How to identify the breed of a dog? (Dog Breed Classification)


For very different reasons, we often try to discover the roots of a dog, whether it is about to be adopted, bought or just out of curiosity.

In this article, we make a general review of the different breeds of dogs that exist and we will help you identify the origin of your dog through the physical and behavioral aspects.

Physical characteristics of the dog

We will start by looking at the different physical attributes that accompany our dog. Being guided by certain features will help you find the breed of your dog or its parents:


  • Toy dog
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Big
  • Giant

Size can help us eliminate some breeds and want to investigate others. For example, giant dog breeds contain a limited number of specimens such as the Great Dane or the Tibetan Mastiff among others.

Type of coat

  • Long
  • Short
  • Medium
  • Hard
  • Fine
  • Curly

Curly fur usually belongs to water dogs, as is the case with the poodle, those who have it very thick can belong to the group of European shepherds or Spitz-type dogs

Muzzle shape

  • Elongate
  • Short
  • Wrinkled
  • Square

Wrinkled snouts usually belong to molosser type dogs such as the English bulldog or boxer among others. On the other hand, the slender and elongated snouts may belong to the group of whippets and those whose jaws are powerful and thick to that of the terriers.

Taking into account the specific characteristics of your dog, we will continue to analyze the standard groups of the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) one by one to locate the breed closest to that of your dog and guide you better.

Group 1 (Shepherds and Herding dogs)

Group 1 is divided into two sections and for you to orient yourself, we will explain the most common breeds in each one. The breeds are sheepdogs and Herding dogs, although we do not include Swiss mountain dogs:

Section 1 : Shepherd dogs

identify breed dog Shepherd dogs
  • German shepherd
  • Belgian Shepherd
  • Catalan Shepherd
  • Australian shepherd
  • Berger Picard
  • Komondor
  • Berger Blanc Suisse
  • Border collie
  • Rough Collie

Section 2 :  Herding dogs (except Greater Swiss Mountain Dog):

identify breed dog Herding dogs
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Bouvier des Ardennes
  • Bouvier des Flandres

Group 2 (Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattle dogs)

Group 2 is divided into several sections which we will then analyze. We will find pinscher and schnauzer dogs as well as molosoids and mountain dogs and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. As in the previous case, we will offer images and the most characteristic breeds:

Section 1 :Pinscher and Schnauzer

identify breed dog Pinscher and Schnauzer
  • Schnauzer
  • Doberman

Section 2 : Molosser dogs

identify breed dog Molosser dogs
  • Boxer
  • Great Dane
  • Rottweiler
  • Dogo argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Shar pei
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Saint Bernard

Section 3 : Mountain Dogs and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

identify breed dog Mountain Dogs and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Appenzeller Sennenhund
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Appenzeller Sennenhund
  • Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Group 3 (Terriers)

Group 3 is organized in 4 sections, all belonging to the group of Terriers:

Section 1 : Large and medium sized Terriers

identify breed dog Large and medium sized Terriers
  • Brazilian terrier
  • Irish Terrier
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Fox-terrier

Section 2 : Small sized Terriers

identify breed dog Small sized Terriers
  • Japanese Terrier
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Jack Russell terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier (Westie)
  • Border Terrier

Section 3 :  Bull type Terriers

identify breed dog Bull type Terriers
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Section 4 : Toy Terriers

identify breed dog Toy Terriers
  • Australian Silky Terrier
  • English Toy Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Group 4 (Dachshund)

In group 4, we find a single breed, dachshunds, which can vary depending on the body size, length or color of the hair.


Group 5 (Spitz and Primitive Types)

In group 5 we find 8 sections in which we divide the different types of Nordic dogs, spitz dogs and primitive dogs.

Section 1 :  Nordic sled dogs

identify breed dog Nordic sled dogs
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Greenland Dog
  • Samoyed

Section 2 : Nordic hunting dogs

identify breed dog Nordic hunting dogs
  • Black Norwegian Elkhound
  • Finnish Spitz
  • Jamthund
  • Karelian Bear Dog
  • Norrbottenspets
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Norwegian Lundehund
  • Russo-European Laika
  • West Siberian Laika
  • East Siberian Laika

Section 3 : Nordic Watchdogs and Herding Dogs

identify breed dog Nordic Watchdogs and Herding Dogs
  • Icelandic Sheepdog
  • Lapponian Herder
  • Norwegian Buhund
  • Swedish Lapphund
  • Swedish Vallhund

Section 4 : European Spitz

identify breed dog European Spitz
  • Grossspitz
  • Keeshond
  • Kleinspitz
  • Mittelspitz
  • Pomeranian
  • Volpino Italiano

Section 5 : Asian Spitz and Related Breeds

identify breed dog Asian Spitz and Related Breeds
  • Akita Inu
  • American Akita
  • Chow Chow
  • Eurasier
  • Hokkaido Dog
  • Japanese Spitz
  • Kai Ken
  • Kishu
  • Korean Jindo Dog
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shikoku Dog

Section 6 : Primitive Types

identify breed dog Primitive Types
  • Canaan Dog
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Mexican Hairless Dog ( Xoloitzcuintli )
  • Basenji

Section 7 : Primitive Types – Hunting Dogs

identify breed dog Primitive Types - Hunting Dogs
  • Formosan Mountain Dog
  • Ibizan Hound
  • Podenco Canario
  • Podenco Ibicenco
  • Portuguese Podengo

Section 8 : Primitive Types – Ridgeback

identify breed dog Primitive Types - Ridgeback
  • Thai Ridgeback

Group 6: Scent hounds and related breeds

In group 6, we find common type dogs, divided into three sections: Scent hounds, Leash (scent) Hounds and related breeds. Here are the most representative:

Section 1 : Scent hounds

identify breed dog Scent hounds
  • Bloodhound
  • Poitevin
  • Billy
  • French Tricolour Hound
  • French White and Black Hound
  • French White and Orange Hound
  • Great Anglo-French Tricolour Hound
  • Great Anglo-French White and Black Hound
  • Grand anglo-français blanc et orange
  • Gascony Hound
  • Great Gascon Saintongeois
  • Grand Griffon Vendeen
  • English Foxhound
  • Otterhound
  • American Foxhound
  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Bosnian coarse-haired Hound – called Barak
  • Istrian short-haired Hound
  • Istrian coarse-haired Hound
  • Posavaz Hound
  • Spanish Hound
  • Anglo-Français de petite vénerie
  • Ariégeois
  • Beagle-Harrier
  • Artois Hound
  • Porcelaine
  • Small Blue Gascony Hound
  • Small Gascon Saintongeois
  • Medium Griffon Vendeen
  • Blue Gascony Griffon
  • Fawn Brittany Griffon
  • Griffon nivernais
  • Harrier
  • Hellenic Hound
  • Italian Segugio Short Haired
  • Italian Rough-Haired Hound
  • Serbian Tricolour Hound
  • Montenegrin Mountain Hound
  • Serbian Hound
  • Transylvanian Hound
  • Norwegian Hound
  • Halden Hound
  • Hygen Hound
  • Austrian Black and Tan Hound
  • Styrian coarse-haired Hound
  • Tyrolean Hound
  • Polish Hound
  • Schweizer Laufhund
  • Slovakian Hound
  • Finnish Hound
  • Hamilton Hound
  • Schiller Hound
  • Småland Hound
  • German Hound
  • Westphalian Dachsbracke
  • Artesian-Norman Basset
  • Blue Gascony Basset
  • Artois Hound
  • Fawn Brittany Basset
  • Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
  • Basset Griffon Vendeen
  • Basset Hound
  • Beagle
  • Schweizerische Niederlaufhunde – Petits chiens courants suisses
  • Swedish Dachsbracke

Section 2 : Leash (scent) Hounds

identify breed dog Leash (scent) Hounds
  • Hanover Hound
  • Bavarian Mountain Hound
  • Alpine Dachsbracke

Section 3 : Related breeds

  • Dalmatian
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback

Group 7 : (Pointing dogs)

In group 7, we will find the pointing dogs that point or “show” with the muzzle the direction where the hunting prey is. There are two sections: Continental pointing dogs and British and Irish pointers and setters.

Section 1 : Continental pointing dogs

identify breed dog Continental pointing dogs
  • Old Danish Pointing Dog
  • German Short-haired Pointing Dog
  • German Wire-haired Pointing Dog
  • Pudelpointer
  • German Rough-haired Pointing Dog
  • Short-haired b) langhaarig
  • Burgos Pointing Dog
  • Ariege Pointing Dog
  • Auvergne Pointing Dog
  • Bourbonnais Pointing Dog
  • German Rough-haired Pointing Dog
  • French Pointing Dog – Gascogne type
  • French Pointing Dog – Pyrenean type
  • St.Germain Pointing Dog
  • Italian Pointing Dog
  • Hungarian Wire-haired Pointing Dog
  • Hungarian Short-haired Pointing Dog
  • Portuguese Pointing Dog
  • Small Munsterlander
  • Large Munsterlander
  • German long-haired Pointing Dog
  • Blue Picardy Spaniel
  • Brittany
  • French Spaniel
  • Picardy SPaniel
  • Spaniel de Pont-Audemer
  • Drentse Partridge Dog
  • Frisian Pointing Dog
  • French wire-haired Korthals Pointing Griffon
  • German Rough-haired Pointing Dog
  • Spinone Italiano
  • Český Fousek
  • Slovak Rough-haired Pointer

Section 2 : British and Irish pointers and setters

identify breed dog British and Irish pointers and setters
  • Pointer
  • Irish Setter
  • Irish Red and White Setter
  • Gordon Setter
  • English Setter

Group 8 (Retrivers – Flushing dogs – Water dogs)

Group 8 is mainly divided into three sections: retriever type hunting dogs, flushing dogs and water dogs. Here we explain what they are and some photos so that you can learn to identify them:

Section 1 : Retrivers

identify breed dog Retrivers
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Curly Coated Retriever
  • Flat Coated Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Section 2 : Flush dogs

identify breed dog Flush dogs
  • Deutscher Wachtelhund/Spaniel
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • Field Spaniel
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • Kooikerhondje/Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog
  • American Cocker Spaniel

Section 3: Water dogs

identify breed dog Water dogs
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Barbet
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Frisian water dog
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • American Water Spaniel

Group 9 (Companion and Toy Dogs)

In group 9 there are 11 sections of pet dogs:

Section 1 : Bichons and related breeds

identify breed dog Bichons and related breeds
  • Maltese
  • Havanese
  • Bichon Frise
  • Coton de Tuléar
  • Coton de Tuléar
  • Little Lion Dog

Section 2 : Poodle

identify breed dog Poodle
  • Standard Poodle
  • Medium Poodle
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Toy Poodle

Section 3 : Small Belgian Dogs

identify breed dog Small Belgian Dogs
  • Belgian Griffon
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Brabant Griffon

Section 4 : Hairless Dogs

identify breed dog Hairless Dogs
  • Chinese Crested Dog

Section 5 : Tibetan breeds

identify breed dog Tibetan breeds
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shih Tzu
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Tibetan Terrier

Section 6 : Chihuahua

  • Chihuahua

Section 7 : English Toy Spaniels

King Charles Spaniel
King Charles Spaniel
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • King Charles Spaniel

Section 8 : Japan Chin and Pekingese

identify breed dog Japan Chin and Pekingese
  • Pekingese
  • Japanese Chin

Section 9 : Continental Toy Spaniel and others

identify breed dog Continental Toy Spaniel and others
  • Continental Toy Spaniel Papillon / Phalene

Section 10 : Kromfohrländer

identify breed dog Kromfohrländer
  • Kromfohrländer

Section 11 : Small Molossian type Dogs

identify breed dog Small Molossian type Dogs
  • French Bulldog
  • Pug
  • Boston Terrier

Group 10 (Sighthounds)

In group 10, we find Sighthounds, divided into 3 sections:

Section 1 : Long-haired or fringed Sighthounds

identify breed dog Long-haired or fringed Sighthounds
  • Afghan Hound
  • Saluki
  • Borzoi

Section 2 : Rough-haired Sighthounds

identify breed dog Rough-haired Sighthounds
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Deerhound

Section 3 : Short-haired Sighthounds

identify breed dog Short-haired Sighthounds
  • Spanish Greyhound
  • Greyhound
  • Whippet
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Hungarian Greyhound
  • Azawakh
  • Sloughi/Arabian Greyhound
  • Polish Greyhound