Dog-Blog........... Groups of Dogs

When describing dogs, Dog Breed and Dog Type are both used to identify Pedigree Dogs.

Dog Breeds: -
are very specific groups of pedigree dogs showing a recognisable set of inherited characteristics, these are defined by the Kennel Club (eg Cocker Spaniel or Rottweiler)

Dog Type: - is a more general definition used by The Kennel Club to group all pedigree dog breeds into seven categories. (e.g. a Cocker Spaniel is a Gundog.)

The Kennel Club uses the following group types for all pedigree dog breeds

Hounds Gundogs Terriers Utility


Hounds have historically been used for hunting whether it has been through their relentless pursuit of game which is helped by their enormous stamina and total dedication, or it might be their highly tuned sense of smell and amazing ability to follow trails.
Hounds ar.e usually divided into three sub groups:

Sight hounds (also called gazehounds), dogs who pursue their prey predominantly by using a combination of speed and acute sight. These dogs have been bred to be very fast and will catch and kill game (e.g., hares, gazelles, deer) by themselves. Characteristics of these hounds is their body shape; long legs giving them a great stride length, a deep rib cage holding an exceptionally large strong powerful heart and lungs, necessary for the exertion needed when chasing their prey, they also have a long flexible tail which acts as a rudder allowing them to corner and chage direction quickly. Sighthounds are generally lean and streamlined with long, light, narrow heads which improves their keen stereoscopic vision so essential in the pursuit of prey at speed. Nowadays most dogs referred to as sighthounds are kept primarily as pets, they have been bred for thousands of years to detect movement, chase, capture, and kill prey primarily by speed. They are physical very active dogs. Some have quiet personalities making them ideal pets but others can be watchful and even hostile towards strangers. The instinct to chase running animals remains strong which can cause something of a problem when they are kept as a pet. It is not unusual to see these pet dogs leashed and only allowed to run free in safely enclosed spaces. Many of the dogs that fall into the category of sighthounds have a long history and there is ample evidence that the type of dog we now know as Saluki, Afghans and Borzois have been used for hunting for many thousands of years

Scent hounds: -
tend to follow prey or other animals and people by tracking the scent. These dogs possess an acute sense of smell, have endurance, but are generally not fast runners. This sub group tend to vary much more in shape and size and are generally less aggressive. As they are often used to hunt in packs the tendency to be violent towards other dogs has to some extent been bred out of them. Following (often cold )scents over sometimes great distance requires a lot of concentration and these hounds are not easily distracted. Another common attribute of most of these type of dogs is their large booming voices, often seen as essential when hunters follow the dog (packs) on foot.These traits are seen in dogs used purely for hunting/tracking and are often in the dogs bred to be kept as a pet dog.

Other hounds: -
these are the hounds that do not actually fall into either of the above groups or dogs that have some of the attributes of both and are not strictly speaking Sightshounds or Scenthounds; some examples are, Basenji, Ibizan Hound, Pharaoh Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Thai Ridgeback.

Gundogs (Sporting Dogs)
As their name suggests this group are eager participants in the pursuit and retrieval of game.Over the years they have been bred to retrieve, in water or on land, or to "set" , "flush" or "point" the game for the hunter.
Generally gun dogs hunt by scent usually airborne not ground scent. They fall into four broad categories although their skills often overlap:

are dogs that find and return game to the hunters.Some Retrievers are especially equipped, for instance with a water-repellent coat and webbed feet, for retrieving downed waterfowl.
Retrievers were bred primarily to retrieve birds or other prey and return them to the hunter without damage. Although spaniels and some pointing breeds routinely retrieve game, and many retrievers are skilled in finding game, retrievers are distinguished in that non-slip retrieval is their primary function. As a result, retriever breeds are bred for soft mouths and a great willingness to please, learn, and obey. A soft mouth refers to the willingness of the dog to carry game in its mouth without biting into it an essential when retrieving game for eating.
The retriever's eagerness to please and its ability fo be trained has made retrievers such as the Labrador Retreiver and Golden Retriever extremely popular as pets and assistance dogs

have a breed history that dates back to the early 17th. century they were bred to stand in front of their quarry, with their nose and body rigidly still , thus directing (or pointing) the hunter to its location.
Pointers have a high energy level and will invariably be thinking about hunting or tracking. They can be extremely friendly, love to cuddle, play with other pets, and enjoy the company of other humans, young or old. They are usually independent, loyal, and a responsive breed--they take instructions easily and areusually extremely intelligent.

are dogs that were originally trained to set, or crouch, in front of the quarry preventing escape . Originally the hunter would make the capture with the use of a net. Today it is more likely to be a gun, hence the name has evolved from Sporting Dogs to Gundogs.

Flushing Spaniels.
Spaniel is a type of gun dog first used in the British Isles during Caesar’s invasion (54-55 BC). It is thought spaniels originated from Spain (hence the name). Spaniels were originally bred to flush game out of dense brush. Later, in the late 17th.century spaniels had become specialised into water and land breeds and their role was further changed by the advent of guns, from somewhat all-pupose roles of retrieving, flushing, setting and springing of game to that of a more specialsed gun dog.
Spaniels are generally small dogs with long coats and drop ears.

The word terrier has passed into the language as someone that is game, feisty, tough and likes a fight. Originally bred to hunt vermin (rats, mice, foxes) often digging them out of their lairs. They can have a hard bite but this is offset by small mouths.They are mostly small dogs but do vary in size from the small Cairns to the much larger Airedale.
Breeding, over the lifetime of these dogs, has made this group into dogs that make great pets, loyal and very good companions, they are family friendly but they can be their own dogs.When chhosing a terrire for a family pet it would be advisable to seek out a Breeder that breeds the dogs as pets and not as working dogs.
Terriers are by nature alert and lively making them ideal watchdogs, barking at any sign of strangers, which may be a problem..
They can be aggressive towards other dogs and often chase other pets (particularly cats) but are friendly with thier own "pack" an other animals they have been brought up with.


Utility Group
Generally a mixture of breeds that do not necessarily fit into only one of the other groups.
These are probably the "old boys" of the dog groups, they serve many different purposes and in truth are not always generally purpose trained. They can however have specific functions, acheived mainly through selective breeding
Often described as "non sporting dogs" they will show individual traits similar to one or more of the other groups.
The dogs in this group vary in size and shape enormously and the original reason for breeding them to perform a specific function may no longer be valid or required (bulldog and bull-baiting)


Working Group
I think their name tells it all, heroic and dependable, guarding, rescue, searching----- Doberman Pinscher, Siberian Husky, Great Dane and St Bernard. Dogs who have been bred to perform guarding duties, and physical work/ rescue work. They make great pets & friends but their size often has to be a consideration.
Working dogs (Akita, Boxer, Doberman, Great Dane, Newfoundland) are born to “work” at a specific physical job, whether it be guarding, hauling, rescuing or sledding. Many are not ideal as family pets, but can be with proper socialisation and obedience training. Independent, strong willed and physically overpowering, they must be kept under control and gets lots of appropriate exercise.


Pastoral Group
The pastoral group of dogs is usually divided into two groups:-
Dogs that were bred to round up flocks of sheep or cattle herds and dogs that were bred to live with and protect flocks and herds of domesticated animals.

Protecting animals:-
Many of the larger dogs in the pastoral group were bred to protect the herds and flocks of domesticated animals from the wild hunters - wolves, foxes and other predators. They tend to be larger an heavier than other pastoral types often with an aggressive attitude, useful in their guarding roles.

Herding animals:-
Bred to herd domesticated animals these pastoral types are energetic and hard working.
They are usually easily trained and very responsive to learned commands. Acute hearing and sight make them good watchdogs. Originally bred to work with humans they form strong bonds with their owners usually with close physical contact (always ready for stroking, patting and general fuss making


Toy dogs were initially owned by the wealthy and were viewed by others as status symbols - a luxury item with little apparent purpose. The trend continue to this day. The references to Toy and miniature dogs are slowly being exchanged with references to Teacup dogs - a cute and descriptive name which is ideal for marketing this diminutive type of dog
Toy dogs (Cavalier King Charles, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers) are bred as companions - they only want to be with you! But even lapdogs need exercise. Small and fragile, they can be excitable and yappy, and can easily get under foot. Children and the elderly must take extra care around them. Loyal and intelligent, they love to learn tricks.

























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