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7 Types of Dog Breeds

types of dog breedsKnowledge of the different types of dog breeds can help you decide which type of dog breed may be best for you.

Are you thinking about getting a dog? Getting a dog is a serious decision because you will be responsible for them for the rest of their life. Don’t pick a dog for it’s outward appearance, consider characteristics of the dog breed.

Here are some things you should consider before getting a dog. First, consider your lifestyle when choosing a dog. How active are you? Will the dog be left alone all day? How much time do you have to spend with a dog?

Then, you need to have an energy level equal to or greater than the dog you choose. If you are not very active, don’t choose a high energy dog as you will be asking for behavior problems from a lack of exercise.

Next, consider the size of the dog also. If you live in an apartment, don’t get a large dog. Large dogs need space to run and play. A small dog would be a better choice for an apartment dweller.

7 Types of Dog Breeds

Toy Dogs

types of dogs chihuahuaToy dogs are small dogs that make great companions for those living in small spaces as they like to be inside. Toys live longer lives than bigger dogs.

Toys have lots of energy and tend to bark. Because of their small size they can get the exercise they need in a small space.  Some of these dogs are miniature versions of larger dogs.

This type of dog can include the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Maltese, Miniature Pinscher, Papillon, Pug, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier, Toy Poodles and Yorkshire Terrier.

Herding Dogs

types of dogs collieHerding Dogs are very smart and high energy, requiring lots of exercise, space, and mental stimulation. They are medium to large in size with a strong desire to please.

The first consideration for this type of dog is do you have small children. Herders will tend to chase small children and they like to nip, as this is what they do when herding animals along with high barking tendencies.

These dogs are energetic, easy to train, and require a lot of space to run. They tend to not be good with children because they may chase, nip, and push young children, although a well trained herding dog can be a family pet.

This dog group is the newest group that was created by the American Kennel Club and was created in 1983.

Herding dogs can include the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Belgium Sheepdog, Border Collie, Collie, German Shepherd, and Old English Sheepdog.

Hound Dogs

types of dogs bloodhoundHound Dogs are made up of a group of hunting dogs. The hound dog group includes the scent hounds and sight hounds. Scent hounds use their sharp sense of smell to track and distinguish scents, while the sight hounds have great eyesight and can run swiftly.

Scent hounds have low to medium energy levels, can be stubborn, are good with children, and can be small to large in size. Examples are the Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Beagle, Foxhound, Plott Hound, and Dachshund.

Sight hounds use their sharp eyesight to find their prey and their running speed to catch their prey. They are energetic, can be stubborn, and good with children. They can include the Afghan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Whippet, and Greyhound.

Non-Sporting Dogs

types of dogs poodleThe non-sporting group of dogs include ancestors from the hound, terrier, sporting, and working dogs that don’t fit into any other group. They make good companion dogs and vary greatly in size, appearance, and traits.

Non-Sporting dogs include the American Eskimo Dog, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Chinese Shar-pei, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Tibetan Spaniel, and Tibetan Terrier.

Sporting Dogs

types of dogs labradorSporting dogs are good runners, swimmers, and hunters with high energy levels that require lots of exercise and mental stimulation.

These dogs are gentle and very quick to learn making them perfect to be service dogs. Consider a sporting dog if you are looking for a family pet.

Sporting dogs can include the American Water Spaniel, Brittany, Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Weimaraner, and Pointer.

Working Dogs

types of dog breeds boxerWorking dogs are smart, strong, and make great companions for older children and adults. They are very adaptable, quick to learn, and their size can be large to extra-large.

They are not recommended for families with young children due to potential injury from their large size and determination unless they are well trained. A well trained working dog can be great with children.

This type of dog includes the Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Black Russian Terrier, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Doberman Pinscher, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Kuvasz, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, and Standard Schnauzer.

Terrier Dogs

types of dogs jack russellTerrier dogs are small in size, very energetic, determined, and were bred to hunt small rodents. They tend to not get along with other dogs, are independent, like to dig, bark, and require lots of exercise.

The terrier group of dogs are usually friendly with people and they enjoy being active. An agility course would allow for expelling energy and training together. You must have high energy to keep up with a terrier.

Terriers include the Airedale Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Terrier, Bull Terrier, Carin Terrier, Irish Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Jack Russell, Parson Russell Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Rat Terrier, and Scottish Terrier.

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of each type of dog. The breeds listed in each group are examples from each of these 7 types of dog breeds. For more information on dog breeds, visit the American Kennel Club.

Feel free to leave a comment or share a story. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.



  1. It’s good to know which group the breed of dog you are considering comes from as this will help determine if the breed is right for your living situation, ie working dogs are no good as house dogs way too much energy! Great info as way too many people do not put enough thought into what the breed they are looking at was bred for focusing mainly on what they look like.

    • Alice

      September 25, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you for your comment. People really do need to know the common characteristics of each type of dog breed to make an educated choice. Many times the dog breed’s energy level is higher than the owner causing behavioral problems that could be avoided.

  2. Good info on dog types and personalities. It is so important that you understand the energy level of a dog before making them a member of your family. Too often, people choose a dog by how popular that breed currently is and that is good for neither you or the dog. I have a 13 year old Boston Terrier that I have had since she was 2 months old. If I had understood her energy levels 13 years ago, I may have chosen a different breed (I am whispering this since I don’t want her to hear me say this!!) Luckily She has mellowed with age and our energy levels pretty much match each other these days 🙂

    • Alice

      September 25, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Dogs do mellow with age and their energy levels do decrease. So many people just give up when their energy level doesn’t match their dogs. Boston terriers are great dogs and fun to play with but they do have their exercise requirements. Glad to know you and your dog’s energy levels are matching these days!

  3. Where I work at the vet, we see all kinds of dogs but hardly hounds. My last encounter was with a Basset Hound and it wasn’t a pleasant one. It had aural hematoma and would attempt to bite whenever we examined the ear.

    On top of that, it also had a chronic eye infection and there was no way we could get near it unless we used the muzzle. I guess you are right, they are pretty stubborn.

    • Alice

      October 27, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Basset Hounds are very gentle and docile dogs. It sounds like the Basset Hound you are describing was in pain, especially with the chronic eye condition. It is rare for a Basset Hound to bite.

      Basset Hounds can be stubborn, especially when training. They are independent thinkers and sometimes they just don’t want to do what you are asking them to do. Small treats are a great motivator during training, and you must be consistent. They are great dogs with a lot of personality.

  4. This is a great post, Alice. Many people choose their dogs based on its appearance and this need to change. I bet half of these occur because of ignorance.

    It’s really important to prioritize the breed’s requirements over our personal choice. Very often, I’ve seen people who live in small condos get dogs that are not suitable for small places. Then few months later,these poor things are put into dog shelters. We need to realize that it’s a 10+yr commitment.

    • Alice

      July 10, 2017 at 9:09 am

      I agree, many people do choose a dog based on looks and many times the dog ends up in a shelter due to no fault of their own. A dog should be chosen according to your lifestyle and home. Characteristics of the dog breed should be able to fit into your lifestyle for a happy dog and owner. Thank you for your comment!

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