How many dog breeds are there in the world?

Classification of Dog breeds

We all love dogs they are one of the best pets to have. Dogs, however, have a wide range of breeds and it can be hard to believe that the Chihuahua and the Great Dane Giant are almost genetically identical while one being minuscule compared to the other as if they are completely separate animals.

But the big difference in attributes like their legs, ears, and temperaments are mostly due to the selective reproduction system controlled by man. There are hundreds of dog breeds and it’s increasing too. Selective breeding is also being done so the actual number of dog breeds is never an exact number.

The World Dog Organization is an international federation of dog clubs in 84 different countries. Some of the excluded countries are the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.

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In such countries, the governing bodies for determining breeds of dogs and breed standards include the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC), British Kennel Club (KC), and the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Organizations like these are mostly responsible for determining which dogs meet the requirements of a breed, as well as setting and applying breed standards in each of their respective states.


New breeds and how they are made

New races are created due to accelerated evolution controlled by us. All dog breeds that exist today all come from wolves and each has adapted over time and developed specific traits, from appearance to physical appearance and personality.

The number of breeds of dogs in the world is evolving constantly, and the number of recognized dog breeds mostly depends on the organization that recognizes it. As of today, AKC recognizes around 195 breeds and 79 breeds are working to achieve their full recognition.

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To establish a breed also requires researching the health and characteristics of the type of dog and establishing some rules to ensure that breeders raise healthy dogs and the process is done safely and ethically.

The AKC number on recognized breeds can change every year when new breeds are recognized or new breeds are created. Interestingly, some of the recognized races are not very new. Many have been around for years, some for hundreds of years!

A good example of this would be a French water dog the Barbet, that has existed since the 16th century.

Even after existing for so long it was not officially recognized by the AKC until 2020 and was one of the most recent breeds to participate in the Westminster Dog Show 2020.

The Argentine Dog is another good example. The big game was released in 1928 but was not officially recognized by the AKC until 2019.

To establish a breed, researching the health and characteristics of the type of dog and establishing some rules to ensure that breeders raise healthy dogs and the process is done safely and ethically is required.

Each dog breeds have a slightly different lifespan than the other. Some live for 10-13 years while others exceed 15years of life span effortlessly. Dogs that live the longest tend to have smaller body frame but there are exceptions to that rule.

Since there are too many dog breeds currently and the number keeps changing the governing bodies have divided dogs into groups following their skills.


Classification of Dog breeds

The major dog breed governing bodies divide the breeds into groups basing it on the intention of the dog breed and what job it was meant to serve to have bred that way. The AKC divides the breed into 7 categories.


1. Hound – Both Sighthounds are included in this group. They were originally bred to track having an amazing sense of smell. Nowadays some work to find missing children while others help to find stuff like illegal drug transportation and finding victims of earthquakes under rubbles.


2. Sporting – These dogs are great for hunting and were bred specifically for helping their owners hunt. The AKC recognizes this group as “gundogs.” The Labrador, spaniels, and the Irish setter and setter breeds are part of this group.


3. Grazing: Grazing breeds were initially selected to help control animals such as sheep and cattle. They tend to be agile and intelligent, easy to train, and sensitive to human commands. This is why some herd breeds, such as the German Shepherd, are also excellent police, military, and search and rescue dogs.


4. Terriers: Dogs in this group were originally bred to help control rodent populations. Energetic and smaller one’s burrow after rats and other rodents, while larger ones tend to dig their prey nests.


5. Toy: The toy group includes all smaller breeds. Some, such as the Yorkshire terrier (group terrier) or toy poodle (non-sports group) would be classified elsewhere, if not for their small size. Generally, under 10 kilograms, these are purebred dogs raised mainly for the company.


6. Work: Work breeds are those bred to perform a specific job that does not include. This includes sled dogs such as the Siberian Husky, search and rescue dogs such as St. Bernard and older breeds such as the Rottweiler, which according to the Rottweiler Club of Great Britain was bred to protect animals placed on the market.


7. Non-sports: this group is intended for competitions that are not easily classified in other groups. Non-athletic dogs include Dalmatian, Poodle, and Chow Chow, as well as other dogs, bred simply for a company or for roles that are not included in the other main categories.

Making a new breed official

Before the AKC considers a breed to be official, the new breed must have a population of at least 300-400 dogs, covering at least three generations. There should also be a national puppy club dedicated to this new breed that includes at least 100 members spread across no less than 20 states.

The club needs to also have an established set of standards. Qualifications are also required such which a dog must meet to be considered part of the breed. Once race meets all of the above requirements, it can apply to the AKC for official race status. If approved, the breed can compete at AKC affiliated dog shows.

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