Dog breeds

Already in the Bronze Age, about 10 000 years ago, the first attempts of breeding a domestic dog appeared. Today, more than 350 dog breeds are registered with the FCI.
The Fédération Cynologique Internationale, the largest umbrella organization for dog ownership and breeding clubs, now counts over 350 recognized dog breeds. Worldwide, a good 800 breeds can be assumed, whereby a distinction must be made here between dog breeds and varieties of a breed.

Here you can go directly to the dog breed profiles.

Different breeds of dogs sitting on a white background
There are the most diverse breeds of dogs

How to define dog breeds?

Dog breeds are often defined by organizations. Rules and standards are determined by each of these organizations for themselves. But in general it is common that depending on the breed of dog, the height at the withers, roughly speaking the shoulder height, as well as the length and color of the coat or the design of the ears and muzzle play a role.

For the term “dog breed”, the FCI follows the definition of Raymond Triquet, which can be found in the “Encyclopedia of Dogs”:

“The breed is a group of individuals that share common characteristics that distinguish them from other members of their species and are transmissible through heredity. The species arises naturally, whereas the breed is the result of breeding within the framework of cynology.” (Raymond Triquet, “Encyclopedia of Dogs”).

This contrasts species that arise naturally with dog breeds that are created by humans in the first place.

Classification in FCI groups

Lhasa Apso family with puppy
Lhasa Apso family with puppy

The FCI gives each breed a specific designation that identifies the breed as such. The designation is based on the subdivision into corresponding groups and sections.

  • FCI Group 1: This includes shepherd dogs and cattle dogs. A German Shepherd Dog would be eizuordnen accordingly: FCI Group 1, Section 1.
  • FCI Group 2: This group includes Pinscher and Schnauzer in the first section. In the second section there are Great Danes and Mountain Dogs. The third section includes Swiss Mountain Dogs, while the fourth section is reserved for so-called other breeds that cannot be assigned to the following groups.
  • FCI Group 3: Terriers and their subspecies.
  • FCI Group 4: includes the Dachshunds.
  • FCI Group 5 : This includes the top and so-called dogs of the archetype classified. These include European and Asian Spitz, Nordic Sled Dogs, Nordic Hunting Dogs, and Nordic Guard and Herding Dogs.
  • FCI Group 6: This includes the running dogs and bloodhounds.
  • FCI Group 7: This includes the pointing dogs (like most spaniels and setters).
  • FCI Group 8: Here are classified the retrieving, rummaging and water dogs, such as the Labrodor retriever (FCI Group 8, Section 1).
  • FCI Group 9: This includes social and companion dogs. These include Bichons, Poodles, Pekinese, Tibetan dog breeds, hairless dogs, and small mastiff-like dogs. A Chihuahua would be classified in FCI Group 9, Section 6.
  • FCI Group 10: The last group of dog breeds are the greyhounds.
A St. Bernard and a greyhound on a hill
A St. Bernard and a greyhound

How is a dog breed created?

Breeds are created through breeding, a controlled reproduction with the goal of genetic modification. Desirable properties should be enhanced, undesirable properties minimized. Thus, a trait can only be reinforced in a new breeding animal if the parent animals already carry it. Breeding is carried out under established rules. If you want to use your dog as a breeding animal, you have to undergo a breeding value assessment. In this, it is found out which positive or negative characteristics the breeding animal would genetically bring along.

Peat dog: the first way to a dog breed

The first breeding on a dog dates back to the Bronze Age and the Neolithic period. Researchers found bones from the first domestic dogs of mankind in prehistoric Swiss pile dwelling settlements: the Peat Dog or Peat Dog. The skulls were already smaller than wolf skulls and some specimens had kill marks. It can be concluded that peat dogs that did not possess the desired characteristics were killed.

From the description peat dogs resembled wolf tips. For a long time, therefore, the Torfhund was discussed as the ancestor of the Wolfsspitz, but this view is now considered outdated.

Peat dogs were hunting companions and sled dogs for prehistoric people. Graves that were dug especially for the animal companions, like the Zschernitz grave of a peat dog with her puppy, already testifies to a bond between man and animal.

From farm animal to pet

Even into the Middle Ages, there were hardly more than 12 breeds of dogs. They were classified according to their main use. Among them were lead dogs and driving dogs, tracking dogs, greyhounds, shepherd dogs and farm dogs (Hovawarth). In the late Middle Ages, there was already targeted sexual isolation. Thus, breeding with street dogs was avoided from the beginning. For a long time, the most important characteristics of a breed were defined only by agility, endurance and hunting success.

It was not until the 19th century, when the first dog breed standards were established and the first dog shows were organized, that today’s characteristics, such as appearance and color strike, also came under scrutiny. Finally, with the Industrial Revolution, these characteristics became decisive, because dogs were no longer seen as a mere labor force. The useful and domestic animal soon became a pet, which served as an ornament or as a substitute for a partner.

Most dog breeds originated in Great Britain. The first dog show took place on 28. and 29 June 1859 in England. Four years later, from July 14 to 16, 1863, the first dog show was also held in Germany, in Hamburg.

The most popular dog breeds in Germany today include Chihuahua, Labrador, French Bulldog, German Shepherd and Australian Shepherd.

On the following pages these and other dog breeds are described.

Dog breed profiles

Affenpinscher profile
Afghan hound
Afghan hound
Airedale Terrier
Airedale Terrier
Akbash profile
Akbash, an Anatolian shepherd dog
Akita Inu Profile
Alano Español profile
Alano Español
Alaskan Malamute Profile
Alaskan Malamute
Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
PROFILE Alpine Badger Bracke
Alpine badger bit
American Bulldog Profile
American Bulldog
American Staffordshire Terrier Profile
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier Profile
American Pit Bull Terrier
Appenzeller Mountain Dog Profile
Appenzeller Mountain Dog
Australian Cattledog Profile
Australian Cattledog
Beagle profile
Australian Shepherd make great family dogs with sufficient socialization.
Australian Shepherd
Bearded Collie Profile
Bearded Collie
Bernese Mountain Dogs like walks, but they are not high performance athletes
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bodeguero Andaluz profile
Bodeguero Andaluz
Saint Bernard profile
Saint Bernard
Border Collie Profile
Border collie
Bouvier des Ardennes profile
Bouvier des Ardennes
Bouvier de Flandres profile
Bouvier de Flandres
Boxer profile
Bull terrier profile
Bull Terrier
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Profile
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cão da Serra da Aires
Herding dog with harness on the coast
Cão de Castro Laboreiro
Cão Fila de São Miguel profile
Cão Fila de São Miguel
The portrait on the side shows a classic Chihuahua
Chow Chow Profile
Dachshund profile
Dachshund or dachshund
Dalmatian profile
Great Dane profile
Great Dane
German Wire Hair Profile
German wire hair
German Pinscher Profile
German Pinscher
German Shepherds come in many colors.
German shepherd dog
Doberman profile
Eurasier profile
The classic image of a French Bulldog.
French Bulldog
Galgo Español profile
Galgo Español
A classically beautiful Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever
Large poodle profile
Large poodle
Great spitz profile
Havanese profile
Kerry (Irish) Blue Terrier Profile
Irish (or Kerry) Blue Terrier
Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers come with rough and smooth coats.
Jack Russell Terrier
Kerry (Irish) Blue Terrier Profile
Kerry (or Irish) Blue Terrier
Portrait of a small spitz
Small spitz
Small poodle profile
Small poodle
The three possible colors of the Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever.
Landseer profile
Longhair Collie
Longhair Collie
Leonberger profile
Maltese profile
Middle schnauzer profile
Medium Schnauzer
A classic fawn pug with black mask
Middle Pointe Profile
Medium point
Newfoundland profile
Old English Bulldog Profile
Old English Bulldog
Poodle profile
Poodle – overview page
Pekingese profile
Rafeiro do Alentejo profile
Rafeiro do Alentejo
A classic rhodesian ridgeback
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Giant Schnauzer Profile
Giant Schnauzer
Rottweiler profile
Samoyed profile
Shiba Inu profile
Shiba Inu
Terriers are originally hunting dogs and as such need a lot of exercise and a task.
Terrier – overview page
Tosa Inu Profile
Tosa Inu
Toypoodle profile
Wolfspitz profile
A Yorkshire Terrier with typical coat color.
Yorkshire Terrier
Dwarf Pinscher Profile
Dwarf Pinscher
Dwarf Poodle Profile
Miniature poodle
Miniature Schnauzer Profile
Miniature Schnauzer
Dwarf spitz profile
Pygmy spitz


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