Characters and behavioral problems in the different breed groups of dogs

The FCI (international umbrella organization for purebred dogs) uses 10 breed groups according to a system that causes quite a bit of confusion: some breed groups are classified according to the original working purpose of the dog (shepherds and drovers) and some by appearance (keeshonden and archetypes).

  • Group 1: sheepdogs and drovers
  • Group 2: pinschers and schnauzers, molossers, mountain dogs and senes.
  • Group 3: terriers
  • Group 4: dachshunds
  • Group 5: keeshonds and oerty types
  • Group 6: ongoing dogs and sweating dogs
  • Group 7: standing dogs
  • Group 8: retrievers and water dogs
  • Group 9: companion dogs
  • Group 10: greyhounds


This format does not always make sense. 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 Newfoundlander is not a mountain dog and was never a herding guard 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 it falls under the molossers in terms of build. Originally the Rottweiler, like its 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 better fit into breed group 9 and the Large poodle in breed group 8. Not to mention breed group 5; this is a hodgepodge 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 traits. 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 is not supposed to hunt but to chase. After all, he should not abandon the herd but scare off 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 to people

Behavioral problems

  • Barking
  • Aggression towards dogs (especially the males)

Varieties

Running dogs

Running dog is another word for brak. Brackets are dogs 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 trainable except the Basset Fauve de Bretagne
  • Great independence
  • Social with other dogs
  • Very much hunting instinct

Behavioral 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 excitation threshold
  • Reticent towards strangers
  • Watchful and extremely protective
  • Less social towards other dogs

Behavioral problems

  • Heel biting
  • Fighting
  • Dominant behavior

Varieties

  • Bouvier
  • Rottweiler
  • Swiss seniors
  • Australian cattledog
  • Welsh corgis

Shepherd Dogs

Sheepdogs are sheepdogs that, unlike cattle drovers, work with the shepherd. They come in a huge variety of looks.
In mountain areas they work with herd guards. The present-day herding dog can be used for almost any kind of work or sport.

Character

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

Behavioral 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 go after it until they have caught the prey. 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, preferably on your lap
  • Reasonably obedient
  • Tad aloof towards strangers
  • Needs a lot of exercise, great stamina

Behavioral 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 muzzle. These dogs were once used as war dogs and used in wars but also in the arena against slaves, wild animals or conspecifics. The present-day dog is mainly a house dog.

Character

  • Persistent
  • Watchful
  • Calm and confident
  • High excitation threshold
  • Slow learning ability

Behavioral problems

  • Dominant behavior
  • Aggression towards dogs
  • Fear aggression

Varieties

Terriers

Terriers are low or long-legged dogs that were used as exterminators of all species harmful to humans both above and below ground. And even today they still like to do this work. You are guaranteed not to have any problems with mice with a good terrier in the neighborhood.

Character

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

Behavioral problems

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

Varieties

Retrievers and spaniels

Briefly, the tasks are as follows: retrievers and spaniels are used to assist in hunting where the spaniel tracks the game and possibly retrieves it and the retriever returns the shot game to the hunter. Thus, these dogs have a great need for cooperation.

Character

  • Active (the spaniels both indoors and outdoors, the retrievers mainly outdoors)
  • Great endurance
  • Reasonable to very good trainability
  • People-oriented, friendly and obedient
  • Virtually not watchful

Behavioral problems

  • Possession Aggression
  • Fighting
  • Too much restraint

Varieties

Standing dogs

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

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

Behavioral problems

  • Separation anxiety
  • Hunting
  • Nervousness

Varieties

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

Sled dogs

Sled dogs' purpose is to pull a sled although some were also used as hunting dogs. Most of these dogs, therefore, want nothing more than to pull. In the absence of snow, the dogs can be harnessed to a cart to fulfill their natural needs.

Character

  • Quiet inside, (very) active outside
  • Independent and hard
  • Not watchful
  • Poor to moderate trainability
  • Quite vocal

Behavioral 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 wide variety of companion dogs with a diverse history of origin. However, they all have one characteristic in common and that is that they have four legs and are therefore very good at walking themselves!

Character

  • Friendly, accommodating and people-oriented
  • Little (Chihuahua) to a lot of exercise (Great Poodle) needed
  • Poorly (Pekingese) to very well obedient (Marquise)
  • Social with peers
  • Reasonable to good watchers

Behavioral problems

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

Varieties

Dachshunds

Dachshunds come in three varieties (standard, dwarf and kaninchen) with all three hair types (rough-haired, shorthaired and long-haired). In the past, the dachshund used for hunting foxes and badgers. These are now protected species and so that function has been dropped. The dachshund has therefore become a house dog.

Character

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

Behavioral problems

  • Aggression towards dogs and people
  • Bite
  • Hunting

Varieties

Nine variations: three types with three types of coat each. Several types may occur in a litter, the final type cannot be determined until 15 months of age based on the chest size.

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