Learn more about dog breeds
What is a breed of dog?
The breed is the lowest formal taxonomic rank below species in a system of classification of living things. Breeds are defined for breeding and selection purposes based on their genetic makeup or morphotype. It is characterized by its physical appearance or morphological characteristics, hence the term "morphotype".
The canine species is the one with the largest number of breeds. Today, there are 384 breeds in the world, of which 347 are officially recognized by the International Canine Federation. The federation recognizes more than 170 different dog breeds, each with its own standard that specifies all the required characteristics of the dog: its size, adult weight, coat and color, personality, gait, etc.
Within a breed club or breed association, the country of origin of the breed (for example Germany for the German Shepherd, France for the French Bulldog...) establishes the breed standard. This breed standard once developed and accepted, serves as a reference document for dog breeders and judges who examine purebred dogs.
The different dog breeds
The dog breed diversity is enormous, with tiny dogs weighing less than 2 pounds and huge ones weighing up to 176. These animals, as strange as they may seem, are all members of the Canis lupus familiaris canine subspecies and are believed to have descended from the wolf.
Dog breeds classified into 10 groups
As mentioned above, the International Canine Federation currently recognizes 347 distinct breeds, grouped into ten categories and sub-categories in sections. The system is based on behavioral and physical characteristics. It is as follows:
- Shepherd and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
- Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs, Pinscher or Schnauzer, Molosses, Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs and other breeds
- Spitz and Primitive type dogs
- Hound breeds such as Beagles, Bloodhounds and related breeds
- Pointing Dogs
- Hunting dogs (retriever) - Water dogs
- Pleasure and Companion Dogs
- Sight hounds
Purebred or crossbred: which one to choose?
You need to think about what you want in your dog before making your choice. Obviously, if you plan to enter your dog in a dog show, the breed of the dog will be important to the judges, who will be looking for the best-looking dog of that breed. You can also look for a purebred dog if you appreciate the personality characteristics of a certain type of dog
Purebred dogs: the benefits
If you buy a purebred puppy, you'll know what kind of personality and appearance it should have (in broad strokes) as an adult, as well as its physical characteristics, size and body strengths and limitations. If you are buying a purebred dog from a breeder, he or she will be able to provide you with documentation of your dog's parents so that you can verify the purity of its lineage. They will also be able to help you choose the right breed if you don't know which one to choose, but you know you want a city dog or a dog that would fit in your family with young children, for example.
Do you want a pocket dog, a house dog, or a working dog? Consider the physical capabilities of the different breeds in addition to the qualities you want in your future dog. Some breeds are better suited to defending a territory or working on a farm, while others will do well in an urban apartment and can be moved frequently in a bag or stroller. Miniature dogs are ideal for this, as they are among the smallest domestic canines that remain tiny as adults.
Purebred dogs: the drawbacks
Purebred dogs, on the other hand, have some disadvantages, the most important being their cost: obviously the price varies according to age and breed, but some breeds of dogs are more expensive than others, such as Pharaoh, which can be worth up to $8,000, the Rottweiler, which costs between $2,500 and $8,000, and Akita, which sells for about $4,000.
In addition to the cost of acquiring a purebred dog, there are several disadvantages: hereditary diseases such as pituitary dwarfism in German Shepherds, ichthyosis in Golden Retrievers, cataracts in Australian Shepherds, familial nephropathy in English Cocker Spaniels, crystal dislocation in Jack Russell Terriers and glass bone disease in Dachshunds. Many of these diseases are not to be taken lightly, and it is important to understand the different breed-specific diseases before making your decision!
What about crossbred dogs?
If you choose to purchase a crossbred puppy from a shelter or pet store, the price of the animal will be low or even zero if it is adopted. In this situation, it is impossible to predict what the crossbred puppy will look like as an adult or what its potential qualities will be. Some dogs that have been abandoned or rescued from the pound may be terrified at first, but after getting to know you and seeing that you are a loving, family-oriented person, their fears will disappear. Some shelter dogs have experienced trauma in the past; you are doing a wonderful thing by adopting a dog, but you must be willing to invest in their well-being. However, one thing is certain: your crossbred dog of unknown origins will be eternally grateful for what you have done for him.