds in the Sporting Group are specialized to hunt with a human partner, extending the hunter’s capabilities by locating, flushing or retrieving game. Pointers, Retrievers and Spaniels all belong to this group.
These tend to be active outgoing breeds and very biddable, their specialised ability to hunt closely with people means they are some of the most sociable and gentle breeds around, always being eager to please and often make great family dogs. The fact that Sporting breeds are number 1 and number 3 of the most popular dog breeds must mean something.
Breeds of the Herding Group were developed to control and move flocks of animals such as cattle or sheep. Different breeds adopt different styles to achieve the same end. Some crouch low and intimidate, like the Welsh Corgi, others such as the Border Collie gather or circle their flock while breeds like the australian Cattle Dog tend to drive the herd.
These are generally intelligent, very energetic and biddable dogs. Herding breeds make great companions for active, outdoors orientated owners and are not ones to be shut up indoors all day.
The Working Group comprises primarily of guardian and draft breeds. Traditionally selected for their bravery and muscle, guardian breeds have been bred to protect people, livestock, or property whilst draft breeds are those that have been bred to do physical work like pulling sledges, carts and assist in other heavy tasks.
Many working breeds perform both guardian and draft functions, they are generally self assured, confident intelligent and loyal. The largest dogs come from this group and many will require confident handling and experience to get the best out of them.
Breeds of the Toy Group are often miniaturized versions of their larger cousins. Because their bigger ancestors can come from any of the other breed groupings, dogs of the Toy group tend to be a pot-
Toy breeds often do well when space and exercise is limited, but are not to be recommended for those with very small or overly boisterous children.
Miscellaneous Group breeds that haven’t been allocated to a group as yet. These are often new breeds which stay in this group for up to 5 years before joining another one as a recognized member, they can of course have all manner of traits and characteristics so it’s well worth taking a peek as you never know what you may find.