Remember the song? How much is that doggie in the window? The one with the waggly tail?
Imagine a little boy or girl, standing in front of the pet store window, looking at all the cute puppies inside. The puppies are all so cute, and they want to take every one home, right? You want to take them home too!
But, did you ever think about where dogs come from? Why dogs come in so many different breeds, shapes, sizes and colors?
How is the fur all so different? Some dogs have long fur, some short, and even some dogs have no fur? There are even dogs who have hair instead of fur!
Some dogs shed, some slobber, and some are non-shedding with no dander. How did dogs get to what they are today?
Each dog has its own personality. Dogs are friendly, hopefully. They will lick your face. Dogs can take you for a walk. You can teach them tricks! And they snuggle up with you at night. All we have to do is feed them, give them water and exercise, and love them! Right?
Yes, dogs come in all shapes and sizes, colors and hair length. That perfect dog is waiting for you! Come with us to learn more about dog breeds.
My dog came from a wolf???
It has been said that every dog has a bit of wolf in her. There is a lot of controversy about the evolution of dogs, but it seems that everyone agrees that now-extinct ancient gray wolves are the original ancestors of today’s dogs.
Dogs became more domesticated as the humans did. As time went on, dogs were bred for specific chores and activities. For example, the large Mastiff type dogs were used for guard dogs. Swift Greyhound types were used to chase down fast game.
As a result, specific breeds began to emerge. The Greyhound type dogs were the foundation for the huge Irish Wolfhound and the small Italian Greyhound breeds. All three have a distinct family resemblance, but they would never be mistaken for each other.
Today, “type” and “breed” of dogs are distinct from each other. Dog “types” are broad categories based on what the dog looks like, its working ability, or what its lineage is. The easiest way to explain “breed” is to say it always “breeds true.” Breeding a purebred poodle with a purebred poodle will always product dogs who are recognizable as purebred poodles.
The American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the U.S. The AKC defines itself as as the recognized and trusted expert in breed, health and training information for dogs. They promote and sanction events for purebred dogs including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the National Dog Show and the AKC National Championship.
Wow! Today, there are over 340 dog breeds known throughout the world, but the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes only 192 breeds. The AKC has established each of these recognized breed’s ideal physical traits, movement and temperament and recorded them in a written document called a “breed standard.”
The AKC standard for each breed originates with a “parent club” which the AKC has identified as a national club devoted to a particular breed of dog. The breed standard must be approved by the AKC and becomes the breeder’s blueprint for their dogs. It is also used as an identifying instrument for dog show judges to evaluate the dog and the breeder’s work.
The AKC groups dog breeds into nine groups
The AKC’s nine groups are: the working group, sporting group, toy group, herding group, hound group, terrier group, non-sporting group and miscellaneous class. We have linked the groups listed below to the AKC site so you can see all the dogs that are included in each group. It is amazing how many dogs, shapes and sizes are around us!
- The working group includes Doberman Pinschers, Siberian Huskies and Great Danes, to name just a few. These dogs are quick to learn, intelligent, strong, watchful and alert.
- The sporting group includes spaniels, pointers, retrievers and setters. These dogs are known for their superior instincts in water and woods and they enjoy hunting and other field activities.
- The toy group includes, among others, the Italian Greyhound, the Havanese and the Maltese. These dogs are small in stature but have huge personalities! They are affectionate, sociable and adaptable to a wide variety of lifestyles.
- The herding group was part of the Working Group until 1983. They were bred to gather, herd and protect livestock. Today, the group ranges from the German Shepherd to the Australian cattle dog in variety.
- The hound group has always been used for hunting. Some have huge ears and most have a unique baying sound when tracking quarry. This is a diverse group and includes dogs as different from each other as Afghan Hounds and Beagles.
- The terrier group is a group of dogs that range from large to small size, but are known to be feisty and energetic. They were bred to hunt and kill vermin and protect their families. These dogs are very stubborn, have high energy levels and require a special type of grooming known as “stripping.” Terriers include Airedale terriers and Cairn terriers.
- The non-sporting group is very difficult to define as the members are so different in size, coat, personality and overall appearance. Non-sporting group dogs include French Bulldogs, Chow Chows, Dalmatian, Poodle and Lhasa Apso.
- The miscellaneous class of dogs includes breeds that are not yet accepted into AKC regular status and not recognized as an AKC recognized breed. But the dogs that are eligible to participate in the miscellaneous class are still enrolled in the AKC Foundation Stock Service until the AKC Board of Directors accepts the breed for regular status.
You can see that there are many options for the perfect dog for you and your family. You just have to get out and meet that dog, and you won’t regret it!!