top of page

AKC Dog Groups

Breeding matters. Dogs were bred over the years to be good at certain jobs- these inherent traits are pretty much hardwired into the breeds. While it is true that each dog is an individual - your best chance at getting a dog with the traits you want and less of the traints you don't, is to choose your breed. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes over 195 They categorize dog breeds based on their historical function and inherent traits. Understanding these categories can be a fantastic starting point in your search for the ideal canine companion.

Geared Up and Game: Sporting Group

These energetic athletes were bred for hunting and retrieving game. Think Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Pointers. Sporting dogs are typically:

  • High-energy: Bred for endurance and retrieving prey, they require plenty of exercise.

  • Trainable and eager to please: Originally trained to work alongside hunters, they excel with positive reinforcement training.

  • Water lovers: Many breeds in this group enjoy swimming and retrieving waterfowl.

Loyal Protectors: Working Group

From German Shepherds to Doberman Pinschers, working dogs were bred for tasks like herding livestock, guarding property, and assisting law enforcement. These breeds are known for:

  • Intelligence and trainability: Working alongside humans for centuries has honed their ability to learn and follow commands.

  • Strength and stamina: These powerful dogs possess the physical capabilities to handle demanding jobs.

  • Protective instincts: Many working breeds have a natural desire to guard their territory and loved ones.

Herd 'em Up: Herding Group

Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Collies all belong to the herding group. These breeds were developed to manage and control livestock:

  • Alert and energetic: Herding requires constant focus and the ability to move livestock efficiently.

  • Strong herding instincts: These dogs have an innate desire to control the movement of other animals.

  • Trainable and intelligent: Effective herding relies on a strong working relationship between dog and shepherd.

Scent Hounds on the Ground: Hound Group

Beagles, Basset Hounds, and Bloodhounds are all part of the hound group, bred for tracking prey by scent. These breeds share some key characteristics:

  • Keen sense of smell: Hounds possess an exceptional ability to track scents over long distances.

  • Independent streak: Bred to work semi-autonomously, some hounds can be challenging to train.

  • Vocal nature: Hounds often communicate through baying and howling, a trait that might not suit every living situation.

Terrier Tough: Terrier Group

Jack Russell Terriers, Bull Terriers, and Yorkshire Terriers are just a few examples of terriers. Bred to control vermin like rats and foxes, terriers are known for:

  • Spirited and independent: These tenacious hunters can have a mind of their own.

  • High prey drive: Their strong instincts to chase small animals might not mesh well with homes with cats or small pets.

  • Alert and energetic: Terriers are full of life and require plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

Non-Sporting Group: A Catch-All for Companions

This diverse group includes breeds like Poodles, Bulldogs, and Dalmatians, bred for various purposes outside of sporting or working functions. Non-Sporting dogs can vary greatly but often share:

  • Adaptable personalities: Many non-sporting breeds thrive in various living situations.

  • Family-friendly temperaments: Bred for companionship, these dogs tend to bond well with families.

  • Unique appearances: The non-sporting group boasts a wide range of sizes, coat types, and temperaments.

Toy Tales: The Toy Group

Chihuahuas, Maltese, and Pugs are some of the adorable faces you'll find in the toy group. These pint-sized pups were bred for companionship and lapdog duties. Toy breeds are typically:

  • Affectionate and cuddly: Bred for human companionship, these dogs crave love and attention.

  • Small and portable: Perfect for apartment living or those who love a little dog by their side.

  • Can be surprisingly feisty: Despite their size, some toy breeds retain a bold and spirited personality.

The Miscellaneous Class: Breeds in Development

This category includes breeds that haven't yet met the requirements for full AKC recognition. These breeds are diverse but may share traits like:

  • Rare or newly developed: These breeds are still undergoing development or haven't yet achieved widespread popularity.

  • Unique appearances and temperaments: The miscellaneous class offers a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of dog breeds


bottom of page