The American Kennel Club divides purebred dogs into 8 groups or classes.
- Herding -- specialize in controlling other animals like sheep and cows. For
example: the Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, German Shepherd, Old English
Sheepdog and Puli.
- Hound -- many have a superb sense of smell and can track a sent, but this
group includes other dogs that hunt by sight. This class contains Basenjis, Beagles,
Bloodhounds, Dachshund, Greyhounds and other sighthounds like the Saluki,
Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Whippets, and many others.
- Miscellaneous -- breeds that are eligible to compete in AKC shows but are not
in the AKC stud book. Breeds in this class can eventually be moved into one of the
other 7 groups.
- Non-sporting -- a catch-all group that has many different kinds of dogs like
the Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Dalmatian, Keeshond, and Poodle.
- Sporting -- were or are still used in hunting and similar
activities, different from that found in other groups. This group
includes Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Irish Setters, Weimaraners,
German Wirehaired Pointers and other retrievers, spaniels, setters and pointers.
- Terrier -- encompasses a wide range of sizes, yet these dogs have a common
set of traits: strong personality, abundant energy, smarts, and eagerness to hunt. Some
breeds are Airdale, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer,
Scottish Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, Welsh Terrier, and the West Highland White.
- Toy -- the little tough guys. For example, Chihuahua, Maltese, Papillon,
Pekingese, Pug, Shih Tzu, and Yorkshire Terrier.
- Working -- are involved in activities such as pulling sleds and protecting people.
This group includes some very large breeds such as the Great Dane, Bernese Mountain Dog,
Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Boxer, and Standard
For more information, visit the AKC site. (Note that
there are many purebred breeds that are not in any AKC group and are not part of the
AKC stud book.)