Dog Breeds: The Seven Major Groups

There are a lot of different dog breeds in existence; it is said that about 400 dog breeds are in existence. Currently, 197 of them have been approved by the AKC (American Kennel Club).

While this number can seem overwhelming, AKC has further categorized these breeds into seven groups. Click here to see a full list of all dog breeds. These groups detail the functions, characteristics, and roles of canines. As a result, prospective dog owners can have an idea of what to expect from these four-legged creatures.

Therefore, in this article, we will discuss in detail the 7 major dog breeds groups and their attending characteristics.

1. Sporting

The reason for breeding this group was to get dogs that could act as hunting sidekicks. In other words, their purpose was to help hunters in identifying, marking, flushing, and retrieving birds.

This group is further classified into four types which are retrievers, spaniels, setters, and pointers. Retrievers are particularly good when it comes to swimming. Hence, it makes them suitable for retrieving waterfowls such as ducks. The others are renowned for their ability to hunt grassland birds such as pheasant and quail.

Although these four types can perform several hunting tasks; however, they excel better at specific tasks. For instance, setters and pointers are best used for identifying and marking game via pointing. Spaniels are great for flushing out game, while retrievers can retrieve wounded and dead birds best.

The general characteristics of this group are activeness, alertness, and stable temperaments. They are also lovable and can function as family pets. Due to their active and alert personality, you will need to provide them with a lot of exercises.

2. Non-Sporting

This group consists of dogs that don’t belong to any of the other groups; hence, it is a very large group. They aren’t particularly great as watchdogs or housedogs; however, due to the large number of members, pinpointing the characteristics is somewhat difficult.

3. Hound

In the past, this group was categorized under sporting dogs before they got their own group in 1930. Dogs in this category are specially bred with the purpose of pursuing warm-blooded game. A large number of breeds belong to this group.

All hounds have sharp hunting skills, sleek bodies, long legs, great stamina, quick speed, and great vision. All these make them capable of chasing fast animals such as antelopes and jackrabbits to the point of bringing them down themselves or pinning them down for the hunter to deliver the final blow.

Hounds with great smell are used for tracking nearly anything. They have been employed in rescue service and the police for their keen sense of smell.

Due to the diverse breeds in this group, their characteristics are a bit difficult to generalize. Nevertheless, most of them are affectionate, charming, and loyal. Hence, families will enjoy their company as far as they can provide the required exercise these dogs need.

4. Working

These canines can be trained to do almost all kinds of tasks. They can serve as guards, be used for rescue assignments, pulling sleds, etc. You can visit

6. Herding

The herding group was categorized in 1983 and consists of dogs that have one major and simple task; herd livestock. Well, that also includes protecting livestock and working alongside human shepherds, but that’s just part of the job description of being a “dog shepherd”.

The sizes of the members of this group vary from small ones such as the Corgi to large dogs such as the German Shepherd. Dogs in this group are is very intelligent and responsive which allows them to be trained easily for the task assigned.

Their natural instinct for herding livestock can be converted to “herding” humans. Hence, they are great for kids as well as blind folks. Their affectionate and loyal nature makes them perfect for these human-related tasks.

7. Toy

Toy breeds are bred to serve as human companions. Hence, most of them are small and portable allowing their owners to carry them on their laps or around. Furthermore, their small size makes them suitable for small apartments.

These dogs are usually affectionate and can adapt easily to home environments. They are sociable, possess a high energy level, and are intelligent. Despite being small, they can be very protective and have big personalities. You can look at Holistapet dog breeds guide to discover additional information about the groups we have discussed above.


There you have it; the seven major dog breeds in the world. Which of these do you own? Feel free to let us know your experiences.

to see a list of the top 7 working dog breeds.

Despite their variant members, most of them are intelligent and equally powerful which allows them to learn tasks fast and also have the strength to carry out the tasks. They are utilized as security, police, military, service, and guide dogs.

5. Terrier

Most of the dogs in this group have one thing in common: Most of them came from the British Isles. However, over time, they evolved due to the specific duties they were assigned to carry out by their owners such as guarding the home or killing pests as a result of the location they found themselves.

Therefore, it wasn’t strange to see these animals being used for hunting smaller animals such as otters, badgers, and rats. The variants with shorter legs were bred with the purpose of hunting vermin underground. The ones with longer legs instead of going underground to hunt rodents dug them out.

Common characteristics of terriers are courage and self-confidence. While they can be feisty and very energetic, they are still adorable and lovable pets. Due to their stubborn nature, you might have to invest a lot more into training and grooming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.