Meet The AKC Breed Groups

Meet the Breeds is an event hosted every year by the American Kennel Club (AKC), held in NYC. It is a fun opportunity for people around the tri-state area to go meet and learn about all the different types of dogs they might be interested in adding to their family. If you're looking for a new dog I do encourage people to go! It’s fun, it's educational and it is important to do research before bringing a dog into your home. There are way too many individual breeds for me to introduce in this blog post, but I have highlighted each of the seven different breed groups that the AKC recognize.

We’ve performed in trials, but never in a context similar to this. For the first time ever we were performing in front of hundreds of people. And not only that, but I felt like Dustin was representing all rescue dogs since he was one of only a couple in the building that day, and we were at an event dedicated to purebred pups. 

As soon as we stepped into the ring he was focused, engaged, and working beautifully. Not without any stress, it was loud, he was in a new environment, hundreds of people were watching, and there were dogs all over the place. But he did it! He did a whole bunch of tricks, starting with a jump through legs, and ending with a jump onto my back. He had fun, and I honestly felt like he could have kept going.

Later in the afternoon, he participated in a scent work demo. Once again he was ready, focused, and eager to work. He had fun, and found all the scents he was supposed to!

He proved that rescue dogs can do all the same things purebred dogs can do. It’s up to the owner to invest the time into the training. 

I am so so so proud of Dustin for how he performed. I can honestly say it was the hardest environment I have thrown him into and not only did he do well, he (more importantly) had fun!

Since Dustin is a mixed breed he is not represented by any of the AKC breed groups, but Meet the Breeds is a fantastic way to find out about the various breeds. Below I have highlighted each breed group and its unique characteristics. 

Sporting Group

Brittany Spaniel

Breeds in the Sporting Group were bred to assist hunters in the capture and retrieval of feathered game. It was important they could locate and expose prey without damaging it. They were the first dog’s bred to work closely at a human’s side in a true partnership. Dog’s in the sporting group typically make very successful human companions.

Today there are several subgroups within the working dog family. Retrievers, built for swimming, specialize on waterfowl, while the hunting grounds of setters, spaniels, and pointing breeds are grasslands where quail, pheasant, and other game birds nest. Many Sporting Group breeds possess thick, water-repellant coats resistant to harsh hunting conditions.

Examples include: American Cocker Spaniel, American Water Spaniel, Brittany, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Lagotto Romagnolo, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Pointer, Spinone Italiano, Sussex Spaniel, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Hound Group


All breeds in the Hound Group were bred to pursue warm-blooded quarry. The sleek, long-legged sighthounds date back to Ancient Egypt and the Middle East. They are one of the oldest groups of specialized dogs. They were bred for their ability to perceive prey and their speed to acquire it. Over time they developed their uniquely narrow skulls which allowed for increased peripheral vision.

Today they use explosive speed and wide vision to chase swift prey, like jackrabbits and antelope. Scent Hounds date back to the middle ages and were bred for their olfactory abilities which gave them a persistent commitment to follow a scent, even in rough conditions. Today, scent hounds rely on their powerful noses to trail anything from raccoons to escaped convicts. Members of the Hound Group possess strong prey drives and often will stop at nothing to catch their quarries.

Examples include: Afghan Hound, American English Coonhound, American Foxhound, Basenji, Basset Hound, Beagle, Black and Tan Coonhound, Bloodhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Borzoi, Cirneco Dell’Etna, Dachshund, English Foxhound, Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, Greyhound, Harrier, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Norwegian Elkhound, Otterhound, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Pharaoh Hound, Plott hound, Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, Redbone Coonhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound, Sloughi, Treeing Walker Coonhound, Whippet

Toy Group

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Toy dogs originated in China and Europe where they were bred to be highly social with people as companions for the rich. Their earliest jobs included being a heating pad, a flea magnet, and an alarm system.

Today the diminutive breeds of the Toy Group come in enough coat types and colors to satisfy nearly any preference, but all are small enough to fit comfortably in the lap of their adored humans. In a way, toys dogs are their own version of working dogs: they work hard at being attentive, affectionate companions. Breeds in the Toy Group are popular with city dwellers, as their small size makes them a good fit for smaller yards or apartments.

Examples Include: Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua