111The domestic dog (Canis familaris) is composed of 180 recognized breeds, which are registered by the American Kennel Club.  In addition to these recognized breeds, companion/pet dogs and other domesticated canids, commonly recognized, include hybrids, mixed breed dogs, and mongrels or mutts.

Although a pedigree may refer to a purebred ancestry, it may also refer to documentation of an individual dog’s ancestry.  The AKC website specifies that “An AKC Pedigree is a printed or electronic document that displays the lineage of an AKC dog and important information about the ancestors in a dog’s family tree.”

Hybrids or crossbred dogs are the offspring of purebred parents of different breeds. An example of a recognized hybrid is the Labradoodle.  For a dog to be a mixed breed, one parent–the dam or sire–must be of a known breed.  Mongrels or mutts are now respectively referred to as All-American dogs. All-American dogs have three or more breed types in their heritage.  Again, these breed groups have been organized by the AKC for the purpose of showing dogs.

Currently, the 180 breeds of dogs are classified into 7 breed groups by the AKC, with respective breed standards registered and presented for each breed. These include the Sporting Breed Group, Working Breed Group, Herding Breed Group, Terrier Breed Group, Hound Breed Group, Toy Breed Group, Non-Sporting Group and the Miscellaneous Class.

The Fedération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Organization) is the international federation of kennel clubs, which classifies dogs for international competition on the basis of the Federation’s established breed types.

Breed types or archetypes are based on inherent traits of the breed. The criteria for establishing breed archetypes, include “form, function/style of work, lineage, or appearance” and have been used to classify breeds more specifically than some kennel clubs. One common breed type classification recognizes the following groups:

Sighthounds or Gazehounds



Gundog or Bird Dogs

Nordic or Northern Breed Dogs


Flock Guardians

Herding Dogs

Toy Dogs

Pariah Dogs