Characters and behavioural problems in the different breed groups of dogs

The FCI (international umbrella organisation for pedigree dogs) uses 10 breed groups according to a system that causes quite some confusion: some breed groups are categorised according to the original work purpose of the dog (shepherds and drovers) and some according to appearance (Keeshonds and archetypes).

  • Group 1: sheepdogs and drovers
  • Group 2: pinschers and schnauzers, molossers, mountain dogs and senators
  • Group 3: terriers
  • Group 4: dachshunds
  • Group 5: Keeshonds and oystercats
  • Group 6: running dogs and sweating dogs
  • Group 7: upright dogs
  • Group 8: retrievers and water dogs
  • Group 9: pet dogs
  • Group 10: greyhounds


This classification is not always logical. Here are a few examples:


The Saarloos wolfdog is classified in breed group 1. This dog has never cornered a flock of sheep. The only work this dog has ever done moderately successfully is as a guide dog for the blind in the early 1950s.

The Newfoundland is not a mountain dog and was never a herding dog but is classified in breed group 2. It was a pulling dog for heavy loads and was (and is
Still) used for water work including rescuing people from the water. Given its original purpose and pedigree (which runs parallel to that of the Labrador), a classification in breed group 8 would be more appropriate.

The Rottweiler is classified in breed group 2 because its build makes it one of the molossers. Originally, the Rottweilerlike his Belgian counterpart the Bouvier, is a cattle dog and would better belong in breed group 1.

The layout of the Dalmatian dog in breed group 6 is also questionable, while the Yorkshire terrier would fit better in breed group 9 and the Large poodle in breed group 8. Not to mention group 5, which is a mixture of hunting dogs, shepherds, sled dogs (from the far north) and hairless dogs (from the warm south).

In short, the FCI classification says something, but by no means everything, about genetic characteristics. See for yourself the properties of small dogs or large dogs and assess whether they fit your family.

Herd guards/mountain dogs

The only requirement for these dogs is a weakly developed predator pattern. The herdsman/mountain dog should not hunt but chase. He should not abandon the flock but scare away predators with a lot of tam-tam. Mountain dogs are still used all over the world.

Character

  • Calm and quiet
  • Great endurance
  • Limited trainability
  • Great independence
  • Reserved for people

Behavioural problems

  • Barking
  • Aggression towards dogs (especially males)

Varieties

Running dogs

Running dog is another word for brak. Brakken are dogs that are used for driving various types of game. They all have an excellent sense of smell and almost all work in groups (packs). Brakken possess a loud voice and have drooping ears.

Character

  • Active, especially outdoors
  • Limited trainability except for the Basset Fauve de Bretagne
  • Great independence
  • Social with other dogs
  • Very much hunting instinct

Behavioural problems

  • Running away
  • Barking
  • Not being able to be alone

Varieties

Cattle drives

In the past, cattle dogs were used to drive cattle and horses from the land to the farm (and back) but also to the city for market days and back home they had to guard the farmer's purse. In Australia, cattledogs are still used.

Character

  • Confident, independent and stable
  • High threshold for stimulation
  • Reticent towards strangers
  • Watchful and extremely protective
  • Less social towards other dogs

Behavioural problems

  • Heel biting
  • Fighting
  • Dominant behaviour

Varieties

  • Bouvier
  • Rottweiler
  • Swiss Mountain Senegal
  • Australian cattledog
  • Welsh corgis

Shepherd dogs

Shepherd dogs are sheepdogs that, unlike cattle drovers, work together with the shepherd. They come in an enormous variety of looks.
In mountain areas, they work together with herding guards. Today's herding dog can be used for almost any kind of work or sport.

Character

  • Watchful
  • Very cooperative, well obedient
  • Needs a lot of exercise, great stamina
  • Quiet inside, active outside
  • Very fast learning ability

Behavioural problems

  • Hunting
  • Fighting
  • Barking

Varieties

  • German, Dutch and Belgian Shepherd
  • Border collie
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Schapendoes
  • Scottish shepherd dog

Greyhounds

All greyhounds are hunters; they hunt by sight and not by smell. As soon as they see game, they chase it until they have caught it. This so-called long hunting is prohibited throughout Europe, so they have to expend their energy on the greyhound track.

Character

  • When hunting: fierce, decisive and tough as nails
  • At home: Extremely calm and gentle, prefers to be on your lap
  • Reasonably obedient
  • A little aloof towards strangers
  • Very much in need of exercise, great stamina

Behavioural problems

  • Hunting
  • Killing of (small) pets
  • Running away

Varieties

Molossers/dogs

The physical characteristic of canines is their heavy skeleton, broad skull and relatively short snout. These dogs were once used as war dogs and in the arena against slaves, wild animals or their own kind. Today's dog is mainly a house dog.

Character

  • Persistent
  • Watchful
  • Calm and confident
  • High threshold for stimulation
  • Slow learning ability

Behavioural problems

  • Dominant behaviour
  • Aggression towards dogs
  • Fear aggression

Varieties

Terriers

Terriers are low-legged or long-legged dogs that have been used to exterminate all animal species that are harmful to humans, both above and below ground. And even today, they still enjoy doing this work. You are guaranteed not to have mice in your neighbourhood with a good terrier.

Character

  • Active to very active
  • Great endurance
  • Reasonably trainable
  • Independent
  • Low threshold for stimulation

Behavioural problems

  • Aggression towards dogs and people
  • Barking
  • Graves
  • Hunting

Varieties

Retrievers and spaniels

In short, the tasks are as follows: retrievers and spaniels are used to assist in hunting whereby the spaniel tracks down the game and, if necessary, picks it up and the retriever brings the shot game back to the hunter. These dogs therefore have a great need for cooperation.

Character

  • Active (the spaniels both indoors and outdoors, the retrievers mainly outdoors)
  • Great endurance
  • Reasonably to very well trainable
  • People-oriented, friendly and obedient
  • Practically not watchful

Behavioural problems

  • Possession aggression
  • Fighting
  • Too much restraint

Varieties

Standing dogs

Standing dogs are those that seek out game without making a sound with their nose and head held high and then point to it by standing and pointing to the game with their body stretched forward and their front leg raised. Some dogs are expected to retrieve game after shooting.

Character

  • Quiet inside, very active outside
  • Needs a lot of exercise
  • Ranges from no guarding (Viszla) to very good guarding (Weimaraner)
  • Reasonably to well trainable
  • Suitable for many dog sports

Behavioural problems

  • Separation anxiety
  • Hunting
  • Nervousness

Varieties

  • Viszla
  • German standing dog
  • Friesian Stabij
  • Weimaraner
  • Irish setter

Sled dogs

Sled dogs are intended for pulling sledges, although some have also been used as hunting dogs. Most of these dogs want nothing more than to pull. If there is no snow, the dogs can be harnessed to a cart to satisfy their natural needs.

Character

  • Quiet inside, (very) active outside
  • Independent and hardworking
  • Not watchful
  • Poorly to reasonably trainable
  • Quite vocal

Behavioural problems

  • Not being able to be alone
  • Running away
  • Hunting

Varieties

Companion dogs

The name says it all: they are dogs bred to keep us company. There is a great variety of companion dogs with a diverse history. However, they all have one characteristic in common and that is that they have four legs and can therefore walk very well on their own!

Character

  • Friendly, accommodating and people-oriented
  • Few (Chihuahua) to a lot of exercise (Great Poodle)
  • Badly (Pekingese) to very well obediently (Markiesje)
  • Social with peers
  • Fair to good guards

Behavioural problems

  • Not being able to be alone
  • Discontinuation
  • Little Dog Syndrome

Varieties

Dachshunds

Dachshunds come in three varieties (standard, dwarf and kaninchen) with all three hair types (rough, short and longhair). In the past, the Dachshund used to hunt foxes and badgers. These are now protected species and so this function has been lost. Therefore, the dachshund has become a house dog.

Character

  • Courage, perseverance and high intelligence
  • Poor to fairly obedient
  • Independent
  • Guards very well
  • Fair to good with other dogs

Behavioural problems

  • Aggression towards dogs and people
  • Biting
  • Hunting

Varieties

Nine variations: three types with three coat types each. Several types can occur in a litter, the final type can only be determined at 15 months, based on the size of the chest.

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