How Many Dog Breeds Are There?
Regardless of age, dogs are people's best friends. They are loyal, helpful, loving, and they are so pure in expressing their emotions. There are so many dog breeds that it is challenging to pinpoint the exact number, and the popular world organizations all provide different numbers.
Brief History of DogsIt is known that a dog is descended from a wolf that, at some point, was tamed and domesticated to help and protect humans during a watch out or hunting spree. It is believed that a young wolf might have approached humans, recognizing them as a pack; as a result, establishing a connection between two groups. Over hundreds of years, people have been breeding various types of dogs for their needs and field jobs, and even preferences: small size, long hair, or long legs, etc.
List of Kennel Clubs in the WorldEvery kennel club in the world monitors purebred breeding and promotes all breeds, except for cross and hybrid. The roles include establishing and sticking to a certain breed standard, recording new breeds, and organizing exhibitions and competitions.
Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), or the World Canine OrganizationFédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) is the largest international breed registry that was established in 1911 in Belgium. It comprises 94 members, excluding the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canada. According to FCI, essential breed standards are the dogs' temperature, health, and behaviors. And they highly encourage owners and breeders to do many activities and practice sports with their pets.
American Kennel Club (AKC)The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the American breed registry. It was established in 1884, and it has been running various events (e.g., championships) for dogs annually. The club advocates maintaining purebred dogs in good health, providing sufficient physical exercises, and protecting dogs as family members.
Canadian Kennel ClubThe Canadian club was established in 1888 and had since been holding events for purebred dogs and registering them (with the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture). The club's mission is to monitor the health and well-being of every pure breed, record new ones, and educate people about canines.
The Kennel ClubThis club was established in the United Kingdom in 1873 as a breed registry, and it is the oldest one of all in the world. The club also runs various competitions throughout the UK, including events for crossbreed dogs and mixed-raced.
Pure Breeds of Dogs Classified by TypesEvery breed has particular characteristics, traits of personality, and the purpose of what the dog was bred for. Thus, several groups help people classify various breeds according to the criteria. The classification also helps future owners browse for dog breeds they would like to purchase or adopt. The following list is a widely-used classification created by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Working GroupAs the name suggests, dog breeders needed canines to perform specific tasks like pulling the carts or sleds, watching a farm, or even help in search and rescue missions. That is why these breeds are classified as working because they are in charge of practical duties. Due to certain assigned tasks, dog breeds from the working groups are large in size and have the strength to carry goods or people. Working dog breed list, including guarding and sled dogs:
- Siberian Husky
- Great Dane
- Alaskan Malamute
- Dogo Argentino
- Doberman Pinscher
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Akita Inu
Herding GroupThe dogs that are part of the herding groups used to be classified as working until 1983. The dog breeds that belong to the herding groups were trained to carry out tasks like watching after and protecting the herds, and controlling their movements. The herding dog breeds are also good at bringing the livestock into the corral. Since these dog breeds have to take care of other animals, they are usually very active and intelligent. Thanks to their herding instinct, they are a great addition to families with kids and even a great help for police patrols. The herding dog breeds include:
- German Shepherd
- Australian Shepherd
- Belgian Tervuren
- Border Collie
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Bouvier des Flandres
- Belgian Malinois
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Hound GroupA dog breed classified as a hound is a hunting dog with excellent sight and accurate smell to find the trail of wild animals. Moreover, scent hounds are clever, fast, and hardy. The hound dog breeds are also well-suited for police work that involves searching for wanted or missing people. Some of the calm and brave primitive types scenthounds are:
Sporting GroupSporting dog breeds were initially helping hunters when retrieving the game. These dog breeds are always on alert and ready for action. Sporting dogs can be divided into four main dog types: spaniels, setters, retrievers, and pointers. If you are keen on fishing, a water dog will be the perfect companion as this type of dog has outstanding instincts in catching fish. And you shouldn't worry about your four-legged friend getting cold because a water dog has a waterproof coat. But, you should be prepared for lots of sports and have plenty of outdoor activities with sporting dogs. There are many dog breeds belonging to this group, and some of them are:
- Irish Setter
- Labrador Retriever
- English Cocker Spaniel
- American Cocker Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
Non-Sporting GroupNon-sporting dog breeds are the ones that simply do not fit under one criterion. They are diverse in traits and sizes, and each dog breed is different in a particular way. Many dog breeds belong to the non-sporting group:
Toy GroupToy dog breeds are very clever little creatures that can shock you with a strong bark - just imagine a furious Chihuahua. Some of them were bred to get rid of mice and other small intruders. However, toy dog breeds bring lots of joy and they are perfect for people who live in the city or have limited space at home. As for training, it is also easier for future owners or breeders to teach toy dogs discipline. These canines are sociable, loving, and perfect companions. There are a number of dog breeds classified under a toy group:
- Toy Poodle
- Japanese Chin
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- English Toy Spaniel
Terrier GroupTerriers dogs were bred to hunt vermin, foxes, moles, and others; that is why they are very energetic, fast, and often engage with humans. Future owners need to take into account that terrier dogs require lots of activities to discharge their abundant energy reservoir. Terrier dog breeds have a beautiful coat and need to be regularly groomed or stripped to keep their distinctive look. Here is a list of terriers with feisty and energetic spirits:
- Boston Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Fox Terrier
- Airedale Terrier
- Irish Terrier
- Jack Russel Terrier
- Scottish Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
Miscellaneous ClassThis class allows new breeds to join and earn their title through competitions and become recognized by the organizations, particularly by American Kennel Club. The following are not yet fully recognized dog breeds:
- Belgian Laekenois
- Biewer Yorkie
- Portuguese Podengo
- Bracco Italiano
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
Mixed and CrossbreedsThe dogs with a mix of breeds are called mutts; they can be mixed by accident. They are not registered nor documented as it is usually done with purebred canines. In contrast, crossbreeds are the dogs that were bred for better characteristics, appearance, or better health conditions. They are sometimes called 'designer' dogs; however, the kennel clubs do not always recognize them. The famous examples of crossbred canines are:
- Chusky: a combination of a Chow Chow and Husky
- Labradoodle: a combination of a Poodle and Labrador Retriever
- Dalmachshund: a combination of a Dachshund and Dalmatian Mutt
So How Many Dog Breeds Are There Officially Recognized?It is almost impossible to give an accurate number of existing dog breeds in the world. Different resources provide various numbers, and some organizations do not recognize all breeds officially. However, it is safe to say that there are over 400 dog breeds present on the planet. The following kennel clubs recognize a different number of purebred dogs:
- Fédération Cynologique Internationale - 360 purebreds
- American Kennel Club (AKC) - 197 purebreds
- The Kennel Club (UK) - 222 purebreds
- Canadian Kennel Club - 187 purebreds
- There is a sufficient number of the same breed (at least 100)
- The same breed is present in more than 20 states
- Observed and confirmed according to the AKC breed standard