Several hundred dog breeds exist. For a puppy to be a purebred dog, its sire and dam (father and mother) both must be of the same breed, as must its ancestors dating back to the establishment of the breed. Kennel clubs set their own standards. In the United States the American Kennel Club (AKC) determines the standards for breeds it recognizes.

The AKC recognizes six groups: sporting dogs, hounds, working dogs, terriers, toys, and non-sporting dogs. Sporting dogs hunt, locate (point), and retrieve game birds. Hounds hunt all game except birds. Working dogs can do such jobs as herding farm animals, pulling sleds and carts, and guarding life and property. Terriers were once bred to ferret out rodents but are now bred as house pets. Toys are tiny dogs bred mainly as pets. Non-sporting dogs are those purebreds not included in the other categories. Some AKC-recognized breeds are illustrated here.

Main Page - Anatomy of the Dog - Life History of the Dog - Choosing a Dog - Caring for a Dog - Canine Pests & Diseases

Training a Dog - Evolution of the Dog - The Partnership of Dog & Human - Dog Terms - Some Noteworthy Dogs in History