Dog Breeds

What is a breed of dog?

In dogs, as in all domestic animals, breed designates the informal taxonomic rank lower than the species in the living classification system. Breeds are thus distinguished for breeding and selection purposes. It is defined by the “morphotype” of an individual, in other words by its morphological characteristics.

The canine species thus includes the greatest number of breeds. There are currently 384 breeds in the world, 347 of which are officially recognized to date by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Each of the dog breeds recognized by the FCI corresponds to a standard, which determines all the characteristics expected of the dog: its size, its adult weight, its coat and color, its character, its gait, etc.

The breed standard is established by the country of origin of the breed (example: Germany for the German Shepherd, France for the French Bulldog … etc) within a breed club or a breed association.

Once established and validated, this breed standard constitutes a reference document for breeders of dogs of the breed concerned and for evaluating animals, in particular during confirmatory examinations.

The extraordinary heterogeneity of canine breeds

The heterogeneity of canine breeds is immense since there are miniature dog breeds, weighing less than 1kg and giant breeds, some representatives of which can weigh up to 190 pounds. From Chihuahua to Great Dane, these dogs – as different as they appear – all belong to the canine subspecies Canis lupus familiaris and are all believed to have a common ancestor with the wolf.

Dog breeds classified into 10 groups

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), currently recognizes 347 dog breeds classified into 10 groups subdivided into sections. The FCI classification is based both on the function of the dog and on morphological criteria. It is the following:

  • Group 1:  Shepherd and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
  • Group 2:  Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid – Mountain and Swiss Cattle Dogs and Other Breeds
  • Group 3: Terriers
  • Group 4:  Dachshunds
  • Group 5:  Spitz-type and Primitive-Type Dogs
  • Group 6:  Hounds, Blood Research Dogs, and Related Breeds
  • Group 7: Pointers
  • Group 8:  Retrieving Game Dogs – Game Breeder Dogs – Water Dogs
  • Group 9: Companion and Companion Dogs
  • Group 10:  Greyhounds

Purebred dog or cross dog: what are the differences?

What is a purebred dog?

purebred dog is a dog whose parents and ancestors are precisely known. These obviously belong to the same breed and appear in the dog’s genealogical tree, which can be read on Its birth certificate, a document given by the breeder when the dog was acquired from its owner, then on Its pedigree, a document which is obtained only after a confirmation examination of the dog under the final registration of the dog.

What is a crossbreed dog?

Unlike a purebred dog, a crossbreed dog, also commonly called a mongrel or a horned dog, is the result of mating between two dogs of different breeds or between a purebred dog and a dog whose we do not know the origin .

Purebred vs. Mixed dog: the pros and cons

On the question of genetic defects and health

All dog breeds existing to date have been produced and developed through the practice of inbreeding. Crossing between them individuals who possessed the characteristics one wanted to keep was indeed the fastest and safest way to obtain puppies with these same characteristics.

But, the downside to using this close inbreeding is the lack of the mixing of the genetic makeup in purebred dogs. By dint of marrying closely related individuals, we have “selected” the best but also the worst of the genetic capital of the parents. As a result of this selection, purebred dogs are statistically more at risk of expressing genetic defects that may have repercussions on their health than crossbreed dogs.

That said, there are now more and more genetic tests, performed by breeders, to detect healthy carriers of these defects and to exclude them from reproduction and close inbreeding is, since May 2017, prohibited by the SCC for purebred dogs.

Crossbred dogs, whose genetic mixing is by definition more important, have statistically less risk of expressing these genetic defects (but this risk is not zero for all that). The “richness” of their genetic makeup also makes them somewhat less vulnerable to disease than purebred dogs in general.

On the question of the purchase price of the dog

Purebred dogs are generally more expensive to buy than crossbreeds.

Purebred dogs are indeed the result of the breeder’s selection work, whose role is also to take care of his animals and initiate the socialization of puppies. To raise his animals, the professional incurs time and costs which he naturally passes on to the selling price of the dog. But, be careful not to pay the price for a purchase price that is too high that the work of the breeder is not enough to justify. Unfortunately, this is often the case with “trendy” or “fashionable” dog breeds whose selling price depends more on the law of supply and demand than on the real “cost price” of the animal. to the breeder.

On the question of behavior and character

The idea that a certain breed of dog has a particular behavior is quite common, but is it true? Well, when it comes to behavior, race, and genetics aren’t everything.

On the one hand, it’s true that each breed of dog has motor patterns that have a genetic basis. These are postures or instinctive movements more or less accentuated within a race, which by definition cannot or only slightly be modified by education but only attenuated or redirected. This is, for example, the case with the pursuit instinct which drives a Sheepdog like the Border Collie to chase sheep to gather them but which may also have a tendency to pursue bicycles, cars, or joggers which pass by. proximity. If you do not make your dog practice herding, you can however reduce its tendency to run behind anything that moves by spending enough or by offering it a substitute activity such as treibball.

But, on the other hand, a dog’s behavior is not dictated only by its genetics. It’s also very largely influenced by the behavior of its mother during its first months of life, by the environment in which it is brought to evolve, by the richness and the variety of the stimuli which are proposed to it, and by its experiences, good as bad. … So many elements that have nothing to do with the genetic heritage of a dog. Don’t forget this when you consult our breed sheets!

Thus, when one adopts a purebred dog, one will not be able to predict its future behavior but one will however be able to have an idea of Its aptitudes and some of Its behavioral tendencies.

The mixed dog will be able to present the natural aptitudes and instincts of each of its two parents.

Finally, there is no such thing as a “nice” or “bad” breed because the character of a dog is specific to each individual. As for the behavior, it does not depend only on the genetics of the dog but on its education, its possibility to exert itself and to exercise its instincts, its living conditions, its experiences etc