The Seven Groups of Dog Breeds Explained

Have you ever wondered how dog shows judge contestants fairly and accurately? After all, dog breeds are so varied in size and appearance that comparing a bulldog to a miniature poodle seems rather foolhardy. According to their breed's specialty, dog shows actually get around this by separating contestants into seven different categories. Here is a short breakdown of the seven groups of dog breeds and what they contain.

Dog breeds are divided into seven unique groups….

breakdown of the groups of dog breeds

Sporting Group

The sporting group covers all dogs bred to assist hunters with capturing and retrieving feathered game. There are four types of sporting dogs, Spaniels, pointers, setters, and retrievers, and each type was bred for a specific kind of feathered prey. Retrievers, for instance, were bred with water-resistant coats so they could retrieve any waterfowl shot down while hunting. Whereas Spaniels, pointers, and setters work best in the grasslands, hunting quail and pheasants where they nest. Notable Breeds:

  •     Labrador Retriever

  •     Cocker Spaniel

  •     English Setter

  •     German Shorthaired Pointer

  •     Golden Retriever

save money

Hound Group

All dogs in the hound group were bred to track and pursue warm-blooded animals, be they rabbit or antelope. These tenacious canines have a high prey drive and powerful senses of smell, so they can easily track their prey across large distances. Many breeds in this group work with law enforcement as search and rescue dogs. Notable Breeds:

  •     Bloodhound

  •     Greyhound

  •     Beagle

  •     Dachshund

  •     Borzoi

Bernese mountain dog

Working group

This group includes some of the oldest canine breeds in existence. All the members in the working group were developed to assist humans, either by pulling sleds and carts, guarding the home, or protecting their families. They tend to be large, powerful, and highly intelligent.  Notable Breeds:

  •     Bernese Mountain Dog

  •     Boxer

  •     Rottweiler

  •     Akita

  •     Great Dane

dog breeds explained

Terrier Group

These short-legged breeds were originally bred to chase after vermin that burrow underground. Because of this, they are voracious diggers, and sometimes their natural urges can get them in trouble. They tend to be stubborn and rather spirited, but that's all part of their unique charm. They are very energetic, though, so owners are encouraged to give them plenty of exercise to avoid unwanted behavior.  Notable Breeds:

  •     Australian Terrier

    •     Bull Terrier

    •     Scottish Terrier

    •     West Highland White Terrier

    •     Schnauzer

Toy Group

Unlike the other groups within this article, Toy breeds have exactly one job: to fit in laps and look adorable. These dogs are bred to be playful, affectionate, and full of personality. Due to their smaller size, these breeds are particularly popular among city dwellers where available space is a limited luxury.  Notable Breeds:

calm dog breed

Non-sporting Group

The problem with categorizing specific dog breeds according to their jobs is that sometimes those jobs are just too darn specific. That's where the non-sporting group comes in; these are the Hufflepuffs of breed groups; they take everyone left, so they all have a place to shine.  notable breeds: 

  •     Bulldog 

    •     Dalmation 

    •     Poodle

    •     Boston Terrier

    •     Tibetan Spaniel

dog breeds explained

Herding Group

Probably the group with the most self-explanatory title, the herding group is comprised of dog breeds specifically designed for herding livestock such as sheep, cattle, or even reindeer.  Notable Breeds:

  •     Border Collie 

  •     German Shepherd

  •     Pembroke Welsh Corgi

  •     Australian Shepherd 

  •     Icelandic Sheepdog

Did you learn anything new and interesting about our canine companions? Share this article with another dog lover that you know so they can learn something, too.

Was this article helpful?

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.