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Toy breeds, etc.

Everyone loves toys! The toy breeds are usually just smaller version of larger-breeded dogs. Historically, toy breeds were created as a different kind of working dog. These working dogs work to be attentive, show affection, and remain great companions for their owners. Toy breeds are lovable, easy to put in a bag and carry around, and have eyes to melt hearts (just like the other breeds). Toy breeds may have been the origination of the infamous “puppy eyes.”  

Furry toys

The furry, fluffy toys are everyone’s favorites. They shed a lot, and they are just adorable. We have the Affenpinscher, the Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Papillon, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Toy Poodle, English Toy Spaniel, Shuh Tzu, Silky Terrier, Japanese Chin, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terrier. You’ll notice that some of these breeds are just “toy” version of larger breeds, which means that someone spent a lot of time breeding smaller dogs.  

Hairy toys

No one loves a yappy little hairy toy dog like celebrities. We see these breeds popularized for being cute little, harmless purse dogs. Unfortunately, the media casts these puppies in a negative light, but we should love them just the same. They include: Chihuahua, Miniature Pinscher, Manchester Terrier, Chinese Crested, Pug, Italian Greyhound, and Toy Fox Terrier.  

Non-working dogs

The non-working dog community is truly a hodgepodge of dogs that have almost nothing in common other than that they generally have four legs and generally have wet noses. These dogs are sometimes popular, sometimes not. The origin story of a few of the breeds are vanity-focused, and many of these breeds are very popular within American culture.

The little ones

There are a few little dogs that stand out as non-sporting, even if one or two of them seem like sporting dogs. The Boston Terrier leads the bunch along with the French Bulldog. Similar in stature and often confused for each other, these two dogs are athletic and spunky. Next, we have the Bichon Frise, Miniature Poodle, Löwchen, Lhasa Apso, Schipperke, and Tibetan Spaniel. These are the furry dogs, some a little fluffier than others. These are pretty, mostly showy dogs that don’t have a lot of attributes of athleticism or intelligence.  

The big ones

The big non-sporting dogs are similar to the small ones. There are some very popular breeds like the Dalmatian, Bulldog, and Standard Poodle, which line up as very pretty, but wildly unpredictable breeds. Then, we have the Chow Chow, American Eskimo Dog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Keeshond, Tibetan Terrier, and Shiba Inu. You’d be remiss to mix up some of these breeds for more sporting breeds, but the AKC has their reasons and rationale for categorizing the non-sporting dogs into one, lump category.

Working Dogs

Did you know that the AKC (American Kennel Club) classifies dogs into groups? There are five groups classified as “working” dogs: sporting, working, terriers, hounds, and herding. These groups are very different and were originally bred for different purposes. Let’s examine the breeds in each group.  


The sporting group was created to assist hunters with retrieving feathered game. Retrievers, aptly named, were built to swim and for water game. Setters, spaniels, and pointers were blessed with abilities to grab quail and pheasant in their nests. The variety of sporting breeds is staggering in both size and scope. A lay person would never think to group these dogs together!

We have the American Water Spaniel, Brittney, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, Springer Spaniel, Pointing Griffon, Irish Setter, Weimaraner, Vizsla, German Wirehaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Pointer, and a Duck Tolling Retriever. There are a few others, but these are the most common breeds.  


The working breed are your blue-collar dogs. They pull sleds and carts. These breeds do rescue work, guard homes and animals, and they most certainly protect their humans. These are the dogs that everyone fears and loves at the same time because they are truly man’s best friend. They were bred that way.

Included in the working class are: Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Anatolian Shepherd, Bernese Mountain, Black Russian Terrier, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Mastiff, Doberman, German Pinscher, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, Siberian Husky, Kuvasz, Saint Bernard, Komondor, Swiss Mountain Dog, Rottweiler, and Portuguese Water Dog.  


Short-legged terriers are down and dirty hunters. They don’t hunt out in the open or after a gunshot, they get into holes, under things, and dig out their prey. They get to rodents and varmints, and are wonderful companions with high energy and excitement.

The short-list of terriers are: Airedale, American Staffordshire, Australian, Bedlington, Border, Bull, Cairn, Fox, Irish, Kerry Blue, Lakeland, Manchester, Miniature Bull, Norwich, Parson Russell, Jack Russell, Scottish, Skye, Norfolk, West Highland, Welsh, and Staffordshire Bull!


Hounds run after warm-blooded animals. They are hunters, tough, and durable. They range from fast and swift to extreme smellers who can nose out anything. Hounds are not classified as sporting dogs, but they are often used in sport. We often think of just a hound dog, but, surprisingly, there are over a dozen breeds of hounds.

Hounds include: Bloodhound, Borzoi, Dachshund, English Foxhound, Otterhound, Petit Basset, Irish Wolfhound, Harrier, Greyhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Scottish Deerhound, Whippet, and Norwegian Elkhound. There names sort of give away what they hunt.


Herding breeds are working dogs in the sense of, well, herding. They move livestock. It’s a pretty narrow, but very working-class purposes. These dogs love being around livestock and other animals, and make great farm animals. They are also good at herding humans, and they are among the easiest to train breeds out there.

These breeds include: Australian Cattle, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collie, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Border Collie, Canaan, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Collie, German Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Puli, Shetland Sheepdog, and Briard. As you can see, many of these breeds got their names from what they herd!