4. how do I know in which group my dog is classified?
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 9:57 AM                


Why are dogs classified in groups?

While the most common function of today's dog ( Canis familiaris ) is primarily as companion and pet, there are many breeds of dog that have specific functions and have been carefully bred through the centuries to perform these duties in a particular way. In addition to the different tasks they perform (or used to perform), the more than 400 breeds worldwide differ enormously in terms of appearance – size, colour, coat, physical characteristics, and behaviour. It was only natural, therefore, that man should find a way to classify them into categories of similarity – largely according to their intended function.

And so the grouping systems arrived. Various countries follow different grouping classifications. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), a world canine organisation, organises breeds into 10 groups, while South Africa , Britain , New Zealand , Australia , USA and Canada follow a 7-group system, although with slightly different classifications in each country.

What are the group classifications in South Africa ?

Gundog Group
These dogs were bred to point at, flush, and retrieve game birds on land and in water. They were bred to work one-on-one with game hunters and are intrinsically very responsive and biddable. Because of their loyal nature and willingness to please, many Gundogs are chosen to serve as guide dogs. (The breeds listed in bold below are those currently seen regularly or sometimes in South African show rings)

Bracco Italiano, Brittany, Cesky Fousek, German Short-haired Pointer , German Wire-haired Pointer , Hungarian Viszla , Italian Spinone, Kooikerhondje, Large Munsterlander, Pointer , Retriever (Chesapeake Bay), Retriever (Curly Coated), Retriever (Flat Coated) , Retriever (Golden) , Retriever (Labrador) , Setter (English) , Setter (Gordon) , Setter (Irish Red & White) , Setter (Irish) , Small Munsterlander, Spaniel (American Cocker) , Spaniel (Clumber), Spaniel (Cocker) , Spaniel (English Springer) , Spaniel (Field), Spaniel (Irish Water) , Spaniel (Sussex), Spaniel (Welsh Springer) , Stabyhoun, Weimaraner .

Herding Group
These dogs were essentially bred to help shepherds and ranchers herd their livestock. It is a relatively new group, having been separated during the early 1990s from the Working Group, although their purpose is ancient. A good herding dog has an ‘eye' for the animals it needs to herd and persuades them to move with the least amount of disturbance. These are intelligent, active, athletic dogs, eager to please and love to work. (The breeds listed in bold below are those currently seen regularly or sometimes in South African show rings)

Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Australian Cattle Dog , Australian Kelpie, Australian Shepherd , Bearded Collie , Beauceron, Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael) , Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois), Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) , Belgian Shepherd Dog (Terveuren) , Berger Picard, Border Collie , Bouvier des Flandres , Briard, Collie (Rough) , Collie (Smooth), Corgi (Cardigan Welsh) , Corgi (Pembroke Welsh) , Hungarian Kuvasz, Hungarian Puli , Kangal Dog, Komondor, Lancashire Heeler, Maremma Sheepdog, Old English Sheepdog , Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Pyrenean Sheepdog , Samoyed , Shetland Sheepdog , White Swiss Shepherd Dog.

Hound Group
Arguably the most ancient group of dogs, bred to hunt and pursue game. It includes dogs that work in packs and some that work alone or in small groups. Some hunt primarily by scent and are called Scenthounds. They possess incredible stamina and can pursue quarry relentlessly, even to their burrows. Sighthounds, the other sub-group, are the long-legged, deep-chested athletes of the group – very fast and keen of sight. (The breeds listed in bold below are those currently seen regularly or sometimes in South African show rings)

Afghan Hound , Azawakh, Basenji , Basset Artesien Normand, Basset Fauve de Bretagne, Basset Hound , Bavarian Mountain Hound, Beagle , Bloodhound , Bluetick Coonhound, Borzoi , Coarse-haired Styrian Hound, Dachshund (Miniature Long-haired) , Dachshund (Standard Long-haired) , Dachshund (Miniature Smooth-haired) , Dachshund (Standard Smooth-haired) , Dachshund (Miniature Wire-haired) , Dachshund (Standard Wire-haired) , Deerhound, Elkhound, Finnish Spitz, Greyhound , Hamiltonstovare, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Otterhound, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Pharoah Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback , Saluki , Sloughi, Spanish Greyhound, Thai Ridgeback Dog, Whippet.

Terrier Group
Terriers were bred for their tenacity to hunt vermin, such as rats. These dogs are fearless by nature and highly inquisitive. They are ‘pets with personality' and highlight in exploring their surroundings. Short-legged Terriers were bred to ‘go to earth', while longer-legged Terriers hunted larger game, such as badgers and foxes. Both were often used to drive vermin out of their burrows to be chased by packs of hounds. Bull-type Terriers were originally used for guarding and pit-fighting. (The breeds listed in bold below are those currently seen regularly or sometimes in South African show rings)

Airedale Terrier , American Staffordshire Terrier , Australian Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Border Terrier, Bull Terrier , Bull Terrier (Miniature) , Cairn Terrier , Cesky Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Fox Terrier (Smooth) , Fox Terrier (Wire) , Glen of Imaal Terrier, Irish Soft Coat Wheaten Terrier, Irish Terrier , Jack Russell Terrier , Kerry Blue Terrier , Lakeland Terrier , Manchester Terrier , Norfolk Terrier , Norwich Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier , Scottish Terrier , Sealyham Terrier, Skye Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier , Welsh Terrier , West Highland White Terrier .

Toy Group
Toy dogs have been fashionable for centuries amongst the royalty, whereafter they became popular amongst ordinary families because of their easy-to-manage size and qualities of companionship. Toy dogs did not evolve naturally, but were specifically bred to be diminutive and often heavily coated to permit plenty of pampering and cuddling. Due to their small size and sensitivity to the environment, Toys would have difficulty surviving without human care. (The breeds listed in bold below are those currently seen regularly or sometimes in South African show rings)

Affenpinscher, Australian Silky Terrier, Bichon Frise, Bolognese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel , Chihuahua , Chinese Crested Dog , Coton du Tulear, English Toy Terrier, Griffon Belge , Griffon Bruxellois , Havanese , Italian Greyhound , Japanese Chin , King Charles Spaniel, Löwchen , Maltese , Miniature Pinscher , Papillon , Phaelene, Pekingese , Petit Brabancon , Pomeranian , Pug , Yorkshire Terrier .

Utility Group
This is a category that includes all dogs that have not been classified elsewhere or whose function is no longer applicable, like the Dalmatian who used to be a carriage dog and the Bulldog, who used to bait bulls. It is a diverse group, most of which now serve mainly as companions. (The breeds listed in bold below are those currently seen regularly or sometimes in South African show rings)

Akita, Boston Terrier , Bulldog , Canaan Dog, Chow Chow , Dalmatian , French Bulldog , German Spitz (Mittel), Keeshond, Lhasa Apso , Peruvian Hairless Dog, Poodle (Miniature) , Poodle (Standard) , Poodle (Toy) , Schipperke , Schnauzer (Miniature) , Shar Pei , Shiba , Shih Tzu , Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier .

Working Group
These are dogs that are bred and trained for specific working tasks, such as pulling sleds, guard property, humans and livestock, hunting large game. Most are large and have large food and exercise requirements. Typically, the breeds in the group are intelligent and easily trainable. (The breeds listed in bold below are those currently seen regularly or sometimes in South African show rings)

Alaskan Malamute , American Akita , Appenzeller, Bernese Mountain Dog , Black Russian Terrier , Boerboel , Boxer , Bullmastiff , Canadian Eskimo Dog, Central Asian Shepherd Dog, Corso Dog, Dobermann , Dogo Argentino, Dogue de Bordeaux, Eskimo Dog, Estrela Mountain Dog, Fila Brasileiro, German Shepherd Dog , Giant Schnauzer , Great Dane , Hovawart, Landseer, Leonberger, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff , Newfoundland , Norwegian Buhund, Pinscher, Portuguese Water Dog, Pyrenean Mountain Dog , Rottweiler , Saint Bernard , Siberian Husky , Swedish Vallhund, Tibetan Mastiff, Tosa.

© Joy McFarlane : SHOWDOGS

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