Which Dog Breed Personality Is Your Dog?

Similar to humans, dogs too have unique and distinct personalities. While some of your dog’s personality is completely up to the individual, many of your dog’s traits are due to the genetics of its breed. Knowing a little about dog breed personality will help you to choose the right companion. For example, if you live in a small apartment in the city, then you definitely do not want to have a boisterous dog who needs lots of outdoor exercise. And if you’re someone who loves the outdoors, you will want a dog who is suitable for your active lifestyle. 

Dog breed personality types

According to the American Kennel Club, dog breeds can be divided into seven distinct groups. The seven groups that have common personality traits are:

  • Herding dogs
  • Sporting dogs
  • Hound dogs
  • Working dogs
  • Terrier dogs
  • Toy dogs
  • Non-Sporting dogs

Herding dogs

Herding dogs are developed to guard and move large groups of livestock from one location to another. These days, although many herding dogs have not seen sheep or cattle before, they are still able to do so when trained. 

Dogs in this group are smart, energetic, agile and alert. They take their job seriously and are protective of their humans and property, making them excellent watchdogs. 

If you have a dog belonging to this group, you may find that it has a tendency to nip or bump into people. This is not because your dog is behaving badly. It’s just that they were bred to herd! Nonetheless, your dog can be trained to behave appropriately. 

Dogs that belong to this group include:
  • Border Collie
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • German Shepherd
  • Dutch Shepherd
  • Finnish Lapphund
  • Icelandic Sheepdog
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Swedish Lapphund

Sporting Dogs

Sporting dogs are active and alert. They were bred to work closely with people and to assist hunters to capture and retrieve game from land and water. 

These dogs are friendly and highly trainable. You can expect that they will love going for long walks and playing fetch. Sporting dogs love people and are ideal family dogs. However, you will have to ensure that they get enough exercise as they have tons of energy. 

Another characteristic of these dogs is the fact that they have coats that are dense and water-repellent. This protects them when they are in the brush in all weather conditions. 

Cocker Spaniel

Photo by Cassidy Dickens on Unsplash

Sporting dog breeds that you may have heard of include:

  • Cocker Spaniel
  • English Setter
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Golden Retriever
  • Finnish Spitz
  • Pointer
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Weimaraner

Hound Dogs

Hound dogs are also hunting dogs and can be divided into two categories - sight-hounds and scent-hounds. As their names suggest, sight hounds hunt by sight while scent hounds, by scent. 

These dogs were bred to work independently and as such, may not heed your commands if they do not understand the reason you are asking them to do something. While they can be trained, they are also smart and have a mind of their own. 

If you have a hound dog, it's best that you walk it on a leash to prevent them from wandering off to investigate a scent or something that catches their eye. 

American Foxhound
Photo by Dan Barrett on Unsplash


Dogs that belong to this group include:

  • Afgan Hound
  • American Foxhound
  • Basset Hound
  • Beagle
  • Dachshund
  • Bloodhound
  • Carolina Dog
  • Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

Working dogs

Working dogs were bred precisely for the purpose of performing a variety of tasks. This can include guarding livestock, and property as well as pulling sleds. 

These dogs are strong, fearless, and smart. They are also fun loving. If your dog belongs to this group, it is best that you provide a structured home life with firm and consistent training. This is important as working dogs can be very protective. While they can be good guard dogs, their protectiveness can become a problem if there is no proper training. 

working dog
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Working dog breeds include:

  • American Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Chow Chow
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • German Pinscher
  • Great Dane
  • Rottweiler
  • Boxer

Terrier Dogs

Terriers have an energetic, mischievous and feisty personality. They are easy to train and highly intelligent. They also love to dig for prey. 

Terriers are territorial. They will go all out to protect their space and will bark at people or other animals that come near their property. These dogs come in a variety of sizes and a large number of terrier breeds have hard wiry coats. If you have a terrier, make sure that your yard is fenced properly as they’re pretty good at escaping. 

terrier dog
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Terrier breeds that you might have heard of include:

  • Bull Terrier
  • Fox Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Scottish Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Australian Terrier
  • Border Terrier

Toy dogs

Toy dogs keep people company. While some are miniature versions of working dogs, others were bred to be beautiful lap dogs. They are endearing and work hard to be attentive, affectionate companions. 

toy dog
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City dwellers often choose toy dogs as their small size makes them ideal for small apartments. Toy dogs are often house dogs that need to be around people as they get lonely if left alone for too long. Some breeds that belong to the toy group include:

  • Chihuahua
  • Pug
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pomeranian
  • Pekingese
  • Silky Terrier
  • Japanese Chin

Non-Sporting Dogs

The different breeds in the non-sporting dogs group do not actually share much in common except that they all have four legs. They are a mishmash of personalities and were bred as companion animals. 

non-sporting dog
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Examples of non-sporting dogs include:

  • Dalmatian
  • Poodle
  • Keeshond
  • Schipperke
  • French Bulldog
  • American Eskimo Dog


Knowing the dog breed personalities can help you choose the type of dog that you want as a companion. It will also prepare you to somewhat expect your dog’s behavior. As such, it is key in training your dog as well as forming a strong bond with your pet.