Best in Show: Can You Assign These Dogs to Their Breed Groups?

By: Maria Trimarchi
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Have you ever seen a Min Pin herder? Or a toy Great Dane? The American Kennel Club organizes dog breeds into seven groups, classified based on the original task each breed was bred to perform. See how many dogs you can match to the AKC's recognized breed groups, which include: the Herding Group, the Hound Group, the Non-Sporting Group, the Sporting Group, the Terrier Group, the Toy Group, and the Working Group.

Golden Retrievers, known for their friendly and gentle temperament, as well as their ease to train, were bred to help hunters retrieve shot birds, including game birds and waterfowl. They are also a popular choice as a family dog and are in the Top 3 of most-popular family dogs in U.S. homes.

Perhaps known best for the role of Lassie, Collies are well-known as intelligent and affectionate dogs. But they're also very active, and are good at assisting with driving and herding livestock.

Despite its small stature, the Chihuahua, part of the Toy Group, is among the Top 10 dogs recommended as watchdogs. They make happy and loyal companions, but without proper socialization, the breed can be reserved, or, sometimes, unfriendly to strangers.

The cute and loyal Beagle was originally bred to hunt in packs, and, known to follow their noses, are excellent hunting dogs. It's the breed's amazing sense of smell​ that makes them a good member of the Hound Group. In fact, a team of Beagles called The Beagle Brigade, been used by the Department of Homeland Security to find food in luggage at airports.

The Doberman Pinscher was bred to be a guard dog, and is considered one of the most trainable breeds. They're fearless and loyal, and considered an elegant member of the Working Group.

Dignified, graceful, and usually pretty mellow, Greyhounds can reach speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour, which is how they earned the nickname, 'Ferraris of the dog world.' That makes them a sighthound, a type of hound dog that primarily hunts by speed and sight.

Min Pins, nicknamed the King (or Queen) of the Toys, resemble a Doberman Pinscher but stand only about a foot at the shoulder. They're known to be energetic, and to trot a bit like a hackney horse. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1929, sorting them into the Toy Group.

The AKC recognized the French Bulldog more than a century ago, classifying it into the Non-Sporting Group in 1898 -- right around the time the breed was in vogue among Americans. Frenchies require little exercise, and do best in the role of lap warmer.

Dogs in the AKC's Sporting Group are known to be likable​, well-rounded, and naturally active -- in fact, most will need frequent exercise. And the Labrador Retriever, one of the most popular breeds in the U.S., fits right in. Before the breed was named as we know it today, it was called St. John's Water Dog, St. John's Dog, or, also, Lesser Newfoundland.

Did you know that the Chinese Shar-Pei is one of just two dogs that have a black tongue? The other is the Chow-Chow. The Shar-Pei's characteristic loose skin, concentrated near the head, neck, and shoulders, may make them look all wrinkly and cute, but those extra folds are actually protection during fights. It's believed that the Chinese Shar-Pei breed has been around since at least 200 B.C., where it's thought to have originated near the village of Tai Li. The AKC classifies them as members of the Non-Sporting Groupo.

Considered highly-intelligent and highly-trainable, Border Collies excel in sports, agility, tracking, and, herding, which they were bred to do. Part of the Herding Group, this breed of dog is -- and has long been -- used to assist with moving sheep or cattle.

Rottweilers, which are believed to date back as far as the Roman Empire, have been guard dogs, drafting dogs, and police dogs. They were recognized by the AKC in 1931, and classified into the Working Group because of their natural desire to control.

Each year, between 2003 to 2005, a Chinese Crested named Sam won the World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Chinese Crested, part of the Toy Group, are entertaining little dogs who like to make you happy. They're either hairless or "powderpuff," and weigh only about 10 pounds.

This large Working Group dog from the Alps in France, Switzerland, and Italy was originally bred for rescue, especially alpine rescue -- and can weigh up to as much as 260 pounds. In addition to rescues, the Saint Bernard dog breed also like to pull carts, babysit, and drool.

Because they are active and playful, Poodles can benefit from training -- or they may become bored and destructive. The Standard Poodle, which is the oldest, and Miniature Poodle sizes are both classified in the AKC's Non-Sporting Group.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is no different than other sporting dogs -- they're built for agility, endurance, and power, and love to run. They may be high-energy, but they're also a friendly breed that wants to please you.

German Shepherds have strong guarding instincts, which makes them great guard dogs, rescue dogs, and guide dogs for the blind. Part of the Herding Group, these dogs are not only smart and confident, they're all-purpose workers.

The Bichon Frise is a bit of a show-off, and was once popular in French royal courts in the 16th century. Part of the AKC's Non-Sporting Group, these little dogs are gentle but can benefit from obedience training.

Samoyeds have a very dense, double-layer coat of fur. But the breed's most distinguishing characteristic may be its tail, curled and touching the dog's back. While a "Sammy" wouldn't make a very good guard dog, they are instinctive herders -- they're even known to try to herd kids.

Because it's the largest of the terrier breeds, which are small and wiry dogs, Airedales are known as the King of Terriers. And like other terrier breeds, the Airedale was bred to hunt and retrieve. They're very active, and eager to please.

Did you know that they even have spots in their mouths? The spots may be cute, but they come with a dark side: around one-third of all Dalmatians are deaf. With a working and sporting history, Dalmatians are talented and versatile. The AKC classifies them as Non-Sporting, and they may best be recognized as firehouse dogs.

Its wrinkled, short-nosed face and underbite are classic features of the Bulldog breed. Part of the Non-Sporting Group, this breed is a want-to-be-lap dog. They're quiet, get along with other dogs and pets, and generally like kids.

Sometimes called a "Miniature Collie," the Shetland Sheepdog was originally recognized as a breed in the Herding Group by the AKC in 1911. Shelties, as they're also known, are energetic and willing to please, and are instinctively good herders who also make good therapy dogs.

Part of the AKC's Hound Group, the Afghan Hound is specifically bred for its cold-weather characteristics. Underneath, this breed is an agile hunter -- with a bit of a silly streak.

One of the largest of the Toy Group, Pugs are little dogs with a big sense of humor -- they've even been called the clowns of the canine world. Known to never turn down a nap, this breed was bred to be a lap dog.

Newfoundland dogs, which are part of the AKC Working Group, were originally bred -- and used -- as working dogs for fishermen. These strong giants are natural swimmers, and are known for their calm disposition and intelligence -- as well as for their size.

The Vizsla dog breed, part of the Sporting Group, is known for its high energy and athleticism. The breed excels at search and rescue work, and anything requiring their agility, and can be described as having characteristics of both pointer and retriever.

The American Staffordshire Terrier, often shortened to just Amstaff in the U.S., is confident, protective, and smart. The breed was frequently used as a symbol of bravery and courage in the U.S. during WWI and WWII, and you may recognize Pete the Pup from "The Little Rascals" as an American Staffordshire Terrier. It was officially recognized by the AKC in the Terrier Group in 1936.

Although they can be a bit snappy sometimes, Maltese dogs are affectionate, playful, and bred to be companion dogs. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed more than a century ago, in 1888.

Originally used to catch rats in 19th-century clothing mills, the Yorkshire Terrier today is one of the most popular of the Toy Group dog breeds in the U.S. Yorkies are known to be smart and a bit mischievous. These dogs are easy to train.

Barkley on "Sesame Street" was one. And so was Max in "The Little Mermaid." The Old English Sheepdog, part of the Herding Group, was bred to drive livestock like sheep and cows.

The Brittany is a hunter, who will also make an excellent watchdog. This upbeat, tireless breed was first recognized in 1907, in France, and officially recognized in the Sporting Group by the AKC in 1934.

Schnauzers are highly intelligent and easily trained. The breed dates back to the 15th century as a ratter. There are three sizes of Schnauzers: miniature (which are classified as toy dogs), along with Standard and Giant, both in the Working Group.

The Chow Chow is originally from northern China where it's called Songshi Quan -- which means "puffy-lion dog." The breed is, bred for herding, hunting, pulling, and guarding. While Chows can be loyal pets, without proper training, the breed is known to have an aggressive nature -- in fact, owning a Chow Chow may raise the cost of homeowner's insurance.

The Australian Shepherd, part of the Herding Group, was originally bred to herd livestock, such as sheep, and is generally happiest with a job to do. The breed, nicknamed the Aussie, is smart and energetic, and was recognized by the AKC in 1991.

Did you know this dog's long ears serve an important purpose? They're long enough to touch the tip of a Basset's nose, helping them get scents from the ground up to their nose. Originally bred for hunting small game, the Basset Hound, part of the Hound Group, is most renowned for its sense of smell.

As First Dogs, Bo and Sunny, part of the Obama family​, may be the most popular pair of Portuguese Water Dogs in the U.S. Did you know the breed has webbed feet? It's true -- it makes this Working Group dog a great swimmer, important when they were used as crew on fishing boats.

The Whippet is a sighthound, which means these dogs hunt by sight and speed -- in fact, they're capable of speeds of up to 35 mph, which makes them the quickest domesticated animal in their weight class. The breed, thought to be a type of miniature Greyhound, was recognized in the Hound Group by the American Kennel Club in 1888.

These Working Group dogs were originally bred to hunt boar. Weighing between 100 and 200 pounds and standing as high as 32 inches at the shoulder, the Great Dane is actually a gentle giant who would prefer to be a lap dog.

Shiba Inus, brought to the U.S. in the 1950s, are clever dogs with quick reflexes and a high prey drive. The breed, classified today in the Non-Sporting Group, was originally bred to flush out small game for hunters in Japan.

This active, muscular breed is playful and charming, and described as "a 3-year-old child in a dog suit." The Miniature Bull Terrier, similar in almost every way to a terrier except for stature, is also classified by AKC in the Terrier Group.

Believe it or not, this little breed descended from large sled dogs. The Pomeranian, known as the little dog who thinks he can, weighs only between 3 and 7 pounds and is part of the Toy Group.

Boxers are protective, patient, and playful, making them a popular choice for famlies. Part of the Working Group, this breed has a history of chasing wild game. They're excellent at solving problems and very intelligent, but watch out -- they tend to have minds of their own.

The Dachshund, part of the Hound Group and one of the top breeds in the U.S., was bred to smell and flush out burrow-dwelling animals such as the badger. Doxies, as they're called, are often nicknamed "wiener dogs."

Although this breed, part of the Sporting Group, was originally bred to find and retrieve big game, like elk or bear, Weimaraners are just as likely, if not more likely, to find themselves today in a family's living room than on the hunting grounds. Known as the "gray ghost" because of the color of their coat, Weimaraners also have an amazing sense of smell.

The breed was a commonly used in dog fights in the 19th century. But originally, these Working dogs weren't just fighters -- they were also used to guard homes and shops, and for hunting boar. You may recognize the Dogue de Bordeaux from the movie, "Turner and Hooch," though, where a member of the breed, Beasley, got to drool on Tom Hanks.

Although the Rhodesian Ridgeback, part of the Hound Group, was bred to corner and hold big game, such as lions and boar, this dog is also a great family dog who will join you for a jog before taking a nap on the sofa.They're quiet and confident ​but have a rambunctious streak that can leave first-time dog owners in the dust.

The American Hairless Terrier, part of the Terrier Group, is the first hairless breed to originate in the U.S. The breed is known to have both a fearless and a fiesty streak, and enjoy not only agility games but digging and chasing small animals as well.

The Norwegian Elkhound is the national dog of Norway, and has a history of working as a watchdog, a guardian, and a herder. Built to withstand cold climates and navigate rugged terrain, these dogs, part of the Hound Group, have the stamina to accompany you on a moose hunt -- or just be your loyal companion.

Although often mistaken for the mythical chupacabra in the U.S., Xoloitzcuintles are actually the first dog of the Americas -- in fact, there's archaeological evidence that this hairless breed was with humans during the migrations across the Bering Strait. The Xolo, whose name is a combination of the Aztec god Xolotl and the Aztec word for dog, Itzcuintli, is part of the Non-Sporting Group, and was featured for the first time in the Westminster Dog Show in 2012.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes