The major kennel clubs divide the world's dog breeds into Groups based on the type of work or activity for which the dogs were bred, and to a lesser extent other characteristics such as their size and temperament. The distinctions are not cut-and-dried; for example, hunting dogs are divided among the Hound, Gundog and Terrier groups.
Kennel club groups
Dog groups vary from country to country but in general there are seven:
- Gundog Group called Sporting Group in some countries - (includes retrievers, pointers and spaniels)
- Hound Group - (includes sighthounds and scenthounds
- Non-sporting Group
- Terrier Group - (The FCI subdivides terriers, see FCI Terrier Group)
- Toy Group
- Utility Group
- Working Group - (includes sled dogs and herding dogs. The American Kennel Club separates their herding dogs into a separate Herding Group.
Other dog types and dog classifications
Besides official kennel club groupings, there are other official and unofficial ways to classify dogs.
By occupation or original purpose
- Hunting dogs - may include
- Working dogs - includes a wide variety of recognised and independent breeds
- Companion dogs - A wide variety of pets, may include non-working toy dogs, lap dogs and mongrels (mutts) as well as dogs in official groups which are not used for their original purpose, but kept as family pets.