Pet Portrait Artist Julie Palmer

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The Toy Group, Non-Sporting Group and Herding Group


Throughout the centuries, people have bred dogs for many purposes. They have created dogs to hunt. Humans have bred dogs for guarding and working. They have also designed them for no other purpose than companionship. In the pet category, you will find dogs in the Toy group in prolific numbers.

The Toy Group

The members of the Toy group were born to be lap dogs and pets. They are, as their name indicates, small. Some can fit in your pocket; other Toys you can carry snugly under your arm. They are the most portable of dogs. They can fit into the living quarters you so laughably call a bachelor apartment. They can also be found in a purse.

Defiant members of the Toy category include

• Brussels Griffon

• Chihuahua

• Chinese Crested

• English Toy Spaniel

• Japanese Chin

• Maltese

• Manchester Terrier

• Miniature Pinscher

• Papillon

• Pekingese

• Pomerania

• Poodle

• Pug

• Shih Tzu

• Yorkshire Terrier

Toy dogs are usually tougher than they look. They are very affectionate dogs. Their size may make them a little easier to train than larger breeds. If you have or plan on having children, you should check out the temperament of the Toy bred you have in mind. They are not always the most child-friendly of dogs.

The Non-Sporting Group

Originally, there were only 2 categories of dog classification: Sporting and Non-sporting. As other dogs were bred, refined and admitted, more groups were added. Yet, both the Sporting and Non-sporting groups remain. Non-sporting dogs are a very diverse group. Furthermore, the members of this group, more than many of the others display a wider range of characteristics. Compared to the other groups, Non-sporting dogs are unique in many ways.

The Non-sporting group includes

• American Eskimo Dog

• Bichon Frise

• Boston Terrier

• Bulldog

• Chow Chow

• Dalmatian

• French Bulldog

• Llasa Apso

• Poodle

• Tibetan Spaniel

• Tibetan Terrier

If you decide to opt for the members of the working breed, do your homework. There is less generalization to be made about this specific group. Their personalities, degree of friendliness, coat and size vary too much for anyone to make an all-encompassing characterization

The Herding Group

In comparison with the other groups, the Herding Group is a newbie. It dates only from 1983. In that year, many members of the Working Group were transferred over to the newly found category. Their new designation was to indicate what type of work the original bred had been created to perform. All members were bred to herd. They rounded up sheep, cattle and any other livestock.

As a result of their vocation, Herding dogs are high maintenance. They are high-energy canines. They are problem solvers. They also tend to be independent thinkers.
Members of the Herding group include

• Australian Cattle Dog

• Belgian Sheepdog

• Border Collie

• Bouvier des Flandres

• Briard

• Collie

• German Shepherd

• Old English Sheepdog

• Puli

• Shetland Sheepdog

Herding dogs have special needs. They need challenges for their mind as well as for their body. Herding dogs are best kept active. They need mental and physical stimulation to be happy dogs. They will herd anything, children included. They will even nip at their heels to put them in line. Keep this single-minded need in mind when you decide to purchase a member of the Herding group.


There is one more group to consider the Miscellaneous Group. This is a catchall group. For further information on the members of this group, it is best to go to the AKC website. Content provided by Albert Marshall of, check out our cool collection of ceramic dog dishes online.


All images are copyright 2001 to 2018 Julie Palmer. Portrait images must not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the copyright holder.

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