The first few months of your puppy’s life are vital to his development and shape his future behavior. It might surprise you that this journey started long before he was born. Each breed group has characteristics that help shape your new puppy’s personality.
Of course, every puppy is an individual. Even if your pup’s breed is supposed to love swimming, you may end up with one who hates the water!
The AKC (American Kennel Club) has recognized several breed groups, all of which have distinctive characteristics and inherent tendencies.
Examples of the sporting breed group include the Labrador retriever, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Cocker Spaniel, and Weimaraner. These breeds were created to hunt, flush fowl, and retrieve. They are strong, active dogs – sometimes more active than the average family can manage. Retrievers, especially, put everything in their mouths and love to carry things around. If it’s not going to be a duck, it’s likely going
to be your shoes, towels, or remote control!
Examples of hounds include the Basset Hound, Beagle, Greyhound, and Rhodesian Ridgeback. Most hounds were designed to hunt. Some track with their noses, some use their keen sight. Hounds generally have super stamina and are bred to follow a trail for quite some distance. This group has a reputation of being stubborn, but if they are following a trail they tune out everything else! Some also have quite the voice.
The working breed group includes the Akita, Boxer, Great Dane, and Siberian Husky. These dogs were designed to perform jobs. They pull sleds, guard property, and do other tasks that require a strong, physically powerful build. Another active group, these breeds need a lot of exercise or they can become out of control quickly.
Examples of herding breeds include the Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie), and Australian Cattle Dogs. These breeds control the movement of other animals such as sheep, cattle, or ducks. They are sometimes too smart, get bored easily, and find their own entertainment. These breeds may get into trouble herding humans by chasing children or nipping at people’s heels when there is no livestock to manage.
The terrier breed group includes the Bull Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, and West Highland White Terrier (Westie). Terriers were designed to hunt and kill pests such as mice and rats. They are persistent and known for their feisty attitudes. Some terriers are small and their size can trick people into thinking they’ll be easy to care for, but these dogs have a lot of energy and need active outlets.
Examples of toy breeds include the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian, and the Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie). Don’t let their small size fool you. Toys can be terrors if you let them rule the roost. People tend to spoil this group which leads to bratty behaviors. These breeds may not do well with young children because children do not understand how to treat these little guys with respect and careful handling.
The non-sporting breed group includes the Bichon Frise, Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, and Poodle. This is a diverse group so they have several characteristics. Some can be fiercely loyal and aloof with strangers. Others can be cheerful and love to please. Look for individual breed information to better understand this group.
Not an AKC category, but your pup may be a mixture of several breeds and a combination of personality traits. Getting to know each breed may help you understand your pup’s behaviors more clearly.
Learning about your puppy’s genetics can help you avoid getting mad at him for doing something his genes are telling him to do. Additionally, it will help you better understand his motivation and give you more patience in dealing with certain behaviors.