The Different Types of Dog Breeds

The Different Types of Dog Breeds

Exploring the Various Dog Breeds Part 1: What are the Different Types of Dog Breeds?

    Many people have questions about the different dog breeds. Perhaps you’re interested in understanding more about the various types of breeds so that you can find the right one for you. If you’re a little overwhelmed by all the ones to pick from, we understand—it can be hard to know which one is best suited for your lifestyle. That’s why we have put together this guide to help you as you research for your perfect breed.

     This guide will be broken up into two parts—this is the first part, and the second part will be in next week’s post. For this week, we will explore different dog breeds and provide an overview of the various dog categories.

Next week’s post will be more focused on helping you narrow down what type of dog is perfect for you. We will further discuss the personality, trainability, and maintenance of certain breeds to help you find the ideal pup for both you and your family.

For now, let’s dive into the breeding categories to help gain a better idea of each breeds’ function and their characteristics.

Why Researching Dog Breeds Is So Necessary

Before you think about getting a dog, it’s important that you do abundant research to understand a specific breed. Every type of dog is a little different, and there can be certain qualities that you’re looking for in a dog that is specific to a particular breed.

Many people make the mistake of choosing a dog breed they know nothing about. This is not always a bad thing necessarily; however, you can get into a heap of trouble if you’re not properly prepared to take care of a particular breed. They come with varying needs such as training, exercise, mental stimulation, feeding, grooming, and bonding; therefore, it’s important to make sure that whichever breed you choose, you can provide the best overall care.

When you choose the right breed, you will have a faithful friend that enhances your life, so be sure to research thoroughly before you decide!

The Types of Breeds

    Did you know that there are over 360 recognized dog breeds in the world? The American Kennel Club currently only registers 197 dog breeds, but there are always others working to be registered. Each breed is categorized into 7 major dog groups which include: Working, Herding, Toy, Hound, Sporting, Non-Sporting, and Terrier.

     These categories represent the characteristics, personality traits, and roles that each dog was bred for. Depending on what you’re looking for in a dog, it can be determined by these categories. No two breeds are quite alike—every breed has their own set of unique traits, but these categories do help us organize the breeds based on overall characteristics.  

Curious about which category might have the right dog breed for you? Let’s check them out!


  1. Working Group

Working dogs are built just for that—working. They love it! These dogs are the happiest when they have a job to do. You’ll often see these dogs used in police or military work, but they also make wonderful family pets as well. Most dogs are good watch dogs, but if you want a dog that was literally bred for it, this is your group.

This group is considered the blue-collar workers of the canine world, and understandably so. Working dogs were historically used as sledding dogs, guard dogs, and active members of the military.

This group includes some of the most loyal and devoted breeds such as the Boxer, Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, Bernese Mountain Dog, and St. Bernard.  

These dogs are highly intelligent, powerful, and protective. They will need proper training to ensure that their energy is put to good use, and they will need daily exercise both physically as well as mentally. Working dogs are some of the most dependable breeds, and generally, they are quite large.

  1. Herding Group

The Herding Group is a spinoff from the Working Group. They are similar to Working dogs with a few minor differences. The Herding Group has 30 breeds, all of which vary in size. Herding dogs were bred to herd livestock; therefore, they are comparable to the Working Group because the busier they are, the happier they are.

Herding dogs are known for their intelligence and loyalty. These dogs are highly sensitive to their owners’ behavior, nearly more than any other breeds. This is thought to be characteristic of the herding group due to these dogs working so closely with livestock shepherds throughout history. Herding dogs had to have a keen sense of awareness and, to some extent, read their owners’ minds to properly shepherd livestock without scaring them away.

This unique trait makes Herding dogs so desirable. They are some of the most intelligent breeds, and they love to please their owners. They are considered highly trainable dogs, so it’s common to see them in agility competitions, working as service dogs, and in police or military roles.

Because these dogs are so ready to perform a task, they will require training. They are also known to have the highest energy levels of any other dog breeds, so they will need extensive exercise both physically and mentally. These breeds also form close attachments to their family, and for this reason, they are extremely devoted and will want to be a part of all family activities.

These dogs are affectionate and responsive, making them some of the most beloved and popular breeds around. The herding group includes breeds such as the German Shepherd, Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, and Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

  1. Toy

These little bunches of joy were bred for one thing: to be cute. The Toy breeds are your small dog companions. They were originally bred larger than they are now, but today, they are the perfect lapdogs for cuddling and snuggling up to their owners.

Toy breeds are great for apartment living or for a family that doesn’t have much space. They are generally happy being right next to their owners and don’t require much exercise. It’s always a good idea to exercise your dog, but these breeds are not as demanding when it comes to physical or mental stimulation like the Working or Herding breeds are.

These tiny breeds usually have big personalities, as most dogs do, but you might be surprised how much affection and energy can be found in something so small. Most of them are sociable and intelligent, so they enjoy training and spending time with their families. These breeds are not typically considered watch dogs, but many of them have protective instincts, nonetheless.

Some of the breeds in this group include the Maltese, Chihuahua, Havanese, Shih Zu, and the Yorkshire Terrier.    

  1. Hound

The Hound Group used to be a part of the Sporting Group, but they are now their own category. Hounds were originally bred for hunting; therefore, much like Working and Herding dogs, Hounds typically want a job to do. There are various types of Hounds and they were all bred to hunt in specific ways.

For example, scent hounds have an acute sense of smell to help them hunt down game. These dogs are tough, and they can track down nearly anything, from animals to humans. Sight hounds have wide vision, they’re light on their feet, and they have sleek legs that help them chase game down quickly.

These dogs are highly intelligent, but they must be trained to harness this intelligence. Hounds are loyal companions and come in a vast array of breeds.

Some of the most notable of the Hound breeds include: The Beagle, Greyhound, Dachshund, Bluetick Hound, and American Fox Hound. 

  1. Sporting

Much like the Hound Group, the Sporting Group was originally bred to help hunters with their game. Their main job was to retrieve game that a hunter had shot, hence the name of the Golden Retriever, one of the group’s most popular breeds.

There are four types of Sporting breeds, all of which were typically used to retrieve certain kinds of game. These types of dogs include spaniels, retrievers, pointers, and setters.

These breeds are very active, and they are some of the friendliest of all dog breeds. It’s no surprise that with their loving demeanor and temperament, some of these breeds rank the highest in popularity. The Labrador Retriever has ranked the number 1 breed for 30 years according to The American Kennel Club, with the Golden Retriever ranking number 4.

Due to their sweet personalities, these breeds are ideal family dogs, especially for families with kids. They enjoy training and being outdoors, and they require lots of exercise as well as time spent with their owners.

The Sporting Group is full of highly intelligent breeds that are ideal for both sport and companionship. Some breeds in this group include the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, and Irish Setter. 

  1. Non-Sporting

The Non-Sporting Group is kind of like the odd balls out. Of course, they are just as important, and the group is full of wonderful breeds. They are breeds that don’t quite fit in with the other groups we’ve mentioned. Originally, there were only Sporting or Non-Sporting, but eventually, some breeds split off into their current categories.

The Non-Sporting Group is very diverse, varying in size, personality, and function. This group is difficult to pinpoint any all-encompassing traits like the other groups because of how different the breeds are.

Some breeds in this group include: the French Bulldog, Poodle, English Bulldog, Dalmatian, Chow Chow, Tibetan Spaniel, and Bichon Frise. Many of these breeds are some of the most lovable and desired breeds, ranging in several individual traits and appearances.

  1. Terrier Group

Last but certainly not least—the Terriers. These dogs are little bunches of fun, and there are several types. Terriers were bred primarily for killing small vermin and animals as well as helping protect their home and property. While most of these dogs are relatively small, they are a combination of feisty and sweet. They are ready to defend their territory and sit on your lap, too.

There are short-legged terriers and long-legged terriers, but regardless of their stature, they are prepared to hunt game and conquer difficult terrain. These pups are extremely determined and energetic.

Terriers want to please their owners, but they can also be very stubborn. With the right amount of training, these dogs make loyal companions and ideal family dogs.

Breeds in this group include dogs such as the Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Silky Terrier, and the Jack Russell Terrier.

Finding the Right Breed for You

      It can be difficult finding the best dog breed for you and your family, but we firmly believe that if you love dogs, there’s a perfect breed for you. We hope that this list of categories gives you a better understanding of the various breeds so that you can choose a breed that has the characteristics you’re looking for in a dog.

      For next week’s post, be on the lookout for a more in-depth look into some of the most popular dog breeds to see if those, or breeds like them, would be right for you!  


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  • Kirsten Starling