For owners

Meet The Breeds

Research the right dog for you.

For more than 60 years, Dogs Australia has supported the responsible breeding of over 200 unique breeds of pure-bred dogs through our registered breeder and breed club networks. In this video series we explore what we call a breed group – a group of dogs representing the traits and characteristics they were originally bred for. There are 7 of them! Knowing what drives a breed gives an insight into their natural instincts and behaviours and how this might influence choosing a dog. If you are sure what breed is best for you – why not try our breed matcher.

Toys (Group 1)

Twenty-six different breeds including the Pug and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, toys are sometimes known as ‘lap dogs’, and were bred as companions. Thriving on attention, they may fret if left alone all day. Some have high grooming demand coats like the Bichon Frise. Don’t be fooled by their size; they have big personalities! In dog sports they excel at Agility, Dances with Dogs, Flyball and Trick dog.

Terriers (Group 2)

With 31 breeds, terriers are the characters of the dog world – they’re feisty, fun and energetic. Popular terriers include Jack Russell Terriers, Airedales and Staffords. Originally bred to hunt vermin, they are clever, alert, active, intelligent and loyal, suitable for dog sports like Earthdog, Lure Coursing, and Scent Work.

Gundogs (Group 3)

Of these 32 breeds, the most popular are Cocker Spaniels, Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Rarer breeds include the Spanish Water Dog and the Wirehaired Slovakian Pointer. Exercise and stimulation make them happy and friendly pets. They love swimming and retrieving balls. These instincts make them suitable for Dogs Australia’s dog sports like Obedience Training, Tracking, Scent Work, Retrieving Trials, Retrieving Ability Tests, Dances with Dogs and Trick Dog.

Hounds (Group 4)

31 breeds originally bred for hunting, a powerful sense of smell, and keen eyesight, make hounds excellent today at sniffing out illegal drugs, or tracking missing people. They are affectionate and strong-willed. Basset Hounds, Salukis, Beagles, Irish Wolfhounds, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, Whippets, Afghans, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Basenjis all featured in this group. While they no longer need to hunt, Tracking, Scent Work, and Lure Coursing are perfect outlets for their natural instincts.

Working Dogs (Group 5)

With 37 breeds often termed the ‘brains of the dog world’, many were bred to herd livestock and watch over sheep and reindeer. Smart, hardy and energetic, breeds like the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Kelpie, Border Collie, Welsh Corgi, Old English Sheepdog, and German Shepherds feature in this group. With strong working drives they’re cut out for many dog sports like Obedience, Agility, Herding, Endurance, Tracking, Dances with Dogs, Scent Work and Trick Dog.

Utility (Group 6)

Featuring 38 different breeds with a huge range in shape and size, the Utility group were bred for specific roles and have strong working instincts. Breeds include guardians like Dobermanns, Mastiffs and Rottweilers dating back to the 14th century. Artic breeds like Samoyeds and Siberian Huskies were used to pull sleds, hunt or herd. Suitable dog sports include Agility, Herding, Endurance, Obedience, Tracking, Trick Dog, Draft Test, Scent Work, Dances with Dogs, and Sled Sports.

Non-sporting (Group 7)

With 24 breeds, these dogs aren’t categorised by purpose or size—instead, it’s a catch-all for those that don’t fit into other groups, with uniqueness and individuality the theme. Breeds include the Dalmatian, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz, Shar Pei, French and British Bulldogs, Poodle, Boston Terrier, Lhasa Apso, and the Peruvian Hairless dog. A diverse group, it’s no surprise their sporting choices are breed dependent, with Agility, Obedience, Dances with Dogs, Draft test, and Trick Dog some of the recommended sports.