Knowing dogs’ breed can help with behavior

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ever wonder why your pooch acts the way it does?

A dog’s actions can be a result of how it is raised or trained, but your dog also has inherited traits.

Purebred dogs were originally bred for a purpose and they still carry those bred-in instincts today.

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The American Kennel Club (AKC) has established seven canine breed groups. They are sporting, working, herding, terrier, non-sporting, hound, and toy groups.

Understanding what group your pup belongs to will help you understand his actions.

Before adding a new four-legged family member, it is a good idea to research the breed you are interested in.

This will ensure that he will be a good fit in your family’s lifestyle.

The sporting breed group includes the cocker spaniel, golden retriever, labrador retriever, and english setter — just to name a few.

The characteristics of the dogs in this group aid these breeds in noticing and finding birds and other game. This may make it difficult to keep their attention.

The spaniels and setters may be classified as overly sensitive and less suitable to live with small children.

The retrievers in this group may be overly insensitive making them better suited for small children.

It is important to note that sporting breeds require vigorous daily exercise, a leisure walk around the block will not be enough.

The working breed group included dogs like the doberman pinscher, bullmastiff, giant schnauzer, saint bernard, and rottweiler.

This group has been bred to be dominant. They were developed to do independent work like guarding and protecting.

Without strong, fair, consistent leadership they will dominate over their master. They can become overly possessive and territorial, so they may be best suited for experienced owners.

The herding breed group includes the german shepherd, border collie, shetland sheepdog, old english sheepdog, and the pembroke welsh corgi.

These pups have a high prey drive. What this means is that they have a strong tendency to chase things like cars, animals, and children.

These dogs are likely to bark when excited. They need mental activity like playing fetch, obedience, and learning tricks.

Herders also have a high need for daily exercise. They are easily trained, because they were bred to work closely with people and they have a high desire to please their owners.

The terrier breed group includes the likes of the miniature schnauzer, wire fox terrier, west highland terrier, norfolk terrier, and the scottish terrier.

Members of the lively terrier Group were bred to hunt vermin and to not back down when attacked.

They are active and tenacious and can respond aggressively when corrected.

They also have a high need for daily exercise and love to play fetch. They love to dig and hunt, so watch them around small animals and flower beds.

In my next article I will discuss the non-sporting, hound, and toy breed groups.

To see the entire list of breeds that belongs to each group, check out the American Kennel Club’s website at

This website you will help you further research your favorite breeds. It is important for all of us to be educated owners. Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop