Pet Portrait Artist Julie Palmer

dog articles


Categories of Dog Breeds


In the world of dogs, dogs are divided into different types. There are purebreds, crossbreeds and mongrels. Mongrels have a heritage. They are offspring in which either parent has mixed ancestry. In other words, a mongrel (colloquially called a mutt or a Heinz 57) is a dog with either a sire and a dam who were themselves the product of a minimum of 2 different breeds of dogs. A Crossbreed, on the other hand, is the product of parents of 2 different breeds. Most of today’s breeds of dogs have started out as either crossbreeds or mongrels.

Purebreds are considered the top-of-the line. They are the epitomes of dog breeding. A purebred dog must have parents who are also purebred. More specifically, their sire and dam and their registered ancestry, must all be the same breed. In fact, you should be able to trace their ancestry right back to the origins of the breed.

While mutts are mutts, free to associate in the real world and on paper, this is not the same for purebreds. In the world of kennel clubs, there are certain restrictions placed on purebred dogs. This has been established for centuries. For purebred dogs, life is a group affair. While they are a singular breed, they are also members of a social, political and sometimes seemingly arbitrary grouping. Over the years, the various kennel clubs have come out with a division of all the registered purebred dogs. This defines what overall category or group they fall in.

Within each group, as currently defined by the national kennel club, the parent club of individual breeds, sets the standard of acceptability for that breed. The standard is not truly representative of any specific breed of dog. It is an idealistic concept. It is held up as the model. In a show ring, the judge refers mentally to this standard when selecting the winner from among the competitors. The overarching groups into which all dogs have become slotted for showing purposes are, in North America, Sporting Breeds, the Hound Breeds, Working Breeds, the Terrier group, the Toy breed, the Nonsporting dogs the Herding group and Miscellaneous.

In the United Kingdom, the divisions are similar, but the names of the groups vary. The British dog show world divides their dogs accordingly. As in the North American system, there are the Hound Group, the Working group, the Terrier and the Toy. This other system also has the Gundog, the Pastoral Group and the Utility group. In spite of the name differences, the content remains very similar. This article will look at the basic characteristics of each breed group. It starts with the aptly named group - Sporting.

Sporting Group

The Sporting Group contains those dogs bred to flush out and retrieve game. They are pointers and retrievers working in the field. While overall size, shape and color may vary, the group does have one common characteristic. Sporting dogs were bred to serve in the field and off hunting in the woods or water.

Sporting dogs are for active people. If you are a couch potato, do yourself and the animal a favor. Do NOT take home a sporting dog. These canines are active, have plenty of stamina and boast energy to spare. They need plenty of exercise.

Among the members of this breed, you will find the following breed of dogs

• German Pointer

• Curly-coated Retriever

• Golden Labrador Retriever

• Labrador Retriever

• Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

• Gordon Setter

• Irish Setter

• English Cocker Spaniel

• Brittany Spaniel

• Vizla

Generally, you will find the members of this group to be likeable and well-rounded in nature. Sporting dogs also have a tendency to be curious.

The next article will focus on the nature and characteristics of the Hound group.


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