Ever wonder where all these dog breed groups come from?
People like to classify things to put order into their lives, and this skill is learned from a very
young age. Dog Breeds are no
exception. Kennel Clubs around the world
group dogs by their common characteristics.
Traditionally, these groups were based on the dog’s purpose such as
hunting or herding.
Some clubs have categories for where the dog’s originated
such as the Northern Spitz type breeds whose heritage involved surviving the
harsh cold climates of the far north. Fédération
Cynologique Internationale is probably the only organization that divides its
breed groupings by dog type and breed history.
Other clubs, such as the
American Kennel Club group these Spitz type dogs into other categories
such as Working, Non-sporting or even Toys.
Each kennel club around the world has different labels for their groups
of dogs, but in some respects, they are all similar. A gun dog in the UK will be a sporting dog in
the US. Pastoral and Herding Breeds are
virtually the same.
Some groups are more confusing than others. Take, for example, the AKC’s Non-sporting
group and the UK’s Utility Grouping.
The Kennel Club in the UK defines "Utility" as
meaning fitness for a purpose, not covered by other Groups.
In other countries, kennel clubs use the term “Utility” to
mean something entirely different.
Zealand Kennel Club and the Australian National Kennel Council each have a Utility
Group, but dogs in their Utility Group are large dogs that guard livestock,
Spitz-type dogs and even those breeds used in rescue work.
Many of the dogs that are placed in either of
these groups do not fit comfortably in other groups so you could say that they
are a catch-all for dogs that can’t be
classified in the traditional way.
Knowing where your dog is placed in the larger dog kingdom
may help you understand some his peculiarities.
Don’t use this as a foolproof method of
choosing a dog, just another piece of the puzzle.
Dog Breed Groups
To simplify this page, we have used the breed categories of
the American Kennel Club.