Dog Breed Guide: Explore the 7 Major Dog Groups

Dog Breed Guide: Explore the 7 Major Dog Groups

What are the Major Dog Groups? Well, Dogs that have offered their delightful companionship to humans for centuries – whether it’s their loyalty, affection, or their playful nature – these creatures have always been of use and help.

Humans have selectively bred dogs for important purposes such as providing security, hunting and retrieving.

But what does the term “dog breed” mean, and how many breeds are actually there?

What are Dog Breeds?

A dog breed is a specific strain that is or was intentionally bred by humans to perform specific tasks.

In the United States, the AKC’s dog breed list consists of 190 breeds. However, worldwide, the FCI estimates the number of dog breeds to be 354.

The AKC – American Kennel Club categorizes purebred dogs into seven groups. Every breed registered by the AKC belongs to one of these seven groups based on the characteristics and functions the breeds were originally bred for.

Being aware of your breed’s group and origin can help provide you with an idea about the personality type of the dog you want to get.

What Are the Seven Dog Groups?

7 Dog Groups are as follows

  • Working Dogs
  • Hounds
  • Sporting
  • Terrier
  • Non-sporting
  • Toy
  • Herding

The Working Group includes dog breeds that perform practical tasks, unlike pets or companion dogs. Examples of working group dogs include service dogs, detection dogs, and guard dogs.

The Hound Group includes dogs that are preferable for hunting – for example, gun dogs and terriers. The toy group includes dogs that are small in size but sociable and affectionate—for example, spaniels and terriers.

Non-Sporting dog breeds include dogs with diverse traits of different sizes, personalities, and coats.

The Seven Major Dog Group – In-Depth

Working Group

From guarding livestock to service dogs, working dogs tend to be smart and tough. These are easy to train and perform most tasks and are easy to get along with.

Their ability to stay active and their strong nature also makes them a good pet to welcome to your house.

Examples of working group dogs include:

  • Huskies,
  • Alaskan Malamutes,
  • Great Danes,
  • Bullmastiffs,
  • Newfoundlands,
  • Samoyeds,
  • German Pinschers,
  • Rottweilers,
  • Saint Bernards,
  • Anatolian Shepherds,
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs,
  • Great Pyrenees,
  • Giant Schnauzer,
  • Akitas,
  • Portuguese Water Dogs, and more.

Herding Group

The Herding Group is known as one of the oldest categorizations of dog groups. Herding dogs are intelligent, serious, and possessive of their belongings.

All these characteristics are also what make popular watchdogs. Moreover, herding dogs are athletic dogs that need an active lifestyle.

Examples of dogs in the herding group include

  • Border Collies
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Cardigan Welsh Cordigs
  • German Shepherd
  • Canaan dogs
  • Briards
  • Belgian Tervurens
  • Bouvier Des Flenders
  • and Belgian Malinois

Hound Group

Dogs in the hound group were officially bred to help hunters track or chase their prey.

Apart from being companions in hunting, hound dogs are also widely used by law enforcement agencies, especially due to their reliable sense of smell and energy.

The hound has 3 main types. Each type includes different breeds:

  • Sighthounds
  • Scenthounds
  • The other breeds follow their prey using both senses – sight and smell.

Examples of hound dogs include Afghan Hounds that are native to Afghanistan, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Irish Wolfhound, Basenji, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Beagle, Dachshund, Scottish Deerhound, Whippet, Saluki, Italian Greyhounds, Otterhounds, and more.


Sporting dogs tend to be naturally active, alert, and intelligent. They were originally bred to assist hunters in locating or retrieving games from water or land.

Great hunting companions, the dogs in the sporting group are likable and helpful and also love activities like agility and rescue. If you’re thinking of getting one, remember that these active creatures require regular exercise to keep fit.

There are four main types of Sporting Groups:

Examples of Sporting Group dogs include English Cocker Spaniel, Barbet, Braque Francais Gascogne, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, English Pointer, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, German Longhaired Pointer, Pudelpointer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, Flat-Coated Retriever, and more.

Non-Sporting Group

The non-sporting group doesn’t categorize dogs by a specific purpose or size. Instead, the group contains dogs that don’t fit in other groups or don’t perform tasks they were originally bred for any longer.

For instance, bulldogs were historically bred to bait bulls, and Dalmatians were bred to provide company for horse-drawn carriages, but neither breed performed these tasks any longer.

Therefore, breeds in this group are varied in terms of size, coat, personality, and appearance and also make popular pets.

Examples of non-sporting dogs include American Eskimo Dog, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Chinese Sher-Pai, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz, French Bulldog, Keeshond, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Lowchein, Shiba Inu, and more.

Toy Group

If you’re looking for a life companion, a dog from the toy group is one of the best options out there.

Originally bred to provide companionship and make excellent pets, these dogs may be short on size, but their lively and loving personalities make up for the lack of size.

Most dogs from the toy group are loyal and loving. However, some can be possessive and territorial. Personalities usually vary due to the breed and the environment of a specific dog.

Toy goods make excellent friends for people residing in small spaces as they don’t require a large space. However, you will need to spare lots of attention as some can be needy.

Examples of dogs in the Toy Group include Chihuahua, Pug, Maltese, Biewer Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chinese Crested, English Toy Spaniel, Japanese Chin, Manchester Terrier, Cockapoo – a great option for people with allergies.

The toy group of dogs is very popular among city dwellers; many specialize in breeding toy dogs, especially cross breeds like Maltipoos and Cockapoos. If you are looking for a cockapoo, you may contact cockapoo breeders.

Terrier Group

Dogs in the Terrier Group were originally bred to dig and hunt beneath the group and to hunt vermin – which they remain excellent at.

These dogs are feisty, fun-loving, and intelligent and are available in all shapes and sizes. Today, these dogs are also used as watchdogs and loved pets.

Examples of dogs in the terrier group include American Staffordshire Terriers, Jack Russel Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Rat Terriers, and Bedlington Terries, Wheaten Terriers, and more.

Now You Know All About the 7 Most Popular Dog Breeds

All dogs are precious and deserve care and attention irrespective of dog groups and breed.

However, if you’re planning on bringing a furry friend home, awareness regarding the personality types is important as it helps determine whether or not the dog’s characteristics, such as exercise needs and energy level, match your lifestyle.

But while it does give a certain idea, it’s essential to know that dog groups or breeds aren’t the perfect determinants of their personality.

In summary

A dog’s personality is mostly determined by upbringing and other factors such as their parent-breed.

We wish you good luck and hope you find the perfect friend to welcome into your loving home!