Get to know your breed of dog

According to Archaeology Magazine, Historians date the existence of the first canine companion back to 15,000 years ago. In those ancient times, the role of the domesticated dog was apparent in art and literature. They were hunters and protectors. Dogs served a purpose and were not the present-day potato couches in the living room.

Throughout the centuries, these same ancient dogs were bred to perform different tasks. The breeding process occurred like a man-made form of Charles Darwin's selective breeding. If a human liked a certain trait, whether it would be short legs or a white-tipped tail, then the dog possessing that characteristic would be bred. Humans would then isolate that gene, so all of the future puppies would inherit the preferred trait. This system is the reason why a Great Dane is so physically different from a Chihuahua. They both are members of the species Canis lupus familiaris but were thoughtfully engineered to appear and act differently.

Humans didn't do this for aesthetics, however. They actually designed each individual breed for specific tasks. Nowadays, most of the orginial tasks are obsolete, but organizations like the American Kennel Club have categorized each dogs' skill sets into groups. Groups provide a lot of insight as to how and why your dog behaves the way he does. The creation of the groups allows people to better understand their dog's impulses and instincts, and why an owner can't change what is hard-wired into his dog's head.

So, if you have a dog or are looking for a dog and want to learn about his heritage, find his group below. Keep in mind that mix-breeds will have a combination of these traits. They are like their own, unique breed.


Terrier Group

Jack Russell Terrier

Most people already know the personalities of terriers, since the word is now commonly used to describe a disliked person. Terriers are feisty, combative and high-energy dogs with an innate drive to chase. Intolerant of smaller animals, terriers will bark, hunt and kill anything they find to be an easy target. Their stubbornness and spunky attitudes make some of the breeds in the group the most hard to train dogs. However, itís well worth it because once put in place, the terrier is extremely loving. A warning to terrier owners, these dogs love to dig. Since their ancestors were bred to exterminate vermin, they naturally dig holes to find prey. Some of the breeds in the group may be small, but terriers are fast and quick-witted.

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Toy Group

Maltese

The dogs that make up the toy group were predominantly created to inspire joy and bring their owners happiness and company. Toy breeds are the ultimate lap dogs. The group has been cleverly named, since the size of these dogs could allow them to pass as little toys. However, one should not be fooled by this, these dogs also pack quite the punch. Toy dogs can be feisty and dominant. They have to have big attitudes and big personalities to make up for their small size.

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Sporting Group

Spaniel

The sporting group hands down has some of the most athletic breeds. Skilled at running, swimming and jumping, these dogs are alert and extremely active. A sporting dog is bred to assist their masters with a certain job. These well-known jobs include retrieving, pointing and hunting. Since it is so deeply ingrained for these dogs to do these jobs, they will still show signs of wanting to work, even if they were not brought up in dog-associated working homes.

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Working Group

Husky

Determined and strong, working dogs are committed to whatever job their masters assign them. From pulling carts and sleds to guarding over land, these dogs use brawn rather than brains to succeed. These dogs are gentle but can be obstinate if not properly trained. Their size and energy levels require a lot of exercise, so they are usually owned for a purpose rather than for sheer looks. These dogs were bred to do as the name suggests, to work and to work hard.

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Non-Sporting Group

Dalmatian

The non-sporting group is kind of like a mish-mash of random dogs that were bred for random purposes. They all once had a purpose but that purpose is now deemed obsolete. For example, Sharpei were ancient attack dogs and Dalmatians cleared the streets for fire carriages. Since these jobs are no longer needed, the dogs are bred purely for aesthetics. They are all excellent companions that may still exhibit their man-made instinctual behavior.

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Hound Group

Beagle

Hounds were most commonly bred for hunting and scent tracking. To this day, these dogs are still being used for those jobs. Their strong sense of smell and stamina allow these dogs to follow a trail seamlessly. These dogs are very athletic and are physically built for their individual jobs. For example, the Bloodhound has unique folds on its forehead that shield its eyes when it lowers its head to pick up a scent. The Greyhound has a long-legged, slender body that allows it to propel itself forward in an instant to catch prey. The Beagle is equipped with a yodel-like bark that alerts its master of nearby game. Finally, the Basset Hound was bred with a white-tip tail, which allows hunters to find them in tall grasses (although this was problematic since some hunters mistook them for foxes).

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Herding Group

Border Collie

These dogs have a low prey drive but do exactly what the name suggests: herd. They are physically fit and bred to turn quickly and efficiently. Although they are not athletic speedsters, herding dogs are persistent and extremely intelligent. They are most known for their great handle on learning many commandsóboth physical and verbal cues. These dogs will pay close attention to their masters and carry out their job to the perfect tee. It is common for herding dogs to nip at the heels of their masters and to have a piercingly sharp bark. They definitely are quite noisy since this is how they convey where they want their subjects to move.

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