Selecting the right dog for your family and your lifestyle is a tougher choice that you might at first think. There are hundreds of choices out there and all that doesn’t even take into account the millions of combinations of mixed breeds!
Each breed has certain characteristics in the way they look and act; the breed also has a huge impact on size and potential abilities.
The Major Categories
Dog breeds fall into a few big categories:
- Hound Group: bred as hunters, this group counts among its members Beagles, Whippets, Dachshunds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and others.
- Sporting Group: bred to help with the hunt and to retrieve game, this group includes English Setters, Vizslas, Irish Setters, Pointers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and others.
- Terrier Group: first bred to kill rodents, these popular dogs include Bull Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Jack Russells, Scottish Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and others.
- Non-sporting Group: this varied category contains a wide range of dogs including Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, Shar Peis, and others.
- Working Group: these dogs were bred to guard, haul or otherwise work in some form and include Malamutes, Boxers, Bullmastiffs, Dobermans, Great Danes, Rottweilers, and more.
- Herding Group: as the name suggests, these dogs were bred to herd livestock and include Australian Cattle Dogs, Border Collies, Corgis, and more.
- Toy Group: the tiny dogs that make up the toy group are a popular choice and include Chihuahuas, Maltese, Miniature Pinschers (or Min Pins), Pomeranians, Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers, and others.
- Designer Dogs: The latest craze involves “designer dogs,” a purposeful cross of two purebred dogs. They’ve spawned a whole line of cute dogs with cute names: Maltepoo, Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Schnoodle, and more!
- Mixed Breed Dogs: Last but certainly not least is our personal favorite: mixed breed dogs. Unlike designer dogs, which are a purposeful mix of two purebreds, mixed breed dogs are the result of random breeding; these dogs may have many breeds in their ancestry. You’ll find countless mixed breed dogs at shelters, smart, loving dogs that are often not plagued with some of the medical issues that can sometimes trouble purebred dogs. (And did you know that you can get your mixed breed dog DNA tested to find out about his heritage? We did…check out our dog’s DNA test results!)