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The 7 Different Types of Dog Categories

Time to read: 8 mins

The various categories of dogs are used to separate different breeds of dogs from one another depending on their origins, size and what they were initially bred for. There are seven different categories of dogs each with distinguishing factors.

1. Working

These dogs are not only used as pets, but they can also be put to work and assist us in various activities. This work can be on farms, pulling sleds, guard dogs or service animals. These breeds are typically very smart, incredibly strong and large in size. Breeds in this category include Great Danes, St. Bernard’s and Boxers.


2. Hunting

Hunting dogs can also be referred to as “Working” or “Gun” dogs. They are used for hunting purposes. Due to the fact that these dogs are used for working and hunting, they love to be outside and are very energetic. With this energy comes the need for extensive exercise. There are three sub-categories of hunting dogs, they are:

  • Retrievers- the most popular being Golden Retrievers
  • Flushing dogs- an example of these is a Cocker Spaniel
  • Pointing dogs- Setters fall into this category

3. Utility

Utility or “Non-Sporting” dogs have no working or sporting backgrounds. They can be traced back to some of the oldest breeds in history. This category does not have one specific purpose which means they can range in size, looks and temperament. Some of the breeds in the utility category include French Bulldogs, Poodles and Dalmatians.


4. Toy

These dogs are the smallest category, typically weighing 3 to 5kg’s. They are the perfect lap dogs that will do well living in smaller homes or apartments as they do not take up a lot of space or require copious amounts of exercise. Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians all fall under this group.


5. Hound

They are most widely known for their keen sense of smell and great stamina. They use these skills to sniff out the animals they are tracking and chase their prey once it has been located. Some popular hounds are Beagles, Greyhounds and Whippets.


6. Terrier

These breeds are known to be active, fearless and small in size. They were historically bred here, in the UK, to control unwanted rodents in gardens by digging in the ground to catch them. Some terriers you might know are Jack Russells, Irish Terriers and Bull Terriers.


7. Herding

Herding or “Pastoral” dogs are known for their work in fields to help control grazing sheep and cattle. The Herding group includes all dogs that can be easily trained to help with herding purposes. This is the newest breed category that is recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Before the herding category was created this group was part of the working group. Since these dogs were bred to be running in the fields for hours at a time, they have a lot of energy and require vast amounts of space to run and play. Some of the dogs in this category include Border Collies, Old English Sheepdogs and Corgis.

Knowing which category your dog fits into helps you to understand their instincts and behaviours that run in their breed. Of course, every dog is different and has their own individual personality. No matter the category your dog falls under and the personality they may have, each dog deserves the best life we can give them. Have a look at our wide range of insurance cover to find one that suits you and your dog best.

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