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Dog Breed Characteristics

Origin of Domestic Dogs

As friends and helpmates of humans, dogs have a long history tracing back over 15,000 years. All domestic dogs belong to a single species, Canis familiaris. The ancient ancestors of dogs were a small subspecie of wolves, Canis, lupus pallipes, that is still found from Israel to India. From that breeding has emerged every kind of dog we know today, over 700 breeds worldwide.

Today, the purpose our dogs are called upon to fulfill is mostly that of a companion. In that capacity, random-breeds can stand proudly alongside purebreds in their ability to perform. So, whether your dog is a champion-caliber Affenpinscher or a slightly jumbled-looking no-name, be assured of this: It merely asks for all the love you can give, and in exchange it provides companionship, protection, friendship and lots of affection. Choosing a dog is an important decision. Not only will your dog be a faithful companion for years to come, but it will also become a member of your family. While dogs are one of life's most wonderful gifts, they are also a responsibility.

Breed Characteristics

To help you select the right dog, or find the breed that your dog belongs to, we have divided the breeds into four size categories, with numerous breed descriptions for each category:

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