The American Kennel Club recognizes more than 150 different dog breeds. These breeds are all classified into one of seven different groups based on the job they were originally bred to perform. This doesn’t mean they can’t perform other jobs; this was just the original reason for breeding that particular dog. This is very important to considering when bringing a dog home.
Herding Group: Dogs in the herding group were originally bred to herd livestock. From tall to small, these dogs’ primary job is to keep herd of sheep, cattle, etc together. Owners of these breeds may notice that their dog attempts to heard children and small pets, often by nipping at their heels. These dogs need daily exercise and room to run.
Breeds included in the herding group are (not a complete list):
- German Shepherd Dog - Bearded Collie -
- Shetland Sheepdog (Shelti) - Belgian Malinois - Australian Cattle Dog
- Australian Shepherd - Belgian Tervuran - Border Collie
- Collie (Smooth & Rough) - Briard - Old English Sheepdog
- Dog Welsh Corgi (Pembroke & Cardigan)
Working Group: Working group dogs perform a variety of jobs. They may be rescue dogs (on land or in the water), they can pull sleds and wagons, or even work as guard dogs for families & livestock. These breeds have size on their side when it comes to performing their jobs. Many will be naturally protective of their ‘humans.’
Working group breeds include (not a complete list):
- Alaskan Malamute - Bernese Mountain Dog - Greater
- Siberian Husky - Cane Corso - Dogue de Bordeaux
- Saint Bernard - Neopolitan Mastiff - Schnauzer (Giant & Standard)
- Great Pyrenees -
- Doberman Pinscher - Rottweiler - Great Dane
- Bullmastiff -
Hound Group: Hounds were bred for tracking. Hounds are divided by how they track, either by scent or by sight. Scent hounds are typically shorter and you’ll always find them with their noses to the ground. Sight hounds are usually taller so they can better see to find their prey.
Scent hounds include (not a complete list):
- Beagle - Basset Hound - American Foxhound
- English Foxhound - Bloodhound - Otterhound
- Harrier - Black & Tan Coonhound - Bluetick Coonhound
- Petit Basset Griffon Vandeen - Dachshund (Smooth, Long Hair, & Wire Hair)
Sight hounds include (not a complete list):
- Whippet - Scottish Deerhound - Afghan Hound
- Irish Wolfhound - Borzoi - Greyhound
- Norweigian Elkhound - Ibizan Hound - Rhodesian Ridgeback
Sporting Group: Sporting group dogs were bred to hunt and retrieve game, on land and in the water. These dogs require lots of exercise. Field trials are common places to find sporting dogs showing off their skills.
Breeds in the Sporting group include (not a complete list):
- Golden Retriever - Irish Setter - Labrador Retriever
- Brittany Spaniel - Gordon Setter - German Shorthaired Pointer
- Spinone Italiano - Irish Water Spaniel - Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Flat-Coated Retriever - English Setter - Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
- Pointer - Viszla - Cocker Spaniel
Toy Group: Breeds in the toy group were bred primarily as companion dogs. Their small size often makes them perfect apartment dogs. Don’t undermine their ability to find trouble, however! These dogs still need exercise, and often require frequent grooming.
Toy breeds include (not a complete list):
- Yorkshire Terrier - Italian Greyhound - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Miniature Pinscher -
- Maltese - Papillon - Pug
- Silky Terrier - Shih tzu - Pekingese
- Pomeranian - Toy Poodle
Terrier Group: Terriers are known trouble-makers. They were bred to ‘go to ground’ and flush out vermin. Without exercise and supervision, trouble will find a terrier.
Breeds in the Terrier Group include (not a complete list):
- Cairn Terrier - Airedale Terrier - American Staffordshire Terrier
- Parson Russell Terrier - Scottish Terrier - Miniature Schnauzer
- Norwich Terrier - Fox Terrier (Smooth & Wire) - Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier (Westie) - Bull Terrier (White & Colored)
Non-Sporting Group: This is a very diverse group of breeds. You‘ll find every size, color, job and personality within this group. Breeds are put into the Non-Sporting group when they don’t quite fit into any of the other groups for whatever reason.
Non-Sporting Group breeds include (not a complete list):
- Bulldog - Bichon Frise - Dalmatian
- Keeshond - Lhasa Apso - Chow Chow
- Boston Terrier - Shiba Inu - Schipperke
- American Eskimo Dog - Poodle (Standard & Miniature) - Chiese Shar-Pei