Dogs are the domesticated descendants of the Wolf. They have either the scientific name of Canis familiaris (domestic dog) as a separate species or Canis lupus familiaris (domestic wolf dog) as a subspecies of the Wolf. Dogs are in the family Canidae, the dog-like carnivorans or canids, while the genus Canis means “dog” and includes wolves, dogs, coyotes and jackals. Their subfamily is Caninae, or canines, while their tribe is the dog-like or “true dog” tribe Canini and their sub-tribe is the wolf-like canids of Canina. Dogs are one of the first animals to be domesticated by prehistoric man.
All members of the genus Canis have common physical characteristics. Bone structure, behavior and reproduction are just a few markers that are unique to canids. Dogs also have unique characteristics that distinguish them from wolves. You can use some of these markers to determine whether a canid is a wolf or a dog.
Teeth are one of the easiest ways to identify a canine. Most canids (of the family Canidae) have 42 teeth, with a dental formula of:
Other canid features
Canids generally share similar skull features, basic body shape, monogamous and pack behavior and retention of adult offspring.
Dogs have a greater variance in behavioral and physical variation than any other land mammal, including wolves. Dogs have starch gel electrophoresis of red blood cell acid phosphatase. They also have smaller, compressed and crumpled tymphanic bullae. Physically, they have a more domed forehead and “stop” between the nose and forehead. Wolves have a more prominent temporalis muscle (the muscle that closes the jaws) and do not have dew claws on their back legs. Dogs lack a pre-caudal gland and go into estrus twice instead of once a year. Whereas dogs usually have brown eyes, wolves have amber or pale-colored eyes. Their skin is thicker and their paws are half the size of those of a wolf.
Some house plants are poisonous to dogs, including Begonia, Poinsettia and Aloe Vera. Many human food items are indigestible or toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, onion, garlic, macadamia nuts, xylitol and nicotine. Diet-wise, dogs are omnivores and can handle a diet with more starch in it than a wolf, which is more strictly carnivorous.
There are several tribes of the subfamily Caninae. The dog-like tribe Canini is sister to the wolf-like tribe Vulpini. They are in the suborder Caniformia or Canoidea, the dog-like carnivorans. It stands in stark contrast to the cat-like carnivorans, the Feliformia or Feloidea suborder of Carnivora.
Types of Dogs
There are several types of dog groups that are classified based on what they were bred to do:
Sporting dogs were bred to help their hunters capture and retrieve game birds. Retrievers swim and focus on waterfowl, while setters, spaniels and pointers hunt game birds. Their coats are often thick and water-repellant to protect against the elements. Some examples of sporting dog breeds are Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, the Nova Scotia Dock Tolling Retriever, Cocker Spaniel and German Shorthaired Pointer.
Hound dogs were bred to chase after warm-blooded, terrestrial prey. They are generally divided into sighthounds, who use speed and vision to chase jackrabbits and antelopes, while scent hounds can use their noses to trail raccoons and people. All have strong prey drives. Some examples of hound dog breeds are Bloodhound, Greyhound and Dachshund.
Working dogs were bred to perform tasks such as guarding families or pulling sleds and carts. The Boxer, Great Dane and Rottweiler and a few examples of working dog breeds.
Herding dogs are a type of working dog along with service dogs. While herding dogs help herd livestock, service dogs help people with disabilities. However, they differ in that they were bred specifically to herd livestock, such as sheep, cattle and reindeer. Some are excellent for police and military work. A few examples of herding dog breeds are Border Collie, German Shepherd and Icelandic Sheepdog.
Terrier dogs were bred to be small in order to go after vermin hiding in the ground. They include terrier breeds, which have long legs to dig out rodents, and “bully” breeds, which were used for bull-baiting and now make companion dogs. Bull Terrier, Scottish Terrier and Welsh Terrier are examples of terrier dog breeds.
Toy dogs were bred for their small size to be companion dogs. They are perfect for city dwellers or anyone living in a small house. A few examples of toy dog breeds are Chihuahua, Pug and Shih Tzu.
Non-sporting dogs do not fit into any of the other group types and were bred to be companionship animals. The Bulldog, Dalmatian and Poodle are a few examples of non-sporting dogs.
Dogs share a common ancestor with modern wolves. Many large dog breeds have been bred with wolves, such as malamutes and huskies. Some are sought by private citizens, while others have been used for security work. For example, the Russians in the late 1990s created a breeding program for wolf-dog hybrids called Volkosoby or Volkosob, which are used for border control. See a list of 8 dogs that look like wolves here.
Types of Dogs
First bred in 17th century Germany!
First used as a shepherd and hunter!
An innate sense of direction!
Very intelligent, independent and strong-minded!
This is a great pooch for rough-housing and one-to-one.
Often used as a guard dog!
Very clean, intelligent and loyal!
The Akita Shepherd descends from a lineage of working dogs.
The Alabai’s genes indicate that this breed has been around for more than 5,000 years.
The Alaskan Husky is one of the most common sled dogs in the world
This dog’s Malamute ancestors once came to America across the Bering Strait.
Good companion and hard-working breed!
Alusky dogs are known for their sledding pulling skills.
Merry, outgoing, and eager to please!
Easygoing and people-friendly!
The American Eskimo has splendid all white fur and an upturned tail
Sweet, kind, loyal, and very loving!
The American hairless terrier comes in two varieties with one having a very short coat.
These dogs are very energetic and would be up for a game at any given point of time
Bred to be extremely friendly!
Friendly and intelligent!
Guards it's master's flocks!
Apple Head Chihuahuas are toy breed dogs with a history dating back to ancient Mexico. They are lovable, loyal, smart and courageous with a lengthy lifespan despite being the world's smallest canines.
The breed has its own popular Instagram page (Aussiedoodles Daily)!
Aussiedors come in black, brown, cream, yellow, and almost every imaginable color due to their parentage!
The Aussie is a strong swimmer, a good workout in nice weather.
High energy levels and active minds!
Friendly, intelligent and energetic!
The "Australian" just refers to where the breed originated
The Australian Retriever may have two different eye colors.
Sweet, faithful and affectionate!
Spirited, alert and courageous!
Alert, affectionate and energetic!
This dog is also known as a Bassetdor or a Basset Lab.
A friendly and intelligent hunting dog that loves nothing more than to spend time with its owner.
Forget the training when not rewarded!
Basset hounds have been around since the 7th century, but the bassetoodle made its first appearance in the 2000s.
The Bea-Tzu has a fast-growing coat
An excellent companion for cats!
Beagadors like to dig, so make sure your garden has a good fence around it.
Have become popular family pets!
This dog can perform a wide range of exotic and acrobatic tricks that are not expected of a dog this size.
These dogs have great sniffer abilities
Beagos are good swimmers like their Golden Retriever parent.
Weekly brushing is mandatory!
Beaskis love to play, so get ready to go on plenty of long walks.
Highly active and intelligent dogs!
The sheepdog is also known as the Groenendael. All four Belgian varieties have nicknames for Belgian villages.
Bergamascos are excellent problem solvers; they were bred to be independent as they work alongside their nomadic shepherd owners.
The Bernedoodle was first bred in 2003 to create a dog with a similar temperament to the Bernese Mountain Dog that would have a longer lifespan.
Very loyal, faithful and affectionate!
Bernese shepherds prefer cool climates
Gentle mannered, playful and affectionate!
Despite its small size, the alert nature and sharp bark of this canine make it a good watch dog.
A toy terrier dog and is elegant and tri-colored.
Confident, calm and highly intelligent!
Affectionate, gentle and even-tempered!
Originated in Texas in the mid 1800s!
Has an uncanny knack for problem-solving!
Boggles at animal rescues are often mistaken for pitbulls because they have a similar facial structure.
Boglen terriers are also occasionally known as boggles.
From the northern Italian city of Bologna!
Boradors make excellent police dogs and are used often on search and rescue missions.
Highly intelligent and alert breed!
Small, rough-coated breed of terrier!
Bordoodles are much quieter than other Doodles and require far less exercise.
Most Borkies inherit the signature howl of their Beagle parent.
Friendly, lovable and very strong!
Boxadors are extremely smart and catch onto backyard games very quickly!
Bright, energetic and playful!
The Boxerdoodle has a strong hunting dog lineage.
Boxers were bred to be working war dogs, and their boxsky descendants still love to help out on ranches and other outdoor jobs.
Boxweilers come in a variety of colors, but they usually feature the subtle brindle pattern that their boxer parents are so famous for.
Enthusiastic working dog!
Small body and tri-coloured coat!
The breed was formerly known as the Brittany spaniel
The Brussels Griffon prefers to live with another dog so they have a companion to play with.
Friendly, loving and docile!
Courageous, loyal and calm!
Intelligent, lively and strong!
Has a strong survival instinct!
Cane Corsos nearly became extinct in the mid 1900’s, but the breed was revived by a group of Italians. Even so, they still didn’t become known in many other parts of the world until after 1988.
Wild dog breed discovered in the 1970s!
The Cavador is a good service dog.
Highly playful and affectionate!
The temperament of a Cavapoo allows this breed to make an excellent family dog as well as a great therapy dog.
An affectionate hunting dog!
This breed is also known as the Bohemian Terrier (Bohemia was an historical Medieval kingdom and a region of the modern Czech Republic)
Some Cheagles have an excellent sense of smell.
Bright and happy disposition!
Curious and devoted personality!
These dogs have a blue and black tongue.
A calm and friendly breed!
The Chipoo was first bred in the 1970s
Chorkies are very fond of their owners and will love to sit in their laps for long amounts of time!
Loyal and affectionate to it's family!
The Chow Shepherd is also known as the Sheprachow.
Cockapoos became popular in the 1960s as a sweet, family dog.
Corgidors are herding dogs that typically help out on cattle farms.
These dogs are highly intelligent and are easy to train.
One of the Corkie’s parent breeds, the Cocker Spaniel, was thought to have come over on the Mayflower.
Corman Shepherds can be great watchdogs and are often very protective of their owners.
A lively and fun-loving breed!
This hybrid dog is also known as a Doxador or a Weinerdor.
Fun and playful breed of small dog!
Dalmatians were originally bred to run alongside carriages, and their dalmadoodle descendents have the same long legs and high energy.
Dalmador breeding skyrocketed after the 16 release of the live-action 101 Dalmatians movie.
Have an energetic and playful nature!
A Dapple Dachshund’s dappling pattern may be just one spot, or it may be numerous spots and splashes on their coat.
The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world.
Has long drop ears and a long narrow tail!
A gentle, loyal and loving breed!
First domesticated in South-East Asia!
Loyal and affectionate to their family!
Extremely loyal and devoted to it's master!
Dorkies are so laid-back they sometimes need extra incentive to exercise each day.
Doxiepoos are an unpredictable breed that can come in a variety of appearances and sizes.
Doxles have long floppy ears
Uncommon outside of Europe!
A friendly and relaxed dog!
Intelligent yet stubborn by nature!
Although their coats can get incredibly light in color, golden retrievers never have purely white coats.
English Foxhounds were bred to work and live in a pack. Because of this, this breed is happiest when they are around other dogs.
Highly intelligent and independent!
Friendly and eager to please!
Native to parts of the Swiss Alps!
Hard-working, gentle and affectionate!
Takes pure delight in cold weather!
Eskipoos are called pookimos by the American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, and Designer Breed Registry.
Very protective and stubborn!
The word feisty derived from this type of dog.
A sociable and adaptable breed!
A game retrieving gun-dog!
First bred in the mid-19th century!
French bulldogs are known to be very sensitive, harboring emotions that they love to express
Frengles have a haunting howl very similar to their Beagle parent.
German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and Gerberian Shepskies are all popular choices for police dogs.
Highly intelligent and fast learners!
Highly active and fearless dogs!
The German Sheppit is well-suited for guarding and police work.
There is a chance that the German Sheprador may inherit a love for water from its parent.
There are five different sub-breeds of the German Spitz.
Large, powerful and dominant!
Both parents of the Giant Schnoodle are hypoallergenic, making this one of the Doodle breeds that's safest for dander-sensitive owners.
Glechons are talented in the area of search and rescue, as their sense of smell makes them great at tracking.
This dog is also named the Wicklow Terrier after the county of its origin.
These dogs are great around children and are very playful around them.
Goldadors were not intentionally bred until the early 2000s!
Golden doxes don't have to be tiny. This breed looks different depending on whether the mix includes a regular dachshund or the mini version of the species.
These dogs love to swim and instinctively know how to swim.
Golden Pyrenees make great therapy dogs due to their intelligence and gentle nature.
Trusting, kind and gentle!
Golden saints come in all kinds of colors. You can find them in tan, chocolate, yellow, brindled, spotted, and almost any other pattern you can think of.
The Golden Shepherds were first recognized by the International Designer Canine Registry in 2009.
Due to their breeding, no two Goldendoodles are alike.
Large and imposing in appearance!
Both Great Danes and Poodles are in the top 15 most popular AKC breeds - which makes Great Danoodles a shoo-in for popularity.
Protective and gentle by nature!
Strong and speedy breed of dog!
Extremely fast and athletic!
Griffonshires are so little they are easily mistaken for puppies throughout their lives.
Cheerful, tolerant and sweet-tempered!
These are the only dogs that are native to Cuba
The exact appearance of a Havapoo can vary based on whether the genes of its Poodle or Havanese parent are more dominant.
Both of the Havashire’s parent breeds were very popular among the upper classes.
Horgis have a silly side and love to be the center of attention.
Huskadors are gaining in popularity as service dogs.
Due to the mix of genes, a Husky Jack’s coat may be a variety of colors including black, gray, white, red, sable, or mixed colors.
Huskydoodles are known for their jumping abilities!
Intelligent, active and engaging by nature!
Irish Doodles can be very active dogs, but they also love just hanging out with their family members in the house.
Can live for up to 16 years!
An average 300 Irish Terrier puppies are born each year in the United States.
Sweet-tempered, patient and thoughtful!
The Italian Greyhound is a miniature dog with a big motor and personality!
Intelligent, athletic and fearless!
The Jackabee has an excellent sense of smell.
Alert, intelligent and independent!
Japanese Terriers are also called Nippon Terriers
Friendly, alert dogs that are loyal to their owners
They are born black, and turn gray-blue as they age.
If Kooikerhondjes look familiar, it’s because old Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Jan Steen liked to paint them.
The name "koolie" comes from the German mispronunciation of "collie."
Ownership of this dog was once restricted to the Hungarian nobility
Loves to participate in activities.
Labradanes can come with both sold-color coats and the more exciting patterns that you typically see on Great Danes.
Friendly and energetic mix-breed!
Well-balanced, friendly and versatile!
These dogs have medium-sized pendant ears.
These dogs were once used by farmers to keep foxes away from herds of sheep.
A Lhasapoo’s coat can be curly like a poodle’s or long and silky like a Lhasa Apso’s.
Malteagles are one of the smallest beagle hybrids and love to follow their owners everywhere.
Originally bred in Europe!
Both parent breeds, the Maltese and Shih Tzu, once entertained royalty
Maltipoos may have one of three different coat types depending on the specific genes they inherit from their parents. These include silky, curly, or wavy.
Fences are no match for Manchester terriers. They’re great escape artists!
The Mastador gets its enormous size from its Mastiff parent
Courageous, calm and affectionate!
The Meagle has an incredible sense of smell.
The first mini labradoodle was bred in the early 1990s - almost immediately after standard labradoodles became popular.
This dog has a very happy-go-lucky temperament.
The Miniature Husky has a double coat that it sheds twice annually. Also, some people confuse them with Alaskan Klee Kai, which have similar blue eyes.
Has characteristics of two or more breeds!
A Morkie puppy can weigh as little as 4 ounces.
Mountain Feists were bred in the southern United States as a dog that could help with hunting small game.
Fearless and extremely protective of it's home!
Introduced by Vikings more than 1,000 years ago!
Newfypoos have a thick oily coat that can be hard to groom.
Fearless but not aggressive!
Though Norwich terriers are small, they have a reputation for being feisty.
Intelligent, sociable and playful!
Otterhounds have webbed feet making them great swimmers!
The root stock of the breed was a dog named Trump
A Patterdale Terrier’s small body structure allows it to squeeze into fox burrows.
Peagles enjoy being the center of attention. This can make them a very entertaining breed to own.
Thought to be over 2,000 years old!
A small dog with a big, lively personality.
Like their purebred parents, these dogs love the water!
There are several names for this breed, including the Labrabull or the Pitador Retriever.
Most Pitskies will do best as the only pet in a home. They may become aggressive with other dogs (especially two unneutered male dogs) and could try to chase or catch small pets due to their higher prey drive.
Queen Elizabeth I of England once owned several Pocket Beagles
An independent, loyal and high energy breed!
Despite having shaggy hair that covers its eyes, this dog is known for its watchful gaze when guarding a herd.
Pomapoos like companionship and do not like being alone. They may do better in a home with other dogs.
Pomeagles are sweet and fun dogs that like to spend time exploring their environment.
The ancestors of the Pomeranian were sled dogs.
The howls and barks of a Pomsky can sound like singing
The Poochon was first bred in Australia.
Intelligent, alert and active!
The Poogle is one of 40 different doodle dog breeds (poodle mixes).
Like their poodle parent, Pudelpointers love to swim in pools!
Fun and sociable, yet stubborn!
The pugapoo is the fusion of a pug and a poodle.
These dogs are active and are often patient around children.
With their incredible desire to show affection, Pugshire make great lap dogs.
Most popular as a companion pet
Pyredoodles can have a thick double coat or a thinner single coat.
Raggles are known for their energy and curiosity.
Rat terriers were popular with farmers before 1930 because of their ability to kill rodents.
Many Rottskies have one brown eye and one blue eye.
Strong, loyal and self-assured!
The Russell Terrier was bred to be a good fox hunter with a keen sense of smell
The bite of a Russian Bear Dog is stronger than a lion’s bite.
Gentle, loyal and friendly!
These dogs have an eager-to-please attitude, making them sweet and happy pets.
This hybrid dog is a great companion and doesn’t do well being left alone but is suitable for apartments or houses with backyards!
This breed is nicknamed the “Diehard” because of its iron will and steely determination.
Very endangered breed that is scion of several breeds that include one that is already extinct
Sheepadoodles were first bred as an experiment for use as a military dog in the Army in the 1960s, however they didn’t really gain popularity until 2007.
Some police officers with allergies use Shepadoodles as their K-9 partner
These dogs can sometimes be overly aggressive.
The Shepweiler is an excellent guard dog.
Shiba Inus are one of six native dog breeds from Japan.
Can live for up to 15 years!
Shollies are a fairly new type of crossbreed!
Is adequately warm in sub-zero temperatures!
Many husky Labs have one blue eye and one brown eye.
Although a lack of documentation makes it unclear, the first Siberpoo was probably bred in either the 1970s or 1980s.
Silky terriers can be trained to participate in many events, including herding, agility, rally, tracking and fly ball.
The Labrador is the most popular breed in the United States and most of these dogs have blue eyes at a young age, before they turn another color.
Skye terriers are the oldest terrier breed, dating back at least 400 years.
These dogs are known for their fast digging abilities.
Snorkies are known for their funny, attention-getting antics.
The Spanador is a good swimmer.
Diego Velázquez’s famous 17th century painting of the Infanta and her dwarves includes a portrait of a Spanish Mastiff.
Known for their loyalty to their family!
Taco terriers are known by a variety of names, including the Chitoxy Toy and the Chiwoxy.
Often just called 'Teddies' by owners
These terriers have quick minds and fast feet making them excellent for agility competitions.
Terriers were once the greatest dogs in the world.
Though they are loyal to their family, these dogs can be shy around strangers.
In their native Thailand, Thai Ridgebacks were used to hunt cobras.
Originally bred in the Himalayan mountains!
Originally bred to be a companion dog in Tibetan Buddhist lamaseries.
Tibetan terriers have round, flat, “snow shoe” feet that evolved to give them traction on snowy Himalayan paths
The Torkie has a soft silky coat
Hunters still use the toy fox to go into a fox's den and flush the animal out.
The word poodle is derived from German, and it means to splash or puddle.
This dog is also known as the Weimarpoo, the Weimaranerpoo, and the Weimaranerdoodle.
There are two distinct breeds!
The Welsh Terrier has the strength and tenacity to take on foxes and badgers.
Most commonly white in colour!
This dog is known for cocking its head in a curious manner when listening to its owner.
Originally bred as a farm dog, the Wheaten Terrier can be very protective of its domain.
Quiet, gentle and restful dogs!
Whoodles are good swimmers
The Wire Fox Terrier was bred from the now extinct Rough Coated Black and Tan Terrier to hunt down foxes.
A Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s coat makes it look like it has a mustache and beard!
The Yakute people were likely the first to use dogs to pull sleds, so the Yakutian Laika was probably among the first sled dogs.
These dogs are very intelligent and are great with children.
Yorkie Bichons can come in a wide range of colors including black, white, blonde, gray, golden, or dark brown.
The Yorkie-Poo originated from the hybrid poodle phase of the late 20th century
Highly energetic and eager for adventure!
List of Dog Breeds
Dog Breeds FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is a dog?
Any canine descended from the domesticated common ancestor of dogs and wolves, in the family Canidae, genus Canis.
What is the largest dog?
The largest dog ever depends if you’re looking at the tallest, longest or heaviest. Freddy the Great Dane in England measured 40.75 inches tall, while the Old English Mastiff Aicama Zorba in England measured 8 feet, 3 inches from nose to tail and was also the heaviest dog in the world at 343lbs. Great Danes are the tallest dog breed and English Mastiffs are the heaviest.
What is the smallest dog?
The smallest dog in terms of height is a Chihuahua in Puerto Rico named Milly, who measured 9.65 cm (3.8 in) tall. The smallest dog breed is the Chihuahua.
What did dogs evolve from?
Dogs evolved and genetically diverged from a common ancestor with wolves in the Late Pleistocene era about 11,700 years ago. The grey wolf is the closest living relative of the dog, with cross-breeding having occurred during the dog’s domestication. There is no agreement as to when dogs were domesticated, but the process occurred somewhere around 11,000 years ago when hunter-gatherers closely associated with live populations of aurochs, beer, sheep and goats after beginning an association with wolves.
What are the different types of dogs?
There are 7 types of dogs: Sporting, Hound, Herding, Working, Terrier, Toy and Non-sporting.
What is the scientific name for a dog?
Canis familiaris is the scientific name for a dog if it’s considered a distinct species from the wolf. It’s Canis lupus familiaris if considered a subspecies of the wolf.
What is the most dangerous dog breed?
Prey dogs are considered to be the most dangerous due to their strong bite and large muscle mass. The Pit Bull is currently said to be the most dangerous dog breed, although the Rottweiler and Inu also have a reputation for being dangerous at different times or in different areas of the world.
Are Dogs really color blind?
No, they do not see in black-and-white. However, they are red-green color-blind.
What are some examples of small dog breeds?
Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Shih Tzu, Pug, and Dachshund are some small dog breeds.