Seeing Past Cuteness When Selecting the Best Dog Breed For You: Part 2 of 3

Are there so many great dog breeds out there that you just can't decide where to begin? If so, let's break it down and sort through all the options. In Part 2 of this 3 Part Series, we'll continue looking at the seven Groups of dogs that are acknowledged by the American Kennel Club. We'll learn what it is that brings various breeds together to form a Group. Learning about each Group will narrow down our search for the best Breed(s) for us.

How to Use this Guide: Highlight each piece of information that is most important to you and compare the number of highlighted traits when you have finished reading about each Group.

Group: Working

Group Traits: Powerfully built; Protective of owner; fearless

Likes: Structure and routine; Predictability

Dislikes: Unexpected events

Behavior Indoors: Low to moderate

Behavior Outdoors: Moderate to active

Physicality: High

Territoriality: High

Relations with Children: Good to very good (particularly family)

Relations with Strangers: Reserved

Relations with Dogs: Moderate to Dominant

Relations with Other Animals: Good

Guard dog inclinations: Moderate to High

Vocalization: Moderate (High when guarding)

Group: Terrier

Group Traits: Determined; high stamina; feisty; digger; fearless

Likes: Activity; Learning new things

Dislikes: Boredom; confinement; harsh discipline

Behavior Indoors: Active

Behavior Outdoors: Active

Physicality: High (high threshold for pain)

Territoriality: Moderate to high

Relations with Children: Poor to Good

Relations with Strangers: Poor to Good

Relations with Dogs: Moderate to Good (do well with like breeds)

Relations with Other Animals: May chase (prey drive)

Guard dog inclinations: Great watchdog, poor guard dog due to size

Vocalization: Moderate to high

Group: Toy

Group Traits: Bred to be companion; prefer favorite person; indoor only; bright problem solvers

Likes: Attention; laps; soft furniture; warmth;

Dislikes: Harsh reprimands; hectic, unpredictable environment

Behavior Indoors: Active

Behavior Outdoors: Moderate to active

Physicality: Low to moderate

Territoriality: Moderate to high

Relations with Children: Poor to Good

Relations with Strangers: Poor to Very Good

Relations with Dogs: Subordinate to good

Relations with Other Animals: Moderate to good

Guard dog inclinations: Good watchdog, poor guard dog due to size

Vocalization: Moderate to very verbal

*Note: Use this information as a general guide at best. The most we can hope to offer is a stereotypical overview of what you might be able to expect, or what you may want to look for, in dogs in each Group. Breeds and individual dogs in each Group can vary greatly in traits and personalities.

Part 3 in this series will discuss the following Groups: Herding Dogs and Non-Sporting.

The author has worked with dogs and dog people for two decades, advocating for smart selections before a new dog is brought into a home and always stressing responsible selection and ownership for the good of the dog, the family and the community. She also makes dog and cat art available to the companion animal industry and to animal lovers at

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