From its humble beginnings in an office of the Westminster Dog Club in 1884, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has grown into a giant of mammoth proportions. Its first studbooks were personal records kept by Dr. N. Rowe. These books were precise and contained entries dating back to Adonis in 1878. From those simple books, the AKC has grown to a yearly registry of over 1.5 million dogs and 500,000 litters.
To keep up with this expansion, the AKC decided to break the breeds of dogs into the following groups:
Group I: SPORTING DOGS
Sporting dogs are those that originally were bred for hunting and retrieving game. Although made up mostly of setters, retrievers, pointers, and spaniels, the sporting dog group also includes the Vizla, Weimaraner and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
COMPLETE LIST OF BREEDS IN THE SPORTING DOG GROUP:
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
American Water Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniel
Welsh Springer Spaniel
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Although used for hunting, the sporting dog group does not include hounds. Hounds go under their own group heading, Hound Breeds. Hounds are dogs that usually hunt by scent or site. In fact, the AKC now has field trials and lure coursing to enable these types of dogs to demonstrate their ability in performing the duties for which they were originally bred.
COMPLETE LIST OF BREEDS IN THE HOUND BREED GROUP:
Black and Tan Coonhound
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
The Working Breed Group was at one time the largest of all the groups. Due to the number of entries and time involved in judging them at shows, this group was split and the Herding Group was formed.
Many of the working dogs were originally bred for guard duty, pulling sleds, and rescue work.
COMPLETE LIST OF BREEDS IN THE WORKING BREED GROUP:
Bernese Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Portuguese Water Dog
The Herding Group came into its own in 1983 when it split from the Working Group. The dogs entered into this group were originally bred to work/herd cattle, sheep, and other livestock. Honoring this, the AKC now has Herding Dog Trials to test a dogs instinct for “rounding up” small animals such as sheep, goats, ducks and geese.
COMPLETE LIST OF BREEDS IN THE HERDING GROUP:
Australian Cattle Dog
Bouvier Des Flandres
Collie (rough and smooth)
Old English Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Many words come to mind when thinking of terriers, earth, diggers, stubborn and feisty are only a few. Being of a mind and temperament all their own, it is only fitting that they have their own Terrier Group as well.
COMPLETE LIST OF BREEDS IN THE TERRIER GROUP:
American Staffordshire Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Manchester Terrier (standard size)
Miniature Bull Terrier
Scottish Terrier (Scottie)
Smooth Fox Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Wire Fox Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
West Highland White Terrier (Westie)
From the feisty terriers, courageous working dogs and protective herding dogs you come to the Toy Breeds.
These tiny “lap” dogs may be small but often have the heart of a lion.
COMPLETE LIST OF BREEDS IN THE TOY BREED GROUP:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
English Toy Spaniel
Manchester Terrier (toy size)
Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)
Having several breeds that the AKC felt didn’t belong in any of the aforementioned groups, they developed the Non-Sporting Breed Group. Whereas the breeds in the previous groups seem to have a common background, the Non-Sporting Group seems to be a hodge podge breeds.
COMPLETE LIST OF BREEDS IN THE NON-SPORTING GROUP:
Finnish Spitz (not the commonly known white spitz)
Miniature and Standard Poodle
The above breeds have all been officially recognized by the AKC and can enter conformation classes in any sanctioned show. To experience the full impact of the variety of breeds, their appearance and style, a dog lover would find a full day’s entertainment at a large dog show.
Prospective buyers are also encouraged to haunt the dog shows, meet reputable breeders and see what a quality specimen in their favorite breed actually looks like. By simply using any search engine to find the official American Kennel Club web site, upcoming shows and events can be found and an enjoyable family outing can be planned.