It always amazes me that the judges of dog shows, such as the upcoming Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, compare different breeds of dog to each other and somehow come out with a “best of”. How they can compare a Dachshund to an Afghan Hound (both in the Hound group) and decide which best represents the Hound class is a mystery to me. The experienced judges are able to do it though, through their years of training and expertise. It’s a fascinating process.
Even though the dogs in the groups may look very different, they do have similarities in personality and function. If you are thinking about bringing a dog into your home as a pet, it is helpful to know what kind to traits they might have. For example, a hunting dog is a lively, energetic dog and needs to be able to exercise. A sporting and hunting dog does best in an environment where they have room to run, such as on a farm. A toy dog, on the other hand, is bred specifically as a pet and is great for an apartment and as a lap pet and companion.
When watching a dog show, such as the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Show, or another dog show, here is a guide to the groups of breeds:
Sporting dogs are gun dogs originally developed to go hunting with the hunter and assist. Sporting dogs have high energy and stable temperaments. Pointers and Setters point and mark game. Spaniels flush birds. Retrievers recover the game from water and land. Because Sporting Dogs are naturally active and alert, potential owners need to realize that they require regular, invigorating exercise. Sporting dogs make likable companions and great famiy pets.
Sporting Dogs include: Brittany, Pointer, German Short haired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, Flat Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, English Setter, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, American Water Spaniel, Climber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Black Cocker Spaniel, Parti Color Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer spaniel, Field Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, Sussex Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Spinone Italiano, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Wire haired Pointing Griffon.
Until 1930 Hounds were classed as Sporting dogs. In 1930 they were assigned their own group. Hounds are hunter sthat bring down the game themselves, hold it at bay for the hunter, or locate the game by scent. Most Hounds share a common ancestral of being used for hunting. Hounds are a diverse group, and other then a keen sense of smell, it is difficult to generalize from breed to breed.
Hound dogs include: Afghan Hound, Basenji, Basset Hound, Beagle (13″) Beagle (15″), Black and Tan Coonhound, Bloodhound, Borzoi, Longhaired Dachshund, Smooth Dachshund, Wirehaired Dachshund, American Foxhound, English Foxhound, Greyhound, Harrier, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Norwegian Elkhound, Otter hound, Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeen, Pharoah Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound and Whippet.
Working dogs are intelligent, powerfully built dogs that perform a variety of tasks. Working dogs include guarding homes and livestock, serving as guard dogs, draft animals, and as police, military and service dogs. Through the ages, the Working breeds of dog have been an invaluable asset to man. These intelligent, capable animals make reliable companions. However, because of their large size, many Working dogs are not practical for the average family.
Working dogs include: Akita, Alaska Malamute, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Black Russian Terrier, Boxer, Bull mastiff, Doberman Pinscher, German Pinscher, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Komondor, Kuvasz, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland, Portuguese Water Dog, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, St. Bernard, and Standard Schnauzer.
Terriers are small, agile dogs that are determined and courageous. Terrier must be small and agile enough to “go to ground” to pursue quarry. Terriers are a hardy, lively dog with a spirited attitude. Terriers make engaging pets for owners who can match their lively characters.
Terriers include: Airedale Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Border Terrier Colored Bull Terrier, White Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Glen of Imall Terrier, Irish Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Standard Manchester Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Norfolk Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, Skye Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Welsh Terrier, West Highland and White Terrier.
Toy dogs were bred as companions to people. Toys are fun, full of life and spirited. Toy dogs make ideal apartment dogs and warming lap pets.
Toy breeds include: Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Long Coat Chihuahua, Smooth Coat Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, English Toy Spaniel, havanese, Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Manchester Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Papillon, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Toy Poodle, Pug, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier, and Yorkshire Terrier.
The Non-Sporting dogs are split off from the other groups and have a diversity of traits.
Non-Sporting dogs include: American Eskimo, Bishon Frise, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Dalmatian, Finnish Spitz, French Bulldog, Keeshond, Lhasa Apso, Lowchen, Miniature Poodle, Standard Poodle, Schipperke, Shiba Inu, Tibetan Spaniel, and Tibetan Terrier.
Herding dogs were split off from the Working Group in 1983. Herding is instinctive in herding dogs, who serve ranchers and farmers by moving livestock. Herding dogs may instinctively herd their owners and children gently. Herding dogs are intelligent and make wonderful pets.
Herding breeds include: Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd Bearded Collie, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Terveren, Border Collie, Bouviers des Flandres, Briard, Canaan Dog, Rough Collie, Smooth Collie, German Shepherd Dog, Old English Sheepdog, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Puli, Shetland Sheepdog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
When you watch a dog show, it gives you a chance to think about what kind of pet would best fit into your lifestyle and make a happy, healthy companion.