Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting to Know the Eight Dog Groups

By Melissa Chan

Herding Group: Some of the most well-loved and intelligent dog breeds belong to this group, including the German Shepherd and the (unofficial) smartest dog in the world, the Border Collie. Although breeds in the herding group don’t do much herding now, in the past, they were very well known for effectively rounding up cattle and sheep by quick running, eye contact, and aggressive barking, according to Animal Planet. The American Kennel Club notes that although herding dogs now have probably never even seen a farm animal, their instincts to herd and keep together owners, and especially children, can be strong. Corgis and Old English Sheepdogs are prominent members of the herding group. Click here to see the full list.

Hound Group: Made of bloodhounds, beagles, and foxhounds, these pups are hunters and can range in sizes. Therefore, it’s clear that they have an excellent sense of smell and can run exceptionally fast. Today, they’re most commonly used by law enforcement to track fugitives or missing persons, according to Animal Planet. Notable about the hound group, certain breeds can produce a unique sound known as baying! Click here to see the full list.

Toy Group: Well, you guessed it. The dogs that make up this group are small. From the Chihuahua to the Pug, the size of these toy breeds can rage from 6 to 20 pounds, according to Animal Planet. Toy breeds like the miniature pinscher, the toy poodle and the English toy terrier also seem to be the smaller versions of the larger breeds. They’re main attributes are loyalty and obedience, and they’re great at learning tricks. Click here to see the full list.

Sporting Group: Members of the Sporting Group are naturally active and alert, and make likeable, well-rounded companions. That’s why it’s no wonder the fan-favorite Golden Retriever, and other very popular dogs like the Labrador Retriever, made the cut. In fact, according to Animal Planet, Goldens and Labs account for nearly one-quarter of the more than 1 million dogs registered with the AKC every year. Sporting Group canines are notable for their instincts in the water and woods, and many are even active hunters. Pointers, retrievers, setters, and spaniels fall under this group. Click here to see the full list.

Working Group: Working Group dogs are incredibly strong and intelligent. They’re highly valued for their ability to guard property, pull sleds, and perform water rescues. The Doberman Pinscher, Siberian Husky and Great Dane are among the dogs that fall into this group. Click here to see the full list.

Terrier Group: Terriers are usually described as feisty in nature, and incredibly energetic. Their sizes can range from fairly small, as in the Norfolk, Cairn or West Highland White Terrier, to the larger Airedale Terrier, according to the AKC. If you find yourself getting upset that your terrier doesn’t get along with other dogs, or seems to want to kill every animal in sight, don’t get too upset. It’s in their nature to typically have little tolerance for other animals, including other dogs, due to the fact that their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin. But, of course, there are the exceptions to the stereotype and regardless, terriers can make excellent and caring pets. Click here to see the full list.

Non-Sporting Group: The title of the group is pretty vague, but so is the category itself. This group essentially encompasses the breeds that didn’t seem to fit in anywhere else. The Bichon Frise, Chow Chow, and even the popular Dalmatian and Poodle all belong to this group. According to Animal Planet, “their individual skills, original purposes and temperaments are almost as varied as their origins.” Sorry, Non-Sporting Groupees. But you don’t need to be in a special group to be loved. Click here to see the full list.

Mixed Breeds: The name says it all. Members in this group are those that are not purebreds. And although they don’t get a fancy name, they still get the title of the most popular breed group in America. According to the AKC, they make up the majority of the worldwide dog population! Dogs in this group include the American English Coonhound, the Chinook, and the Pumi. Click here to see the full list.

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