What Are The Seven Dog Breed Groups and Why Do They Matter

Did you know there are seven different dog breed groups? Find out what they are, their characteristics, origins and breed examples.

Every individual dog has their own personality, but their breed will have a major impact on their character, their behaviour, and their looks. This means that dogs often have inherited characteristics such as having great stamina, a particularly acute sense of smell. or wanting to chase squirrels! These characteristics are similar within certain breeds which is why dogs have been categorised into breed groups. For example, working dogs are likely to need more exercise and gundogs are likely to want to retrieve.

What are the seven Dog Groups?

It may help to bear some of these characteristics in mind when picking a breed as it will give you a general overview of their personality and exercise needs.

That being said, it's important to remember that every dog is different and much of a dog's personality is down to its parents and the way it is raised by its owners.

Mixed breeds also won't fit into the dog group categories but you can also gauge their general needs based on their parent breeds' groups.

Below we’ve outlined more information about the seven breed groups, but you can also use the Tailwise Breed Explorer to find out more detailed information about almost 300 breeds, including crossbreeds.


vizsla dog sitting in a field looking directly at the camera

Origins: Retrieving and hunting game

Characteristics: Usually highly intelligent and keen to learn, making them easy to train. Generally, they are great companion dogs that fit well into families. Will often need lots of exercise and mental stimulation.

Example breeds: Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Hungarian Vizsla


two small beagle running together and jumping over a fallen tree

Origins: Hunting by sight or smell

Characteristics: Most enjoy significant amounts of exercise. Have a tendency to howl. Can be seen as aloof but make loyal and trusting companions.

Breeds in the category: Dachshund, Beagle, Whippet, Basset Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback


four different coloured collies standing together in a field

Origins: Herding and protecting livestock

Characteristics: Generally enjoy being active and working. Enjoy having a 'role' and are eager to please. They usually form strong bonds with one person.

Example breeds: German Shepherd, Border Collie, Belgian Shepherd Dog, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog

Are you wondering which breed is right for you?

Tailwise takes the guesswork out of getting a puppy. We check and verify all our breeders and their litters before they can even be listed on our platform. Use our breed explorer to find the perfect breed for you and apply for available litters.


a west highland terrier running on the beach

Origins: Hunting vermin

Characteristics: Normally feisty and bold. Very energetic with a tendency to be stubborn. Love 'performing' and getting lots of attention.

Example breeds: Jack Russell, Border Terrier, West Highland Terrier, Fox Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Irish Terrier


a brown and white cavalier king charles spaniel running through the woods

Origins: Companionship

Characteristics: Small bodies full of love and affection for their owners. Real people focused dogs. Often fiercely loyal and protective. Don't generally need a lot of exercise.

Example breeds: Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bichon Frise


A dalmatian playing on the beach

Origins: Various - this group contains 'miscellaneous' breeds that were bred for a specific job but don't fit into the other categories.

Characteristics: Very varied due to their different breeding purposes.

Example breeds: Poodle, Shih Tzu, Miniature/Standard Schnauzer, Chow Chow, Dalmatian


a dignified looking rottweiler sitting in tall grass and plants

Origins: Guarding and search and rescue

Characteristics: Usually big and powerful with an instinct to serve and protect their owners. Generally intelligent and easy to train. High exercise and mental stimulation needs.

Example breeds: Siberian Husky, Rottweiler, Dobermann, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard

What about Crossbreeds?

When you mix two purebred dogs such as a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle, you get a cross. This dog breeding technique is widely used to combine different characteristics from each breed (appearance, temperament, and abilities), which allows breeders to create unique dogs such as the Cockapoo, or the Puggle (Beagle x Pug), and many others with some interesting names - e.g what you get when you cross a Havanese and a Shih’ Tzu – I’ll let you work that out.

Many crossbreeds, including Cockapoos, are not officially recognised by the Kennel Club and therefore there is often no "breed standard." However almost every breed, including crossbreeds, will have a national breed club that may have guidelines and standards for crossbreeds. At Tailwise, we love all dogs!

As long as the breeders are responsible, do all the required health testing, and have the health & welfare of their dogs as their number one focus, we're more than happy to accept them.

Example breeds: Cockapoo, Cavapoo, Labradoodle, Pomsky, Cavachon , Goldendoodle

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