Dog Breed Groups
If you’re looking to add a new four-legged friend into your life, you might have one of the following questions on your mind;
- Which small dog breeds are best with young children?
- What dog breeds suit the lifestyle of me and my family?
- Which small dog breeds are suited to apartment living?
- Which small dog breeds drool the least?
- Which small dog breeds are least likely to trigger allergies?
- How much exercise does my small dog breed need every day?
To help you find the answers to all of these questions, your first step is to discover what the dog was bred for in the first place.
Did you know that all AKC-recognized dog breeds fall into one of seven distinct dog breed groups based on their physical characteristics and temperaments?
Using this information can help you choose the ideal small dog for you, your family, and your lifestyle.
This article is part of our new puppy starter guide series, answering common questions about small dogs, providing essential shopping list items for new puppies, and more.
What are dog breed groups?
All AKC-recognized dog breeds fall into one of seven distinct dog breed groups based on their physical characteristics and temperaments, including Working, Herding, Toy, Hound, Sporting, Non-Sporting, and Terrier.
It doesn’t matter whether your dog is purebred or a crossbreed; learning about the characteristics of each breed group can give you an idea of things like how much energy they might have, and what sort of things might interest them.
Having this knowledge won’t just help you choose the right dog for you and your family, but it also gives you the best chance to give your dog the happiest and longest life possible.
What are the 7 dog breed groups?
All AKC-recognized dog breeds fall into one of seven distinct dog breed groups listed below, based on their physical characteristics and temperaments.
The Non-Sporting Group breeds all have wet noses and four legs. After that, this eclectic mix of breeds with jobs defying categorization in the six other groups, are popular companion animals today.
Dogs in the Sporting Group were developed to aid in the capture and retrieval of game birds. Ducks and other waterfowl are hunted by retrievers and setters, while setters and spaniels hunt pheasants and other game birds. The thick, water-resistant coats of many Sporting Group breeds make them ideal for hunting.
Terrier breeds were originally bred to hunt rodents and other vermin underground. Long-legged terriers dig out varmints rather than burrowing in after them. In recent years, the group’s “bully” breeds have become popular companion dogs. Terrier breeds excel at competing in Earthdog events.
In a way, toy dogs are kind of like working dogs. They work hard to be attentive and affectionate. People in cities like to have dogs in the Toy Group because they can fit into small yards or apartments.
Some of the world’s oldest dog breeds are in the Working Group. Many of these breeds are used to pull sleds and carts, protect flocks, and keep families safe. Working Group breeds are big, strong, and known for being smart.
The Herding Group is often used to herd sheep, cattle, and even reindeer. Herding dogs are highly trainable due to their natural intelligence and responsiveness.
Due to the Hound Group breeds powerful noses and strong prey drives, these breeds are often used to track anything from a rabbit to an escaped convict. They will go to any lengths to catch their prey.
Which small dog breeds are best with young children?
Here are the top 20 small dogs that are ideal for families with young children.
Which small dog breeds are best suited to apartment living?
- French Bulldog
- Miniature Dachshund
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Shih Tzu
- Shiba Inu
- Scottish Terrier
Which small dog breeds drool the least?
- Miniature Poodle
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Boston Terrier
- Shetland Sheepdog