The Seven Dog Groups Youll See At The 2016 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

The annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will take place in New York City on February 15 and 16 this year.

As with every other year, this year’s show will feature dogs from diverse categories of breeds, and encompass all seven general dog groups: the Sporting, Non-Sporting, Herding, Toy, Hound, Working, and Terrier groups.

Throughout the two-day show, dogs will compete in skills of showmanshipand obedience.

In anticipation of the events, we take a look at the seven different dog groups in an exclusive guide below.

By consulting the American Kennel Club the same organization that recognized the world’s most unique dog breeds we explore the origins of each group and how the particular breeds have come to build their unique reputations, and also identify some of the rarer breeds that you might not be so familiar with.

Scroll on to read more about each of the seven different dog groups in the canine kingdom, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Group #1: Terriers


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Terriers are typically small, wiry, active, and fearless dogs. They can range from a mere two pounds, to over 70 pounds in size.

Originating in Great Britain and Ireland, terriers were used to tackle rats, rabbits, and foxes both under- and aboveground.

Once, some terriers were also used as herding dogs, and were often crossbred with hunting and fighting dogs.

Today, they’re mostly pets and family companions. They are generally veryloyal to their owners, but some terriers may require a firm hand.


Popular Breeds:Scottish Terrier, Bull Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, West Highland White Terrier

Lesser-Known Breeds:Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, American Hairless Terrier

Group #2: Sporting


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Originally, sporting dogs were used to assistin the hunting of birds and small game for members of the English nobility and elite.

Many of these first sporting breeds are the ancestors of today’s retriever, setter, and spaniel breeds.

Because they were bred to hunt on various terrains, sporting dogs need to exercise regularly, and they tend to remain naturally alert at all times.

These dogs are great swimmers, great with children in active play, and make for fantastic companions.


Popular Breeds:Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Pointer

Lesser-Known Breeds:Clumber Spaniel, Irish Setter, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Group #3: Non-Sporting


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The non-sporting group encompasses perhaps the widest classification of breeds. Dogs can vary greatly in their size, coat, personality traits, and general appearance.

Some breeds, like the French Bulldog and the Boston Terrier, are bright, adaptable, and happy-go-lucky, while others, like the Chow Chow, can be rather serious and aloof.


Popular Breeds:Poodle, French Bulldog, Dalmatian, Bulldog

Lesser-Known Breeds:Coton de Tulear, Finnish Spitz, Keeshond

Group #4: Hounds


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Hounds were originally the first type of dogs used by hunters to track or chase animals.

Hound breeds have an extremely powerful sense of smell, and are among the fastest dogs in the canine kingdom.

There are generally three types of hound: sighthounds (which follow prey by speed and sight), scent hounds (which follow prey by tracking its scent), and the remaining group, which uses a mix of both sight and scent.


Popular Breeds:Beagle, Bloodhound, Dachshund, Basset Hound

Lesser-Known Breeds:Bluetick Coonhound, Borzoi, Ibizan Hound

Group #5: Working


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The working group includes dogs that are known as “blue-collar workers.”

They help protect their humans, guard flocks and homes, are trained to do rescue work, and pull sleds across great distances.

These dogs have been so valuable to humankind throughout the ages, and they’regenerally very quick and eager to learn, they’re extremely intelligent, and they also make for great companions.

Sometimes, however, because of their great size and strength, working dogs must be properly trained, and, as a result, are not always considered the most suitable pets for average families.

Popular Breeds:Great Dane, Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pinscher, St. Bernard

Lesser-Known Breeds:Tibetan Mastiff, Portuguese Water Dog,Leonberger

Group #6: Herding


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The herding group is the newest group introduced by the American Kennel Club.

Many of its members were previously classified in the working group, but all breeds belonging to this group generally have a fantastic ability to control the movement (or herd) of other animals.

The Corgi, for example, is a rather remarkable breed of the herding group. According to the AKC, the generally small breed can drive herds of cows to pasture, by energetically leaping at their heels.

When kept as household pets, herding dogs may be driven purely by instinct to softly herd their owners, and particularly the children of their owners.

Popular Breeds:German Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog

Lesser-Known Breeds: Puli, Pyrenean Shepherd, Norwegian Buhund

Group #7: Toys


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Toy dogs are mainly known to just “embody sheer delight” but they are extremely tough.

Most of the time, toy dogs are very popular with those who live in apartment buildings in the city, only because they’re perfectly happy with a smaller living space.

Historically, dogs that are referred to as “toy” or “teacup” dogs were mostly bred to be lapdogs. Or, they were bred down in size to be smaller versions of hunting and working dogs, and were often kept as symbols of affluence.

Popular Breeds:Pug, Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Lesser-Known Breeds: Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, Papillon

Let us knowyourfavorite dog group in the comments below, and

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