What is Breed Type and Why Does It Matter?

When looking for a new canine companion, it’s important to consider not only a dog’s personality and temperament but also its breed type. Breed type refers to the physical characteristics of a breed, such as size, shape, and coat type. Understanding breed type can help you choose a dog that will fit well into your lifestyle and meet your specific needs. In this article, we will explore the concept of breed type in more detail and discuss why it matters when choosing a dog.

Understanding Breed Type

Breed type refers to the physical characteristics that are unique to a specific breed. This includes the size, weight, coat type, and overall appearance of the breed. Breed type is what distinguishes one breed from another, and it’s what makes each breed unique. For example, a Great Dane has a very different breed type than a Chihuahua, with the Great Dane being a giant breed and the Chihuahua being a toy breed.

Different Types of Breed Type

There are several different types of breed type that you should be familiar with when choosing a dog. These include:

Working breeds: These breeds were originally developed for specific jobs, such as hunting, herding, or guarding. Examples of working breeds include the German Shepherd, Boxer, and Rottweiler.

Herding breeds: These breeds were developed for herding and managing livestock. Examples of herding breeds include the Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog, and Old English Sheepdog.

Hound Group: Hounds were originally bred for hunting, using their keen sense of smell to track game. Examples include the Beagle, Bloodhound, and Greyhound.

Sporting breeds: These breeds were developed for hunting and retrieving game. Examples of sporting breeds include the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and Cocker Spaniel.

Hound breeds: These breeds were developed for hunting and tracking game. Examples of hound breeds include the Bloodhound, Greyhound, and Basset Hound.

Terrier breeds: These breeds were originally developed for hunting and killing vermin. Examples of terrier breeds include the Jack Russell Terrier, Scottish Terrier, and Airedale Terrier.

Toy breeds: These breeds were developed as companion dogs and are generally small in size. Examples of toy breeds include the Chihuahua, Pomeranian, and Shih Tzu.

Non-sporting breeds: These breeds don’t fit into any of the above categories and were developed for a variety of purposes, such as guarding or companionship. Examples of non-sporting breeds include the Bulldog, Dalmatian, and Poodle.

Why Breed Type Matters

Understanding breed type is important when choosing a dog because it can give you an idea of what to expect from a particular breed in terms of behavior, energy level, and exercise needs. For example, a working breed like the Border Collie will require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while a toy breed like the Chihuahua will be content with shorter walks and playtime indoors.

Breed type can also give you an idea of what a dog’s temperament might be like. For example, many hound breeds have a strong prey drive and may not do well in homes with small animals like cats or rabbits. On the other hand, many sporting breeds are known for being friendly and good with children.

Knowing a breed’s type can also help you understand what kind of training and socialization a dog may need. For example, terrier breeds can be stubborn and independent, so early training and socialization are important to help them become well-behaved members of your household.

Understanding Breed Standards

Breed standards are descriptions of the ideal physical and behavioral characteristics of a particular breed of dog. They were originally created by kennel clubs and breeders to maintain the integrity and purity of a breed by ensuring that breeding stock meets certain criteria. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) are two of the most well-known organizations that have established breed standards for many breeds.

Breed standards typically include details about a breed’s physical appearance, including height, weight, coat color, texture and length, head shape, eye color, and more. They also often include information on temperament, behavior, and working ability. For example, the breed standard for the Border Collie, a working breed, emphasizes the breed’s intelligence, trainability, and endurance.

However, some critics argue that breed standards can also be problematic. In some cases, breed standards have led to the creation of dogs with exaggerated physical features that can cause health problems. For example, the breed standard for the Bulldog calls for a large head and short snout, which can lead to breathing difficulties and other health issues.

Furthermore, breed standards can create a narrow focus on physical appearance at the expense of other important factors, such as temperament and behavior. This can lead to breeders prioritizing appearance over health and wellbeing when making breeding decisions.


Understanding breed type is essential for dog owners and those considering adding a dog to their family. By understanding breed characteristics and behaviors, exercise and health requirements, and training needs, you can provide the best possible care and ensure a happy and healthy life for your dog.

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