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Groups and categories, how are dog breeds classified?

The FCI, Federation Cynologique Internationale, has established a classification of dog breeds, recognized worldwide. Thus, the 343 recognized breeds of dogs are classified into ten groups. Note that an unofficial eleventh group concerns dogs whose breed is in the process of being recognized or is not recognized at all. Let's take stock of the situation.

How is the FCI nomenclature established?

Fundamental for dog breeders and more generally for dog lovers, this classification of dog breeds is not established on scientific data, nor only on the function of the dogs, but on morphological specificities and only partly on this function. This is why two dogs that are relatively close in origin may not belong to the same group. However, a breed of dog can only belong to one group, which itself can be divided into different sections. This may seem inconsistent to the uninitiated.

It should be noted that the dog classification should in no way be confused with the categorization of dangerous dogs as defined by French law.

The classification is established in relation to international dog shows, and allows dogs to be put in competition.

The ten groups of dogs established by the FCI nomenclature

Here are the 10 groups and the number of dog breeds that each group includes.

Group 1: 42 breeds

  • Sheepdogs,
  • Cattle dogs (excluding Swiss Cattle Dogs).

Group 2 : 49 breeds

  • Pinscher and Schnauzer type dogs,
  • Molossoids (except small molossoids),
  • Swiss Mountain Dogs.

Group 3 : 33 breeds

  • Terriers (large and medium size),
  • Small-sized terriers,
  • Terriers of bull type,
  • Companion Terriers.

Group 4 : 1 breed

  • Dachshunds (standard, miniature, rabbit hunting).

Group 5 : 43 breeds

  • Nordic sled dogs,
  • Nordic hunting dogs,
  • Nordic guard and shepherd dogs,
  • European Spitz,
  • Asian Spitz (including relatives),
  • Primitive type dogs,
  • Primitive type hunting dogs,
  • Primitive hunting dogs with dorsal crest.

Group 6 : 69 breeds

  • Hounds,
  • Bloodhounds,
  • Related breeds.

Group 7 : 36 breeds

  • Continental pointing dogs,
  • British and Irish pointing dogs.

Group 8 : 22 breeds

  • Game retrievers,
  • Retrievers,
  • Water dogs.

Group 9 : 25 breeds

  • Bichons and related breeds,
  • Poodles,
  • Belgian small dogs,
  • Naked dogs,
  • Tibetan dogs,
  • Chihuahua,
  • English Spaniels (pet),
  • Japanese and Pekingese spaniels,
  • Continental Toy Spaniels,
  • Kromfohrländer,
  • Molossoids of small size.

Group 10 : 13 breeds

  • Longhaired or fringed sighthounds,
  • Wire-haired sighthound,
  • Short-haired sighthound.

What about the unofficial Group 11?

This Group 11 includes dog breeds that are not recognized by the classification established by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. It also includes dog breeds that are waiting to be recognized. Dogs recognized by the cynological organization of one country or another can also be included in this unofficial group. Thus, one can for example find there the Australian Shepherd, the American Bulldog, the Dingo...

A Certificate of Aptitude for International Championship (CACIB) is attributable to dogs whose breed is definitively recognized by the FCI. This means dogs belonging to Groups 1 to 10, but not to provisionally recognized breeds.