akc dog breeds

Herding Group

To see a Herding dog in action is to see something quite amazing. Whether by staring, nipping, stalking, circling, or barking, Herding breeds have an incredible ability to control the movement of other animals. The work requires great endurance, with constant running and patrolling to keep herds or flocks together. These breeds are highly intelligent and able to work with a shepherd or rancher to follow commands, but they are also perfectly capable of thinking on their own when necessary. Created in 1983, the Herding Group is the newest AKC classification, made up of breeds that were formerly members of the Working Group. Although the group is diverse, the breeds are known for their stamina and obedience, and are able to follow the signals of their master and execute them with great skill.

The job of herder should not be taken lightly; some farmers use one dog to herd more than a thousand animals at a time! Consider the diminutive Cardigan Welsh Corgi: At about a foot tall, this remarkable dog can drive an entire herd of cows to their destination. Never losing sight of the job at hand, a Corgi runs circles around a herd, moving cows together and collecting strays that may escape from the group. The Shetland Sheepdog, only slightly larger than the Corgi, was bred down to its current small size to better control the smaller livestock common to the rugged Shetland Islands of the British Isles. The dogs were hardy enough to endure the harsh climate and smart enough to even be left in charge of the animals when the farmers weren’t around. Today most Herding dogs live as household pets, with little or no contact with farm animals. With or without livestock, these dogs are still instinctual herders and will herd whoever and whatever they can, including other dogs and children. Herding breeds need socialization and close contact with humans, and they should have access to both home and yard. Members of the Herding Group are described as follows:

- Loyal
- Energetic
- Smart
- Territorial
- Inclined to chase

    Herding dogs are happiest when they have a job to do. People who live with herders find that exercise, training, and activities such as agility, and obedience activities and training provide an outlet for all the energy they possess. Because they are alert and protective, Herding breeds are capable watchdogs in the home. Some, such as the German Shepherd and Malinois, are excellent police and military dogs and are used in search-and-rescue efforts.

    Australian Cattle Dog
    Australian Shepherd
    Bearded Collie
    Belgian Malinois
    Belgian Sheepdog
    Belgian Tervuren
    Border Collie
    Bouvier des Flandres
    Canaan Dog
    Cardigan Welsh Corgi
    Collie (rough and smooth)
    German Shepherd Dog
    Norwegian Buhund
    Old English Sheepdog
    Pembroke Welsh Corgi
    Polish Lowland Sheepdog
    Pyrenean Shepherd
    Shetland Sheepdog
    Swedish Vallhund

    Hound Group

    Hound temperaments vary as widely as looks. Although all are wired to hunt, most are happy to hit the couch or curl up at your feet at the end of the day. The desert Hounds such as the Saluki and Pharaoh tend to be aloof and less demonstrative. Feisty dogs in small packages, the Dachshund and Basenjis, are confident, bold, and often described as Terrier-like. Friendly are the Beagles, and Coonhounds are known for their sweet and mellow natures. Hunters are an obvious choice for Hound ownership, but plenty of athletic people — runners, hikers, and other sporty types — can give a Hound the outlet he needs for sniffing and chasing. This chase instinct is strong, so all Hounds need leashed outings and secure fencing. Some Hounds, Foxhounds and Beagles among them, produce a unique sound called baying — that chattering howl you may have heard in movies when Hounds are hunting. Be sure you can live with this sound before bringing one of these Hounds into your life.

    The Hound Group is divided into two subgroups:

    Sighthounds: Also called Gazehounds, these Hounds are some of the fastest breeds around, bred to spot and chase prey. The Sighthounds, which tend to be sleeker than their Scenthound cousins, include the Afghan, Basenji, Borzoi, Greyhound, Ibizan, Irish Wolfhound, Pharaoh, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound, and Whippet. Today’s Sighthounds are rarely used for hunting; most, however, excel at lure coursing, running with their human partners, or competing on racetracks. The typical Sighthound is quiet, aloof, and calm.

    Scenthounds: Whether they’re tracking scent in the air or on the ground, Scenthounds are driven by the need to sniff down prey. These dogs typically are solidly built and include the Basset, Beagle, Black and Tan Coonhound, Bloodhound, Dachshund, American and English Foxhounds, Harrier, Norwegian Elkhounds (though of the Spitz family), Otterhound, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, Plott, and Redbone Coonhound. This group tends to be social; dogs often work in packs and live and play together. The group’s sociable nature has helped earn the Scenthounds a reputation for being amiable and adaptable companions. With both talented nose and eyes, the Rhodesian Ridgeback fits into the Sighthound and Scenthound groups.

    Afghan Hound
    American Foxhound
    Basset Hound
    Black and Tan Coonhound
    English Foxhound
    Ibizan Hound
    Irish Wolfhound
    Norwegian Elkhound
    Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
    Pharaoh Hound
    Rhodesian Ridgeback
    Scottish Deerhound

    Mixed Breeds

    What is a mixed breed? A mutt? A devoted companion? A Cockapoo? How about a Chiweenie?
    The answer to all these questions is yes. Although mixed breeds sometimes get an undeserved bad rap from the more snooty purists, these types of pooches have legions of devoted fans and are becoming increasingly popular, no doubt because of the relatively recent trend of so-called “designer dogs,” such as Goldendoodles, Puggles, and Schnoodles.

    Mixed breeds are nothing new. From the dawn of canine history, intact male and female dogs have met and, during the heat of the moment, started something new. The results of these couplings come in a rainbow of colors, weigh from 5 to 95 pounds, and have coats that are wiry or silky, long or short, straight or curly. But what they do have in common is their uniqueness — no two are alike.

    Mixed breeds taken to the next level are called designer dogs, combinations of two purebred dogs. These pups are purposely crossed (no random unions, thank you) to create a specific appearance and temperament. The idea of designer mixes took off in the 1990s, thanks to a crossbred pioneer called the Labradoodle, a mix of Labrador Retriever and Poodle. Once an accessory of celebrities, today’s crossbreeds are often sought after by people with deep pockets who are looking for small, agreeable, or low-allergy versions of purebreds.

    This chapter tells the story of mixed breeds, from Heinz 57 to designer, including the famed Labradoodle. Though trendy today, designers are not without controversy, so their pros and cons are both considered. Because all mixes — intentional and unintentional — combine the characteristics of the parent breeds, this chapter covers the general characteristics of the various dog groups and gives profiles of 17 mixed breeds and designer dogs.

    The mixed breeds are a diverse lot — mutts and designers, companions and competitors. By definition, a mixed breed is a dog conceived by two different purebreds or mixed breeds (or a purebred and a mixed breed). Because the terminology is important and can seem confusing, some additional definitions may be in order:

    - Purebred: Dog with ancestors who are members of a recognized breed; the ancestry of a dog remains consistent over many generations.
    - Crossbred: Dog who is the offspring of two different purebred dogs of different breeds. The Cockapoo, a cross between a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel, is a well-known crossbreed.
    - Hybrid: Although the word hybrid technically refers to the result of crossing animals of two different species (horse and zebra, for example), it is generally accepted to use the term interchangeably with crossbred.
    - Designer dog: The name associated with crossbred dogs deliberately developed, most during the last few decades (see this chapter’s “Delving into Designer Dogs” for more information).

      Some mixed breeds may be more mixed than others. In fact, a mix may have some purebred ancestors in its lineage; other mixes come from a long line of mixed breeds. In many cases, a mix’s ancestors are vague, at best, and some are simply identified by the most recognizable breed of the mix — “Shepherd mix,” “Beagle mix,” or “Lab mix,” to name a few.

      Border Shepherd
      Maltese Shih Tzu

      Non-Sporting Group

      Okay, so what’s the deal with the Non-Sporting Group? Is it truly a group made up of non-sporting types, or is it a catchall category of groupless pooches?

      In truth, the answer may be a bit of both. The Non-Sporting Group was created back in the early days of dog shows, when all the other breeds were neatly classified in the Sporting Group. Now that we have several other groups to choose from, each of these Non-Sporting breeds could probably fit — or almost fit — into another group. But what’s done is done, and there they remain.

      Members of this group are wonderfully diverse, with great variety in appearance, size, temperament, and conformation. The group’s 17 breeds have backgrounds that can be traced to retrievers, mastiffs, spaniels, Nordic dogs, and more. As far as origins go, the breeds came from all over the globe — the Shiba Inu from Japan, the Tibetan Spaniel from the Himalayas of Tibet, the Keeshond from the Netherlands, and the Boston Terrier from, well, Boston.

      These days most of the Non-Sporting breeds dedicate themselves to careers as devoted companions, but going back to their roots, these dogs were workers of all types: ratters, guard dogs, retrievers, performers, fighters, hunters, carriage dogs, herders. Two were lapdogs extraordinaire (a cushy job, for sure), and one was even a “good luck” companion.

      Because they come from such different stock and were developed for such different purposes, the breeds in the Non-Sporting Group are quite distinct in appearance and character. Talk about a smorgasbord of personalities, not to mention a cornucopia of ears, tails, and coat types!

      American Eskimo Dog
      Bichon Frise
      Boston Terrier
      Chinese Shar-Pei
      Chow Chow
      Finnish Spitz
      French Bulldog
      Lhasa Apso
      Poodle (Standard and Miniature)
      Shiba Inu
      Tibetan Spaniel
      Tibetan Terrier

      Sporting Group

      The “sporting” in Sporting Dogs is less about soccer and baseball than it is about hunting. The dogs of the Sporting Group — the Pointers, Setters, Retrievers, and Spaniels — were bred to be active, alert, and athletic hunting companions. Their primary purpose: to search for and retrieve game. For some, this meant flushing small game out of brush; for others, it meant diving into icy waters to retrieve fallen waterfowl. The Sporting breeds are known as the modern hunters of the canine world because they accompanied hunters with guns rather than nets.

      Thanks to supermarkets and convenience stores, today’s Sporting dogs are not a critical part of stocking the icebox. If you don’t hunt, you’ll need to divert your Sporting dog’s boundless energy in other directions. Consider jogging, field trials, brisk walks, play sessions, and obedience training as potential hunting alternatives. Because Sporting breeds typically are gentle, enthusiastic, and eager to please, they’re well suited to family life — as long as they get a good dose of strenuous exercise each day. Without it, you risk damage to your backyard and home.

      If you’re happy to spend a weekend at home reading a good book or devoting an entire day to your model airplanes, a Sporting dog probably is not the breed for you. If, however, you and your dog can start the day with a good jog and then head out in the afternoon for a short hike, your companion will happily settle down at your feet for an evening of popcorn and the latest movie release. Sporting dogs are real social animals who were bred to enjoy working closely with people. Without their people, these breeds are not happy campers. Ever seen the look in a black Lab’s eyes as he waits for his owner to come out of a store? Dogs such as Spaniels and Retrievers crave interaction with humans and truly appear to suffer if ignored or left alone too long.

      The Sporting breeds have long been admired for their instincts and skills in water and woods. This group is divided into four types: Pointers, Retrievers, Setters, and Spaniels. The breeds presented in this chapter are grouped according to these types, each with its own talents and physical characteristics. Pointers, Retrievers, and Setters are large; Spaniels run smaller. Retriever coats range from short to medium, and most Pointers have short hair (some are wiry). The Setters have long hair, and the Spaniels’ coats range from medium to long, some with gorgeous curls. When you’re not out hiking or hunting with your Sporting breed, you may find a fenced yard to be a useful part of satisfying your dog’s need for fresh air and room to explore. Even better, head out there for a game of catch or fetch. You’ll be amazed at how long your dog is capable of playing; Retrievers, in particular, are perfectly happy to fetch sticks, balls, Frisbees, and so forth for you until your arm is numb.

      American Water Spaniel
      Chesapeake Bay Retriever
      Clumber Spaniel
      Cocker Spaniel
      Curly-Coated Retriever
      English Cocker Spaniel
      English Setter
      English Springer Spaniel
      Field Spaniel
      Flat-Coated Retriever
      German Shorthaired Pointer
      German Wirehaired Pointer
      Golden Retriever
      Irish Red and White Setter
      Irish Setter
      Irish Water Spaniel
      Labrador Retriever
      Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
      Spinone Italiano
      Sussex Spaniel
      Welsh Springer Spaniel
      Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

      Terrierr Group

      In name and in spirit, the dogs of the Terrier Group are down to earth. The name terrier is derived from terra, Latin for “earth.” Farmers relied on Terriers to control pests — mice, rats, foxes — in fields and stables. These dogs were developed to pursue and kill vermin, and many did so by digging, or “going to ground,” after their prey. These Terriers had to be energetic, brave, and tenacious. For many Terriers, survival depended on their ability to fend for themselves. During the group’s history, some were bred for sport, to kill rats in pit contests, and later to fight against each other. Fortunately, such activities are no longer legal, but the breeds as a group have retained their original feisty nature.

      Today’s Terriers appeal to people who are looking for a lot of dog in a small package. In general, dogs in this group have a good disposition and can become attached to their families. However, Terriers are not for everyone. True, they are engaging, but they require an owner with enough spunk to cope with the Terrier’s distinctive personality. On top of that, a Terrier’s level of high-energy play can be overwhelming to some people. Although they don’t demand a lot of attention, a Terrier is likely to become bored and destructive without activities to challenge the body and mind. One way to fulfill the challenge is to test your dog in Terrier trials. Earthdog tests allow Terriers to test their skills in man-made tunnels and courses. Border, Wire Fox, Lakeland, and Scottish Terriers are just some of the breeds who live for the moment when they’re set loose to pursue some sort of critter scent or caged prey

      With their strong prey instinct intact, typical Terriers have little tolerance for other mammals, including other dogs, gerbils, and cats. They are also confident and cocky when challenged, displaying a “You talking to me?” attitude. This is good news for someone looking for a protective breed; even the smallest of the Terriers will bark to alert you to visitors, whether it’s a messenger at the door or a squirrel at the gate.

      In general, Terriers are

      - Feisty
      - Self-assured
      - Busy
      - Inquisitive
      - Bold
      - Tenacious
      - Dominant

        Terriers range greatly in size and shape — the fluffy Westie and the muscular Bull Terriers bear little resemblance, although all have strong jaws to take on prey. The Australian, Border, and Cairn Terriers are on the small side; the Airedale and American Staffordshire are bigger. The vermin-catching Terriers are roughly divided into long-legged and short-legged breeds. Although coats can be smooth or coarse (wiry), medium or long, most Terriers are known for their wiry coats that need to be maintained with a special grooming technique known as stripping.

        Airedale Terrier
        American Staffordshire Terrier
        Australian Terrier
        Bedlington Terrier
        Bull Terrier
        Cairn Terrier
        Dandie Dinmont Terrier
        Glen of Imaal Terrier
        Irish Terrier
        Kerry Blue Terrier
        Lakeland Terrier
        Manchester Terrier (Standard)
        Miniature Bull Terrier
        Miniature Schnauzer
        Norfolk Terrier
        Norwich Terrier
        Parson Russell Terrier
        Scottish Terrier
        Sealyham Terrier
        Skye Terrier
        Smooth Fox Terrier
        Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
        Staffordshire Bull Terrier
        Welsh Terrier
        West Highland White Terrier
        Wire Fox Terrier

        Toy Group

        Looking for a canine companion that packs a lot of personality into a small package? A pooch that fits in a pocketbook? A dog who’s happy walking around the block rather than over the river and through the woods? A Toy may be just what you need. From the tiny Chihuahua to the perky Papillon, 21 little Toy breeds have a great deal to offer.Although a few started out as rodent hunters, Toys were primarily bred to be companions for the wealthy and as elegant accessories of royalty. In many cases, though not all, the Toy breeds are smaller versions of larger counterparts (the Toy Poodle from the Standard Poodle, say, or the Pug from the Mastiffs). However, the Miniature Pinscher, which does look like a “Mini Me” Doberman Pinscher, was not bred down in size from the Doberman. Because the Toy breeds were developed from so many other groups, it’s impossible to characterize them together. Although Toys are typically mild mannered and sweet, their personalities are quite different. Compare the sensitive nature of the Italian Greyhound, for example, to the fearless Min Pin or the spunky Brussels Griffon. The Toy breeds’ small sizes make them perfect for any lap, but also for any home — even the smallest studio apartment. Toys are very popular with city dwellers, especially people who live in condos or retirement communities that impose size limits on pets. A Toy’s small size also makes it transportable, which means you can pick up and carry your petite pooch with you wherever you go, even on many airlines. Try that with a Labrador Retriever!

        Don’t be fooled by the small stature of a Toy, though; many are tougher than you think. Nearly all Toy dogs make decent little watchdogs: They will certainly let you know (by barking, most likely) that a stranger has entered their territory. Top alert breeds include the Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Chihuahua, Toy Manchester Terrier, Min Pin, Pomeranian, and Yorkshire Terrier. Keep in mind, of course, that their greatest strength is probably their bark (as opposed to the implied bite of a German Shepherd, for example). Toys are an ideal choice for many because of their minimal exercise needs. That’s not to say that they should lie around eating canine bon-bons all day. Even the tiniest Toy needs a short daily walk, romp, or play session to stay fit. On the other hand, elderly owners or others who can’t walk their dog every time it needs to go out manage to train their pooch to use puppy pads or a litter box. Toys also require less grooming and vacuuming time in general (smaller dogs, smaller shedding surface).

        Older people find great comfort in the affectionate and devoted nature of the Toy breeds. A source of companionship and comfort for the lonely, Toys also do well with the physically challenged. Toys are excellent therapy dogs, and many nursing homes have live-in Toys that provide great joy to residents, who benefit from the endless snuggles.

        A Toy breed is likely to cost less to maintain than a large breed (they eat less food). On the other hand, Toy breeds tend to live longer (mid-tolate teens for many), so the cost differences may not be significant in the long run. Although not a major consideration, insurance liability is a factor for some people. Certain homeowner insurance policies restrict coverage, or charge more, for specific large dogs. A Toy breed saves you the hassle of dealing with a change or increase in your insurance coverage.

        Clearly, the Toy breeds have a lot to offer many types of people — not everyone, though. People who probably shouldn’t get a Toy breed include the following:

        - Families with young children (six and under): Toys can be fragile, and most may not be able to stand up to the horseplay and extra-big hugs of little tykes. Even a Toy dog will have to defend itself with a nip if a small child is pulling its tail or poking. Better safe than sorry.
        - Busy people who aren’t home much: Toys breeds exist to be canine companions. They love their people and do best with plenty of attention, whether on your lap, at your feet, or sitting nearby.
        - Active people looking for running partners: Although an Italian Greyhound enjoys a jog, most toys do better with a walk or play session. Some Toys are sensitive to overheating; others have trouble breathing.

          Unless you’re interested in getting into the show ring, pet owners should look for a larger-sized individual within a breed. Though too big for competition, they may be sturdier.

          Brussels Griffon
          Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
          Chinese Crested
          English Toy Spaniel
          Italian Greyhound
          Japanese Chin
          Miniature Pinscher
          Shih Tzu
          Silky Terrier
          Toy Fox Terrier
          Yorkshire Terrier

          Working Group

          The Working Group is a formidable assemblage, made up of dogs of great strength, courage, and devotion. The AKC category of Working Dog describes breeds that were originally bred for jobs other than herding or hunting: carting, sledding, guarding, and rescuing. Though many machines now do these jobs (snowmobiles rather than sledding dogs, for example), plenty of Working breeds are still doing their jobs throughout much of the world.

          The breeds in the Working Group are built to perform tough tasks. They are sturdy and strong and capable of carrying heavy loads. They are brave enough to guard against predators and intruders, as well as accompany soldiers into war. They have specialized skills that allow them to dive underwater, perform rescues, and detect drugs and explosives. These breeds are intelligent and able to think for themselves, a true asset when a dog must act alone to get a job done.

          Though they excel at these tasks, the Working breeds are typically large to giant — Great Dane, Akita, Mastiff, and Doberman Pinscher, to name a few — which may make them a challenge for the average person interested in a pet. Fortunately, they are also quick to learn, and early and proper training can help a dog stay on track as a home companion. Without training, however, the typical owner will be challenged to control such large and powerful dogs. Socialization should be done early and throughout a dog’s life, to prevent the dog from becoming overprotective, especially if you ever plan to bring new people into your life.

          Working dogs may be similar in size, but they vary greatly in other aspects of appearance. From the corded white coat of the Komondor to the baggy, smooth coat of the Neapolitan Mastiff, the dogs of the Working Group have quite a range of hair types. Being workers, of course, coat type has everything to do with job performance: The Komondor’s cords protect it from the elements and allow it to blend in with its flock; the Neapolitan Mastiff’s unusual appearance is enough to stop any intruder in his tracks. In general, Working dogs are territorial and make excellent guard dogs because of their physical size and the volume of their bark. What burglar would hear the booming alarm bark of a Rottweiler and decide to come on in ? Despite their size, some of the Working breeds are perfectly content with a minimal amount of exercise and can even live happily in a small home or apartment. The Mastiff types, for example, don’t require strenuous exercise and can do well with a daily leisurely stroll. The sled dogs are a different story, however, and are quite active. Be prepared for more exercise and play if you have an Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed, or Siberian Husky. Dogs like the Portuguese Water Dog, the Boxer, and the Standard Schnauzer also benefit from more activity than others in the Working Group.

          Whether guardian or powerhouse, Working dogs love nothing better than having a job to do. For some that means being a drug-sniffing police dog, a therapy dog at a nursing home, or a sled dog in the Iditarod. For others, it means keeping a careful eye on a backyard full of children. And nothing is better than celebrating a job well done with a well-deserved snooze at your master’s feet.

          Alaskan Malamute
          Anatolian Shepherd Dog
          Bernese Mountain Dog
          Black Russian Terrier
          Doberman Pinscher
          Dogue de Bordeaux
          German Pinscher
          Giant Schnauzer
          Great Dane
          Great Pyrenees
          Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
          Neapolitan Mastiff
          Portuguese Water Dog
          Saint Bernard
          Siberian Husky
          Standard Schnauzer
          Tibetan Mastiff