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Learning about Dog Breed Groups

by Coach Lilly

If you have a dog or have ever considered owning a dog, you have probably faced the question of what breed of dog you will get. Dogs have been bred for diverse circumstances for thousands of years. Here’s a brief overview of some of the different groups of breeds and some of the top breeds in each group.


Dog Breed Groups

The American Kennel Club organizes groups of dog breeds by the work traditionally done by the breed when it was developed, even though dogs from all the groups are now sometimes kept as pets.


  1. The Sporting Group includes dogs like retrievers, setters and spaniels. These dogs helped hunters retrieve birds on hunting excursions. These dogs do best when they can get lots of exercise and activity.


  1. Hounds also helped with hunting, but instead of birds, they pursued other warm-blooded animals like rabbits. Hounds are famous for their powerful sense of smell.


  1. Terriers helped with hunting as well, but their specialty was in digging and pursuing animals underground.


  1. The Working Group includes breeds as varied as Rottweilers, Saint Bernard dogs, Siberian Huskies, and Great Danes. What they have in common is their hard work, assisting in guarding, rescuing, pulling sleds or carts, and more.


  1. The Herding Group is also full of hard workers. Sheepdogs and Collies helped ranchers and shepherds herd cows or sheep. These dogs are very intelligent and usually respond well to training.


  1. The Toy Group, including tiny dogs like Chihuahuas, Pugs, and Toy Poodles, were bred especially to be sociable and affectionate companions to their human masters. They still make great pets!


  1. The Non-Sporting Group is a varied group including dogs that don’t easily fit into any of the other six categories. However, this group contains popular breeds like Bichon Frise, Dalmatian, and Chow Chow dogs.


Caring for Different Breeds

Whatever breed of dog you have or are thinking of getting one day, remember that the care that your dog will need will depend in some important ways on your dog’s breed. Toy breeds are born to be pets and be friendly and charming with people and other animals, while a dog that was bred to be a hunter might take more training before he will make a good pet. It’s a good idea to do your research to learn the unique personality traits of the breeds that you are considering.


Also, the average size of the breed you choose will also affect not only the cost of the dog and its food, supplies, and accessories but also the home that you provide for it. Smaller dogs can be content in a small space like an apartment, but a large dog will need more space to roam, like a yard or other outdoor area.


Learning more about the different dog breeds, including dog breed groups, will help you get off on the right foot with your pet.


What’s your favorite dog breed? Tell us about it in the comments below!


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