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Each of the more than 205 AKC registered breeds and varieties are assigned to one of seven groups representing characteristics and functions the breeds were originally bred for. Best In Show competition represents first place, from the seven groups, competing against each other.
These breeds were developed to gather, herd and protect livestock. The herding instinct in these breeds is so strong that Herding breeds have been known to gently herd their owners, especially the children of the family. In general, these intelligent dogs make excellent companions and respond beautifully to training exercises.
Most hounds share the common ancestral trait of being used for hunting. Some use acute scenting powers to follow a trail. Others demonstrate a phenomenal gift of stamina as they relentlessly run down quarry. Some hounds share the distinct ability to produce a unique sound known as baying. You’d best sample this sound before you decide to get a hound of your own to be sure it’s your cup of tea.
Non-Sporting dogs are made up of a diverse group of breeds with varying sizes, coats, personalities and overall appearance. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds so it is hard to generalize about this group of dogs. Most are good watchdogs and house dogs.
Naturally active and alert, Sporting dogs make likeable, well-rounded companions. First developed to work closely with hunters to locate and/or retrieve quarry. There are four basic types of Sporting dogs; spaniels, pointers, retrievers and setters. Known for their superior instincts in water and woods, many of these breeds enjoy hunting and other field activities.
Feisty and energetic are two of the primary traits that come to mind for those who have experience with Terriers. Bred to hunt, kill vermin and to guard their families home or barn. Prospective owners should know that terriers make great pets, but they do require determination on the part of the owner because they can be stubborn; have high energy levels, and require special grooming (known as “stripping”) to maintain a characteristic appearance.
Toy breeds might be short on size, but they are definitely not short on personality! Breeds in the Toy group are affectionate, sociable and adaptable to a wide range of lifestyles. Just don’t let their size and winsome expressions fool you: they are smart full of energy and many have strong protective instincts. Toy dogs are popular with city dwellers because they make ideal apartment dogs and terrific lap warmers on nippy nights.
Quick to learn, dogs of the Working Group are intelligent, strong, watchful, and alert. Bred to assist man, they excel at jobs such as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues. They make wonderful companions but because they are large, and naturally protective, prospective owners need to know how to properly train and socialize a dog. Some breeds in the Working Group may not be for the first-time dog owner.