What Breed of Dog Should I Have?

A saying that is well used, in many different circumstances, is ‘You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family’. Very true, expect for one important member, the family dog. For thousands of year’s we have been selectively breeding dog’s for practical uses, hence we now have many different breeds with distinctive looks and behaviours. Some dogs are easier to train, are more biddable, others are more naturally aggressive, others fearful, some like to spend their days resting, others are very active, requiring stimulation from both a physical and mental prospective. Knowing these traits helps to ensure that the dog that you bring into your home is both productive and satisfying for you, your family, and your dog.
Although there are many different breed of dogs they are separated into seven groups that are recognised by the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom (KC).
Click a group name to find out more information regarding each group.


The TOY Group
Dogs of the Toy Group are the miniature versions of the dog world. Many of these breeds are quite ancient, attesting to the value people have long placed in dogs for the sake of companionship and adornment. Within the toy grouping it is difficult to ascribe dog toybehavioural characteristics due to the fact that many of these dogs have been morphed from dogs within other groups, although there are some among this group that are of such ancient origin that they cannot be traced to their larger ancestors.
Some of the breeds that are classified in the Toy Group are:-
•    Chihuahua
•    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
•    Yorkshire Terrier
•    Pug
•    Miniature Schnauzer
•    Miniature and Toy Poodles
•    Lhasa Apso
•    Shih Tzu
•    Pomeranian
•    Maltese
•    Pekingese
•    Papillon


Dogs within the Terrier Group all have in common the proclivity to kill rodents and vermin, often by digging or going to ground after them. Any living thing, from rats, ferrets, weasels, mice, snakes was fair game to a working Terrier, and still is today with many of its companion descendants. However loveable they may be with people, never forget that they can be excitable, reactive, bloodthirsty high energy burners. They will always posses the characteristic of wanting to chase/pursue anything that is small and fast moving. In the Terrier world this tenacity is known as ‘gameness’. The breed is roughly divided into long-legged and short-legged classifications.
Some of the breeds that are classified in the Terrier Group are:-
•    Airedale Terrier
•    Staffordshire Bull Terrier
•    American Staffordshire Terrier
•    Bedlington Terrier
•    Border Terrier
•    Fox Terrier
•    Irish Terrier
•    Scottish Terrier
•    Welsh Terrier
•    West Highland White Terrier


The Working Group are those dogs that put their bravery or brawn into the service of humans. This group can be sub-divided into guarding or protecting breeds, sledding breeds, carting breeds and rescue breeds. They are powerfully built dogs that are known for their intelligence and hardiness.
Some of the breeds that are classified in the Working Group are:-
•    Alaskan Malamute
•    Siberian Husky
•    Samoyed
•    Rottweiler
•    Saint Bernard
•    Bullmastiff
•    Doberman Pinscher
•    Giant Schnauzer
•    Great Dane
•    Newfoundland


The HOUND Group
The Hound Group are believed to be one of the oldest groups of dogs, aiding humans by pursuing and catching their quarry. This group can also be divided into sub-groups of the Sighthounds and Scenthounds.
The Sighthounds pursue by sight, and include the fast running dogs such of greyhound build, and generally speaking are benign of temperament, not overly demonstrative, and not very territorial. They appear very lazy around the house, but when taken outside an amazing transformation can take place and they become one of the most graceful of dogs. There is something very impressive in watching a Sighthound race across open terrain at full speed.
The Scenthounds pursue by scent, and include the more solidly built dogs of general foxhound build. The unifying factor of the scenthounds is the long nose, which houses an enormous amount of nasal membrane, and that is why they are superb at following scent, both on the ground and airborne. Some breeds do hunt by both sight and scent, and a few classified in this group don’t seem to hunt at all. Most of the Hound Group have in common an independent pursuit of mammalian quarry, and as such they traditionally couldn’t wait for the hunter’s direction, but they led the way.
Some of the breeds that are classified in the Hound Group are:-
•    Greyhound
•    Whippet
•    Saluki
•    Borzoi
•    English Foxhound
•    Irish Wolfhound
•    Afghan hound
•    Basset hound
•    Beagle
•    Bloodhound
•    Dachshund
•    Rhodesian Ridgeback


This group can also be known as the Herding Group. Dogs in this group have in common the desire and ability to control the movements of other animals, most often sheep and cattle. In some breeds this is accomplished by stalking, in others barking, and in others by actually nipping. They were also bred to work under instruction, rather than just use their natural abilities. They need stamina and endurance to cope with their tasks, often working in inhospitable terrain. In this group some will display tendencies to gather, while other will have a tendency to drive and push the herd. The Pastoral Group breeds do tend be intelligent and devoted pets, but do require stimulation.
Some of the breeds that are classified in the Pastoral Group are:-
•    German Shepherd
•    Collie
•    Border Collie
•    Belgian Shepherds (Malinois, Turvuren, Laekenois and Groendael)
•    Bouvier des Flandres
•    Briard
•    Old English Sheepdog
•    Puli
•    Shetland Sheepdog
•    Corgi
•    Australian Shepherd
•    Australian Cattle Dog


The GUNDOG Group
The Gundog Group are also known as the Sporting Group. This breed are the modern hunters in that they hunt in concert with a hunter armed with a gun. They will work with the hunter, extending the hunters abilities by either locating, moving, or bringing back the prey. The group that locates the game is composed of the pointing and setting breeds, which will freeze and ‘point’ when game is located. The group that will move and flush the game tends to be the spaniels, and they will range back and forth, flushing the game from deep undergrowth. The group that bring the game back to the hunter is the retrievers. Many breeds will combine these talents and are termed versatile hunters. These different tasks that they were breed for has given different characteristics to the dogs within this group.
Some of the breeds that are classified in the Gundog Group are:-
•    English Springer Spaniel
•    Welsh Springer Spaniel
•    Clumber Spaniel
•    Cocker Spaniel
•    Field Spaniel
•    Irish Water Spaniel
•    Sussex Spaniel
•    Spinone Italiano
•    Labrador
•    Golden Retriever
•    Flat Coated Retriever
•    Pointers
•    English Setter
•    Gordon Setter
•    Irish Setter
•    Weimaraner


The Utility Group is also known as the Non-Sporting Group. This group is the most diverse of all the groups, and it is sometimes referred to as the catch-all for breeds that don’t sit comfortably, or defy categorisation, in any of the other groups. This can be for a variety of reason but effectively it is because they no longer have a tenable function. It has been referred to as the companion group because many of the dogs classified here to tend to have a common background of being bred solely for companionship. The history of these dogs is so varied that it would be impossible to evaluate their characteristics, and each breed in this group must therefore be judged on its own merits. Although they have been bred for companionship is does not mean that they are better companions than breeds on other groups. An example of this would be the Chow Chow, which, although it is classified in this group, is not known for its friendliness, in fact can be very independent and stubborn.
Some of the breeds that are classified in the Utility Group are:-
•    Chow Chow
•    Bichon Frise
•    Bulldog
•    Chinese Shar-pei
•    Dalmatian
•    Poodle (both standard and miniature)
•    Tibetan Terrier
•    Tibetan Spaniel
These classifications have been based on the dogs’ function (Working, Pastoral, and Gundog), size (Toy), and even on the social class that owned them. However today some dogs have new roles in society, service dogs, dogs that assist those that have disabilities, guide dogs, therapy dogs, hearing dogs, rescue dogs, search dogs, the list goes on, but the main reason today is for companionship, the family pet. It is therefore important when choosing the family pet that considerations are given to find the correct temperament, qualities and traits that suit you. If you can’t get to exercise your dog on a regular basis, and for a good length of time each day, then don’t have a high energy, high maintenance breed of dog, or if you wish to take your dog on long walks with you, and expect it to be out for long periods of time, don’t choose a breed that has low energy levels.


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