It is said that a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. That some angels choose fur instead of wings. Hence, they deserved to be termed as “man’s best friend”. According to Wikipedia, dogs were the first domesticated species, and have been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. Although dogs were first domesticated about 14,000 to 17,000 years ago, most dog breeds were actually developed within the last few centuries. Selective cross-breeding has been done since antiquity, but it really accelerated during the 19th century. When our ancestors bred dogs for features such as a louder bark for added protection of their owner’s property or a submissive temperament so it would less likely lash out at its owner, they were actually already experimenting with the selection of dog genes. And so, have you ever wondered how many breeds of dogs are there in our globe? It is actually said that one of the earliest breeds believed to be purposefully selected for its preferred traits is still around today – the Greyhound.
Due to natural mutations, human and climate preferences over time, breeds became more specialized and numerous until they reached the point of modern classification. This classification is actually based on the suitability of a breed in five skills i.e., hunting, guarding, shepherding, and work and company.
As of today, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the world governing body of dog breeds, sometimes known as the World Canine Organization, have recognized 340 breeds of dogs although the standards for breed recognition vary from country to country – the American Kennel Club currently recognizes 167 breeds only. These breeds are divided into 10 groups based upon the dog’s function or purpose or upon its size or appearance. First in the list of the said group are the Sheepdogs or Cattle dogs. This group includes most of the dogs classified as ‘herding dogs’. Specific breeds include Border Collie, Croatian Sheepdog, Cumberland Sheepdog, Hungarian Puli, Icelandic Sheepdog, Maremma Sheepdog, Old English Sheepdog (also referred to as “Bobtail” in common vernacular), Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Shetland Sheepdog, Tornjak, and Welsh Sheepdog. Next in the group are the Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid Breeds. The Molossian breeds include the dogs known as the mastiffs. The Dogue de Bordeaux, Neapolitan Mastiff, and Bullmastiff are few examples under this group. Then, the Terriers are the third group. They are typically small, wiry, very active and fearless dogs such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, and Boston Terrier to name a few. The Dachshunds for the fourth group are short-legged, long-bodied, hound-type breeds of dogs. Fifth in the list are the Spitz and primitive type groups. They are recommended to sportive persons, with experience in raising dogs, who can offer the possibility to make much exercise. The Japanese Akita, Basenji, Finnish Lapphund, and Greenland Dog are few examples of them. The Scenthounds and Related Breeds, as for the sixth group, are dogs that primarily hunt by scent rather than sight. These breeds are hunting dogs and are generally regarded as having some of the most sensitive noses among canines. The Beagle is one of the most popular breeds of Scenthounds. Seventh on the list are the Pointers and Setters dogs. They are used most often for hunting game such as quail, pheasant, and grouse. The English Setter and Irish Setter are two of the examples of this group. Eighth on the list are Retrievers. It is a type of gun dog that retrieves game for a hunter. The famous Golden Retriever boasts its name for this group. Ninth are the Companion and Toy Dogs. They are dogs that do not work. They only provide companionship as a pet such as the Pomeranian. Last on the list are the Sighthounds. Also called gazehounds, they primarily hunt by sight and speed such as what the Saluki dog is trained for.