Wamiz has put together a detailed list of dog breeds recognised by the FCI and the Kennel Club. The Federation Cynologique Internationale has categorised each of these breeds into 7 different types: Gun dog, toy dog, utility dog, hound dog, terrier, working dog and pastoral. A complete list of over 300 breeds with their respective pictures and a full description of their features, personality, health issues, origins and much more. This guide is here to help you understand which dog is best suited for you, based on their needs and personality.
The following breed sheets will describe in detail, both in a physical and behavioural aspect, the most popular dog breeds in the UK. From the small dog breeds, to the big dog breeds, whether you’re looking for a guarding dog, working dog, or just a lap dog, this guide will help you find your match made in heaven. These breed sheets are primordial if you’re thinking of buying or adopting a dog. You must think about the type of dog you’re looking for and find a breed that matches these criteria. This descriptive list of dog breeds can be a start in your research.
Where do dogs come from?
Every breed of dog, from the flat-faced Pug to the heavy-set St. Bernard, derives from one common ancestor: the Grey Wolf. These wild animals were domesticated by early men, and although there has been much debate as to when this happened, evidence shows it may have been anytime between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. The earliest dog breeders bred their animals to display specific traits that would be useful in performing various tasks– speed to catch game, strength to protect, or intelligence to herd, for instance. Over the years, dog breeding has become increasingly inclined to please our tastes in physical or behavioural attributes. For instance, large eyes have been bred into companion dogs to intensify their cute factor, and aggressiveness has been bred out of many working dogs so that they can adapt to family pet life. In this way, humans have been able to create the immense diversity of dogs that we know today.
What different dog breeds exist and how many are there?
To neatly organise and keep track of all the dog breeds, ‘clubs’ have been created all over the world.
The Kennel Club, Britain’s world-renowned and well-respected breeding club, sets standards for 211 pure breeds of dogs, and classifies them into 7 different groups. However, various clubs exist worldwide, and these standards and classifications vary accordingly. The FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), otherwise known as the WCO (World Canine Organization), for instance, recognises 344 dog breeds, and separates them into 10 different groups. Therefore, when looking for information about dog breeds, you may find varying classifications, depending on the club you’re going through.
The definition of a pure-bred dog, however, remains the same throughout kennel clubs of the world. These are dogs whose standardised breed is not only registered to a kennel club, but who also has a pedigree, that is, a lineage of ancestors all belonging to this same breed.
Purebreds are of course not to be confused with mixed breeds, also affectionately nicknamed ‘mutts’ which are the result of breeding two or more different dog breeds, where neither parents are registered pure bred dogs.
Finally, recent times have also seen the apparition of ‘designer dogs’, such as ‘Goldendoodles’ (Golden Retriever/Poodle cross) or ‘Puggles’ (Pug/Beagle cross), which are not recognised as official breeds, but result from the breeding of two separate, though pure, breeds.
Groups within the Kennel Club are used to categorise breeds of dogs and regroup those that display similar characteristics. The Toy group for instance, regroups all dogs bred specifically as small companion or lap dogs. Similarly, the Hound group contains dogs bred for hunting (by sight or scent), the Gundog group, dogs bred to find or retrieve large game, the Pastoral group, dogs bred to herd or work cattle, the Terrier group, dogs bred to hunt vermin, the Working group, dogs bred for guarding or search and rescue, and finally, the Utility group, dogs bred for miscellaneous and often very specific purposes, though often of a non-sporting origin.
How do I choose my dog?
Within this panoply of canine companions, there surely is one made just for you. A couch potato to match your stay-at-home personality, or, on the contrary, an active one to match your exertive lifestyle.
Whoever you may be, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Dogs step into our lives as pets but become part of our families for 10 to 15 years at least. They require veterinary care (which can be unpredictably expensive), they can turn your house into a snow-globe with their shedding, they will wake you up at dawn because they need to go for a wee, and they will need plenty of training to learn how to mesh perfectly into your way of life.
Every breed is different, and some are clearly better suited for first-time owners than others. Some will be more inclined to get along well with your other pets. Some will be better with young children than others. Some will be better guards, some will be better lap dogs. Some will shed more and others will require little to no grooming at all, so again, DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Mixed breeds should not be forgotten, and if you are thinking of adopting one, you can combine information on the breeds that have been used to create your ‘mutt’ (you can even use DNA tests if you want to be more precise about your dog’s origin).
Remember, although these breed sheets will offer you the standardised description of every breed, they are general pointers. Every dog, like every human, is different and unique in its own way, and a lot of its behavioural traits will depend on how it is trained and socialised. You must use the research you find as guidance, but be prepared for anything when you bring a pupper into your home.
And once you do, despite the hair, and the early-morning walks, and the bad-dog moments, you’ll never know how you once lived without them.