Dog breeds: description and selection

Dogs have been faithful companions of man for thousands of years. They accompany him in big cities and small villages, in mountains and forests, in times of peace and war. Therefore, it is important to understand what breeds exist, where and how they can be used.

How many breeds are there?

The answer to this question is very complicated, even if we take into account all the information of modern zoology and taxonomy. Moreover, each breed has several colors, and the sizes of individuals can vary greatly. The earliest known dogs originally served as watchdogs and hunting aids. Later, they began to separate them according to specific tasks. The scope of individual breeds has changed markedly over time, sometimes repeatedly.

It is also impossible to establish the final exact number of breeds for another reason. Namely, because cynological associations of different countries give different estimates of their number. It’s all about the application of dissimilar criteria, and in many ways also a partiality to the national priority. The World Canine Federation has compiled a list of approximately 400 breeds. But this list is replenished, because new breeds are periodically bred.


One way or another, but the need to streamline and systematize dog breeds arose a long time ago. The very first division predictably turned out to be gradation according to functional purpose. The most massive group of four-legged pets are guard dogs. Their size is not necessarily large (contrary to a common stereotype), but in any case, they have several common features:

  • docile disposition towards the owners;

  • easy passage of training;

  • the obligation of proper education and systematic training;

  • high intellectual level.

It directly depends on the latter circumstance whether the pet will be able to recognize a dangerous situation and respond correctly to an outwardly similar, but harmless, set of circumstances. Shepherd dogs played an equally important role in human life for a long time. For them, in addition to intellectual qualities, the skills of tracking herds are also significant. Brave enough animals were traditionally selected for such a “service”, which would be ready to fight with an aggressive predator.

If among the herding animals shepherd dogs are completely dominant, then burrowing dogs, with rare exceptions, are terriers. Despite the reduction in popularity of burrow hunting to a minimum, they remain in demand due to:

  • significant energy;

  • cheerful temperament;

  • suitability for keeping in a big city.

Together, these qualities allow us to consider such breeds as excellent companions.

The next category is the so-called primitive, they are also indigenous or aboriginal breeds. There is nothing offensive in the word “primitive” here. The point is that the role of human intervention in the formation of such types is relatively small. It boiled down to the selection by the nomadic peoples of the northern regions of Eurasia and North America of certain animals for the transport of people and goods, for hunting and protection.

Vivid examples of native breeds:

  • likes;

  • husky;

  • spitz.

The next group of purebred dogs are the so-called pointers. They are characterized by an excellent reaction to what is happening around and an excellent sense of smell.

Good cops are distinguished by a complaisant disposition.

This allows us to consider them also excellent companions. Often representatives of this group of breeds, such as setter and pointer, participate in exhibitions and even win them.

In hunting, another group of pets is often used – hounds. They are able to track down various animals and pursue them even when running fast. Decent hounds are distinguished by:

  • devotion;

  • minimal whimsical content;

  • self-sufficiency;

  • a tendency to wander.

But the true “elite” of hunting dogs are greyhounds. They are characterized by:

Of the shortcomings, it should be noted that greyhounds are poorly trained.

They bring real benefits only in the hands of experienced owners. The last of the groups generally accepted according to the international classification is decorative dogs. For the most part, they are of insignificant size (although this is not necessary).

In different states and individual cynological associations, a different approach to the classification of breeds may be practiced. For practical purposes, dog breeders sometimes classify their pets by size. Dwarf animals are prized by those who live in a small apartment or modest house.

Such individuals do not require a long walk and can be left alone in the house.

There are many more centenarians among miniature breeds than among large varieties. True, the problem often becomes:

  • susceptibility to various diseases;

  • mental instability;

  • the need for sophisticated care.

Just small pets (up to 0.4 m at the withers, weighing a maximum of 10 kg) are valued for their friendly disposition, curiosity and human orientation. You can safely take such animals with you for a walk or a run in the park, and even on a long hike. They are kept in houses and apartments, but they are hardly suitable for captive keeping.

Medium breeds (such as the Fox Terrier) are excellently trained and make excellent companions for children. But large individuals are used mainly for security, guard purposes and as shepherds.

The coat of the dog also plays an important role. Completely hairless breeds are hypoallergenic, but less resistant to frost than wire-haired and shaggy varieties. In addition, not all people like them purely outwardly. Also distinguished:

  • smooth-haired;

  • long-haired;

  • furry quadrupeds.

The most ancient dogs

Varieties of these animals appeared at different times and under different conditions. Ever since evolutionary research began, experts have been trying to figure out how long ago dogs were born and which ones are older. But previous attempts made in the last century have given unsatisfactory results. Therefore, it makes no sense to turn to the old literature in search of an answer to this question. It is much better to focus on a study conducted in 2004 by geneticists.

The results of the examination show that they:

  • appeared earlier than others;

  • retained most of the ancient features;

  • closest in genome structure to wild wolves (although this point is optional).

In the II millennium BC, such a breed as the Akita Inu appeared in Japan. Even older are such subspecies as Pekingese, Saluki, Samoyed dog. In the 1st millennium BC, the following were bred:

  • afghan hounds;

  • lhasa;

  • shiba inu;

  • Siberian Huskies;

  • Tibetan Terriers;

  • chow-chow;

  • sharpei;

  • shih tzu.

At the second level (slightly later breeds) are:

  • English bulldogs;

  • Newfoundlands;

  • Pomeranian Spitz;

  • German Shepherds;

  • German boxers;

  • bullmastiffs;

  • Swiss Mountain Dogs.

There is an assumption that Akita Inu existed for at least 4 thousand years ago. In our country, however, such animals are almost never found. Alaskan Malamutes are another of the very ancient breeds. This is evidenced by the external resemblance to a wolf. And in Africa, one of the oldest types is the basenji. His unusual trait is his inability to bark.

Species by place of excretion

Listing dog breeds alphabetically is not very appropriate. It is much more correct to distribute them by region of origin.


Among the animals created in Italy, the tall Neapolitan mastiffs attract attention. Their height reaches 0.65-0.75 m, and their weight is from 60 to 70 kg. Such individuals were first used in the ancient Roman period, when fighting dogs were created.

But compared to their ancestors, modern Neapolitans are much calmer, distinguished by devotion to their owners.

Managed to reduce their aggressiveness. Despite these positive properties, the breed is not suitable for keeping in homes with small children. The reasons are a significant mass and a huge size.

A large physique is also characteristic of the ancient Maremmo-Abrutsk shepherd dogs. They try to carry themselves with extraordinary dignity. A characteristic feature of shepherd dogs is fearlessness and constant vigilance. Because of their pride, they are not very suitable for inexperienced dog breeders. At the withers, these animals grow up to 0.65-0.73 m, their weight can be from 35 to 45 kg.


In France, many fashionable varieties of dogs have been bred. No one, of course, will undertake to assert their absolute superiority. However, in any case, they deserve attention. We are talking, for example, about the Bichon Frize (aka French lap dog or Tenerife). Unlike the same basset hounds, the owners will never see sad eyes – the look of these animals is inquisitive.

Tenerife are covered with snow-white hair of a silky texture. Their level of health will please most people.

Advanced intelligence and true devotion to the owner can be considered other positive properties.

There are also Great Danes (bracci) in France. They look no less attractive than spotted Dalmatians. Brakk is distinguished by extraordinary endurance and can hunt in any weather. This breed is recognized as one of the best among the pointing varieties. They are characterized by:

The sensitivity of pets is expressed in resentment for raising the tone, especially for physical punishment. Trainers should avoid unjustified harshness and rudeness. Brakki have a white-brown color. Brown spots have different saturation. French mastiffs, bulldogs, short-haired shepherds also deserve attention.

Basset Hounds are also an attractive French dog breed. They have relatively short, curved legs. The body of the animals is disproportionately elongated. They are covered with brown, juicy red and white spots. Such pets are persistent and proud, but they are good-natured and stay neutral and calm with children.

Hierarchy plays a very important role in this breed. They conduct themselves invariably disciplined. If necessary, they will definitely come to the aid of the owners. The Basset Hound is tolerant towards other animals. You can also get a home and hound ariegois.


There are also various aboriginal dogs on the territory of the country-continent. Australian Cattle Dogs (commonly called Kettle Dogs) stand out for their impressive intellectual development. In this regard, they are at least as good as the Siberian Husky or Husky. “Australians” always turn out to be faithful companions. When necessary, they bravely protect their owners. But in relation to members of their families, animals behave like friends, but do not show much impressive affection.

The height of a kettle dog can reach 0.42-0.5 m, and the weight varies from 15 to 20 kg. Keeping it in an apartment is possible, but not recommended. The demand for the breed is due to:

  • attractive appearance;

  • significant endurance;

  • excellent obedience;

  • unusual origin (from a dingo dog).


On the territory of the Iberian Peninsula, of course, there are also aboriginal types of dogs. There are more than 30 of them, while some of them are still not included in the lists of the World Cynological Association.

Excellent reviews come from the Spanish Alano, which was used in the past:

  • when protecting herds of cattle;

  • when hunting bears, wild boars;

  • for combat operations.

It is not surprising that these animals stand out for their courage and stamina. Alano rushes towards a predator or other enemy, saving the owners, even if he himself is in danger of death. The Spanish Mastiff also has a good reputation. He was bred purposefully to protect the herds, having done significant selection work.

Mastiffs are loyal to their owners, but require constant care, otherwise they often close up and show aggression.

Since ancient times, people have known the Spanish galgo. It was widely used for hunting hare and was considered one of the most valuable greyhounds in the world. Previously, there were special laws that severely punished his abduction or injury. But the Spanish water dogs have become popular companions. They were supposedly brought by merchants from Turkey, and are distinguished by well-developed muscles, therefore they dive and fish well underwater.


On the Korean peninsula, there is such a breed of dog as the Jindo, or, in other words, the Chindokke. The growth of these animals can be from 0.45 to 0.55 m. The mass varies from 15 to 23 kg. Pets are characterized by pronounced sexual dimorphism. The name of the breed is given in honor of the island where it first appeared.

In the description of Korean dogs, it is worth mentioning that there are no written materials about their appearance. But there is reason to believe that the breed has existed since ancient times. It is believed that it has become a side branch of the development of the Mongolian dogs, although there are other versions. Individuals living on the island preserve the characteristic features inherited from long-standing predecessors. Since 1962, the jindo has been declared a national treasure of the Republic of South Korea. A special research center is engaged in their preservation and further development.

The difference from any other Spitz-like breed and hybrid is the proportions of the skull, head as a whole, muzzle and torso. Chindo is smart and strong, he is characterized by vigilance. The breed has two types – muscular and slender. The State Cynological Association of South Korea usually also distinguishes a third subtype – its body is elongated, and the chest is quite deep. Animals can be brindle, fawn, gray, white, black and black and tan.

In the northern part of Korea, the Pungsan hunting breed was bred. Its name comes from the mountainous area where these animals were first created. Outside of North Korean territory, the breed is practically not found. A characteristic feature is a powerful thick coat, mostly white in color. Pungsan often has a hook-shaped tail, his ears are very pricked. These animals are agile and have great strength.


On the territory of the northern part of Great Britain, varieties of four-legged pets no less adapted to bad weather than pungsan are widely found. Among them, the attention of dog breeders has long been attracted by collies. This is not one breed, but rather a whole conglomerate. Professionals usually distinguish border collies and bearded dogs. But the allocation of long-haired and short-haired animals causes intense debate.

Both the world organization of cynologists and its Russian branch recognize them as two branches. But the British themselves believe that short-haired collies should be considered separately. Long-haired dogs have a very vague origin. There are versions about their appearance from:

  • animals used by the Scottish Celts;

  • individuals brought to the island by the Roman conquerors;

  • Icelandic variety.

Collies gained the widest possible distribution thanks to the politics of the Victorian period. Then these shepherds began to be used as helpers of shepherds even in New Zealand and Australia. They were appreciated for their calm disposition and lack of malice. Later, when the relevance of dog escorting herds decreased, the same properties made it possible to make excellent domestic companions from collies. In our country, they first appeared in 1904 as orderlies on the Japanese front.

In Scotland, there are also eared dogs – Scottish terriers. Initially, they were used in hunting foxes, badgers and other inhabitants of deep holes. This breed has been purposefully developed since the 19th century. You can meet the Scottish Terrier almost all over the world. Animals are distinguished by powerfully developed muscles; their head is strong, but at the same time proportional to the body.

Long ears can also boast of Scottish Setters. They are used as gun dogs. Along with hunting use, the “Scot” can be an excellent companion. Cynologists suggest that this variety is descended from spaniels. The size of the individuals grew due to crossing with other dogs (it is usually assumed that these were pointers).

Breeders, with the support of hunters, diligently standardized the setters. Such a specialist as A. Gordon tried to expel the snow-white color. He managed to create a hunting dog ideal for the conditions of Scotland. And it was Gordon’s cattery that was home to the first setter, transported to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. At the beginning of the 21st century, the number of these animals in North America has significantly decreased and now they are extremely rare.

Variety by color


Knowing the names of breeds and their characteristics, of course, is important. But many people primarily pay attention to the color of pets. White animals look charming, which is why you should start with them. Akbash dogs (bred in Turkey) are often an attractive choice. This breed has been rapidly gaining popularity in recent years.

She appreciates life outside the city, and in cramped rooms she does not feel too good.

The large white animal loves to play outdoors and is not prone to aggressiveness. Akbash behaves carefully with small children, with full awareness of the responsibility that has appeared. Despite the color that is considered to be easily soiled in this breed, the dog’s coat remains clean for a long time. It will have to be combed out about 1 time in 7 days.

The white color is also characteristic of the Dogo Argentino – a kind of hybrid of the mastiffs of Spain, bulldogs, wolfhounds of Ireland and a number of other dogs. The key base breed is the fighting dog from Spanish Córdoba. Great Danes can be rambunctious, so thorough training is a must. Argentines are excellent at protecting their homes. They like active games, long walks.

The standard is white color for the bull terrier. It was obtained by hybridizing the English Bulldog with Dalmatians and Terriers. An energetic, strong dog is kind, he will like any activities with the owners. But loneliness, even for a short time, is poorly tolerated.


Very dark wool is also liked by many people. In addition, this coloring is often considered mystical and looking unusual. An example of black dogs is the Affenpinscher, which is also one of the smallest breeds. Affens are mobile and strong, well prepared to catch rodents. The comic effect of appearance is due to the monkey-like muzzle and beard.

In France, there is also a black dog – barbet (although it may have other colors). These animals are of medium size. They are covered with coarse hair that stops cold and moisture. Barbets are described as:

  • friendly;

  • clearly executing commands;

  • fast learning dogs.

Barbets bring undoubted benefits in communicating with children, with families in general and with people of age. The pet will be firmly connected with the whole family and will always be in the same room with the owners, if possible. Such an animal requires systematic physical exertion; without them, his health is upset. Barbets have a natural affinity for water, especially since coarse hair makes it easy to swim regardless of the weather. Also noteworthy is the black Belgian Shepherd Groenendael.


This color is typical for Thai Ridgebacks. But these animals can have gray, and black, and even bluish colors. Breeding animals began several centuries ago. Since visiting Thailand was then impossible for foreigners, for a very long time the breed remained unknown outside the country.

Thai Ridgebacks were obtained by hybridizing spitz-shaped dogs with ordinary-looking hounds. The size of the dogs is not too large, their coat is also short. Animals are agile. It is not difficult for them to jump high or climb to a high place. Loyalty to the host family is accompanied by suspicion of any strangers.


The Brussels Griffons have the corresponding colors. The size of this dog is relatively small. She is able to live from 12 to 15 years. The descriptions note such traits of her character as:

  • a fair amount of anxiety;

  • inquisitive disposition;

  • high emotional sensitivity;

  • vigilance towards everything unusual;

  • a sense of self-importance.

Griffons can have both hard and smooth coats. Based on typical aesthetic standards, the breed is not so beautiful. However, it displays an impressive personality and is appreciated wherever such animals appear. Despite formally belonging to the “toy” category, griffons are by no means pampered.

They need to be fed strictly according to the schedule, since the slightest deviations are dangerous.

The brown color can also be characteristic of the poodlepointer. This is a large dog of German origin. They are used for gun hunting. The legs of the poodlepointer are straight, set well and securely supporting the body. The coat of this breed is dense enough to protect from the weather.


Sometimes any one color of a dog does not suit people. Then it is useful to pay attention to individuals painted in two or more colors. An exceptionally spectacular option is the tricolor color characteristic of collies. Such dogs have a radically black background, with a glossy tint that shimmers in the sun.

Marble, also known as blue merle, is another color of this breed. Such animals were bred quite recently and have not yet had time to become widespread. A silver-blue background dominates in this color. Black marks, spots and veins are placed on top of it. That is why they talk about an elegant marble pattern.

The breed standard welcomes the presence of tan markings. However, individuals should not be culled in their absence. Where stricter the jury of exhibitions refers to the grayish or brown color of the awn and undercoat. Regardless of the specific color, the presence of whitish markings is a mandatory requirement. A special term has even been coined for them – Irish spotting.

A good alternative can be considered a Czech motley dog. This animal was bred by Professor Horak with the expectation of obtaining an ideal companion. Adults are of medium size. They are friendly to the owners, do not cause them any inconvenience with their character and, in addition, they perfectly guard the yard, the house. Motley dogs are adapted for life even on the street, do not require specific food and are distinguished by stable health.

Another type of multicolored animal is the Ecuadorian Catahoula hairless dog. Contrary to the name, these leopard-colored animals appeared in Guatemala when the Peruvian and Mexican branches hybridized. They are extremely difficult to find even in South America. There is not a single kennel or breeder that would offer to buy such puppies. Such animals are considered excellent hunting helpers, however, they are unable to take a trail left more than 2 hours ago.

But their tracking of game takes place in silence. Only occasionally a short bark is heard, and then the pet falls silent. Catahoula tends to keep a reasonable distance from the owner. The predominant hunting specialization is tracking down animals. The dog will not fight with the wild animals themselves.

List of interesting breeds

Information about the color of the pet, of course, is not all. Many are interested in dogs with an unusual appearance, in particular, similar to lions. Such varieties were bred, focusing on the formidable glory of the “king of beasts”. A striking example of this is the Leonberger, bred in Germany. The breeder wanted it to be a dog that looked like a lion from the city coat of arms. In addition to the spectacular appearance, leonbergers boast suitability for protection and for agricultural work. They are mainly used today as companions. This is facilitated by their kindness and poise.

Of the smaller animals, levkhen attracts attention, she is also a small lion dog. Due to the disappearance of the need for a “court” pet, the breed almost disappeared by the beginning of the 20th century, but then enthusiasts restored it.

But lion-like dogs have also been bred outside of Europe. An expressive example is chow-chow. Their purpose is to protect homes and livestock, partly to help in hunting. Stubbornness and devoted disposition are bizarrely intertwined in the nature of animals. A characteristic external feature is a blue-black tongue.

Tibetan mastiffs are similar to the African predator in their mane. Such dogs are used for security purposes and as shepherds. They are very strong and smart. This allows you to provide reliable protection against all kinds of dangers. At the same time, the pet remains calm almost always.

South Russian Shepherd Dogs are also quite popular. They may not look like the majestic African predator, but these dogs with bangs have tens of thousands of devoted followers. White dogs with a benevolent expression should not be misleading – their temper is cruel, and their courage is almost indestructible.

Having correctly positioned yourself in relation to the South Russian Shepherd Dog, there is no doubt that it will become an excellent assistant and friend.

No one knows how this breed appeared: already at the beginning of research, it existed in a significant number of individuals.

If you turn to the top known varieties of dogs, then they are guaranteed to fall into it:

  • yorkies;

  • German Shepherds and VEO;

  • rottweilers;

  • dobermans;

  • labrador retrievers;

  • golden retrievers;

  • spaniels;

  • poodles;

  • siberian huskies.

Some try to choose the most lazy animals. They are ideal for very busy people, as well as for those who do not want to reshape their daily schedule to the needs of a pet. A good choice in this case is the Neapolitan Mastiff. Seemingly aggressive appearance is deceptive. In reality, the character of the beast is affectionate and good-natured.

It is also useful to pay attention to:

  • greyhounders;

  • English bulldogs;

  • basset hounds;

  • shih tzu.

How to choose a pet?

But even the best and most affectionate, according to other people, breeds are not always suitable for people. Often, after a few months, a puppy that looks cute and delivers fun with its behavior begins to create a lot of problems. In order not to have to get rid of a four-legged companion in different ways, it is necessary from the very beginning to choose it as thoughtfully as possible. Even if you liked one option right away, you should definitely get acquainted with other offers. It is possible that they will turn out to be even better in practice.

In this case, you should think about other subtleties:

  • financial opportunities;

  • the amount of free time;

  • conditions for placing the animal in the house;

  • preferences and needs of other family members.

You can often find references to the fact that only anti-allergenic animals are suitable as family animals. But not everything is as simple as it seems. If only because the selection of hypoallergenic breeds is somewhat arbitrary. There are a large number of allergenic substances that appear during the life of a dog. And the danger always exists – the only question is its magnitude.

But allergies aren’t everything. The home conditions of most people do not allow enough space for a large dog. She needs not only space for sleeping, but also for food, and several times more for walking around the house. Little pets will grow up quickly, much faster than children. And therefore, it is very dangerous to be deceived by choosing a puppy that is modest in size.

The calmer the dog, the less problems it causes in the house.

But regardless of the breed, it is worth understanding that small puppies will gnaw on slippers and clothes, wires and shoes, documents and wallets.

Sometimes it makes sense to get a more adult animal. It is necessary to immediately clarify what exactly the dog is for. As a simple companion and ally, it makes no sense to acquire expensive thoroughbreds.

What breed of dog to choose, see the video below.