You probably don’t have to look at a list of dog breeds to name a dozen, maybe even two dozen different breeds. You can probably even identify a decent number of breeds by picture alone.
There is no argument that there are many dog breeds out there, but different organizations vary in terms of which ones they recognize. So…
How Many Dog Breeds Are There?
In the USA : 202 (AKC) or 218 (UKC)
Internationally : 332 (FCI)
What The American Kennel Club (AKC) Says
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the primary registry for pure breeds in the United States. The AKC was formed in 1883 and, as of November 2016, they currently recognize 202 different breeds.
The AKC groups purebred dogs into seven groups:
- Sporting Group – Includes pointers, setters, spaniels, and retrievers.
- Hound Group – Includes scent hounds and sight hounds.
- Working Group – Includes breeds developed for a variety of jobs.
- Terrier Group – Includes dogs developed to hunt vermin.
- Toy Group – Includes very small dogs bred as companion pets.
- Herding Group – Includes dogs bred to herd livestock.
- Non-Sporting Group – Includes assorted dogs that don’t fit into other categories.
- Miscellaneous Class – A group of dogs that have not yet been fully recognized.
In addition to these seven groups and one class, the AKC also offers the Foundation Stock Service (FSS). This program is a stepping stone to full recognition for breeders of rare or new breeds. Once a breed has 150 individual dogs registered it moves into the Miscellaneous Class until it becomes fully recognized and added to one of the seven groups.
Though the AKC is the primary breed registry in the United States, there is another that is fairly well known – the United Kennel Club. This is not to be confused with The Kennel Club in the U.K.
What the United Kennel Club (UKC) Says
The United Kennel Club (UKC) was formed in 1898 and it is the largest performance dog registry in the world. The UKC accepts numerous breeds that are not accepted by the AKC and their events are primarily geared toward a dog’s looks whereas the AKC is more focused on their skills.
The UKC divides their accepted breeds into eight groups:
- Group 1 – Guardian Dog (flock guards and mastiffs)
- Group 2 – Scenthound (tree hounds and trailing hounds)
- Group 3 – Sighthound and Pariah Dog
- Group 4 – Gun Dogs
- Group 5 – Northern Breeds
- Group 6 – Herding Dog
- Group 7 – Terrier Breeds
- Group 8 – Companion Dog
In the United Kingdom, the primary breed registry The Kennel Club (KC). This registry was formed in 1873 and they are known for their annual conformation show, Crufts. As of 2013, the KC registers 218 different breeds of dog.
The Kennel Club divides their accepted breeds into the following groups:
What the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) Says
Internationally, the largest breed registry is the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), or the World Canine Organization. Formed in 1911, the FCI has 84 different member countries, each of which regulates its own breed clubs. The FCI simply acts as an international coordinating body. Currently, the FCI officially recognizes 332 breeds and there are 11 provisional breeds.
The FCI divides their breeds into ten groups based on appearance and usage:
- Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs
- Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid Breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs and Other Breeds
- Spitz and Primitive Types
- Scenthounds and Related Breeds
- Pointers and Setters
- Retrievers, Flushing Dogs, Water Dogs
- Companion and Toy Dogs
Each of these ten groups has its own subgroups as well and each breed is assigned a specific number. This is important because some breeds have different names in different countries.