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Rowan - Irish Setter

The Groups

Choosing a Breed

CanaDogs logoSporting Dogs
CanaDogs logoHounds
CanaDogs logoWorking Dogs
CanaDogs logoTerriers
CanaDogs logoToys
CanaDogs logoNon-Sporting Dogs
CanaDogs logoHerding Dogs
CanaDogs logoMiscellaneous
CanaDogs logoNot Recognized

At, we believe that understanding something about the original purpose for which your dog was bred can go a long way towards predicting future behaviour and temperament. The 180+ breeds of dog recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club are divided into seven groups and one miscellaneous class. While every dog breed and individual dog has its own unique temperament and personality, each of the breeds of dogs grouped together have a similar function.

When choosing a breed, keep in mind that each breed of dog developed certain instinctive characteristics to enable them to do the job they were bred to do. Also keep in mind such factors as: how big will the adult dog get, the barking factor, digging, shedding and grooming, allergies, exercise requirements, common health problems, and the fit with your family (is it good with children, can it spend time alone). The better you honestly assess your lifestyle and needs, the better a potential pet will fit into your family and the happier people and dog will be! 



Group 1 - Sporting Dogs

Irish Setter
Irish Setter


Sporting dogs were originally bred to find, flush out, and retrieve game birds on land and in water. This group is mostly made up of the pointer, setter, spaniel, and retriever families of dogs. They are intelligent hunting companions that are usually willing, trainable, playful, and very energetic. Some have been used as guide dogs.  Sporting dogs vary in size with spaniels being the smallest, and are generally popular with children as pets. Most of these dogs need a lot of exercise and human companionship and may not be suitable in households where the people are gone all day.

*Listed Breeds* are still awaiting full Canadian Kennel Club recognition.

  Hunters of Game Birds
  • Pointers
  • Setters
  • Spaniels
  • Retrievers
  Braque Francais (Gascogne)
  Braque Francais (Pyrenees)
  Épagneul Français
  Griffon (Wirehaired Pointing)
  Lagotto Romagnolo
  Pointer (German Long-haired)
  Pointer (German Short-haired)
  Pointer (German Wire-haired)
  Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)
  Retriever (Curly-coated)
  Retriever (Flat-coated)
 Retriever (Golden)
 Retriever (Labrador)
  Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)
  Setter (English)
  Setter (Gordon)

Listed Breeds:
  Kleiner Munsterlander
  Spanish Water Dog

  Setter (Irish)
  Setter (Irish Red & White)
  Spaniel (American Cocker)
  Spaniel (American Water)
  Spaniel (Blue Picardy)
  Spaniel (Brittany)
  Spaniel (Clumber)
  Spaniel (English Cocker)
  Spaniel (English Springer)
  Spaniel (Field)
  Spaniel (French)
  Spaniel (Irish Water)
  Spaniel (Sussex)
  Spaniel (Welsh Springer)
  Spinone Italiano
  Vizsla (Smooth-haired)
  Vizsla (Wire-haired)



Group 2 - Hounds



Hounds were bred for hunting/tracking people or game ranging from badgers, foxes, and rabbits to wolves and lions using their eyesight or sense of smell. They are independent characters used to working alone. Easily distracted by movement or interesting scents, they may be a training challenge as they are keen hunters. Sighthounds follow their prey by sight and can run like the wind. Scenthounds use their noses to track their prey. Hounds range in size from the tiny Dachshund to the massive Irish Wolfhound.  Some of these dogs require minimal exercise while others need a large, enclosed running space.

*Listed Breeds* are still awaiting full Canadian Kennel Club recognition.


  Hunters and Trackers
  • Sighthounds
  • Scenthounds



Group 3 - Working Dogs

Siberian Husky
Siberian Husky


Working dogs are the guard and draft workers, originally bred to work alongside their humans. They have been used as sled dogs, guarding and protection dogs for livestock and people, and guiding and rescuing dogs. These dogs are territorial, strong, and confident and require a similarly strong-willed master.  The dogs in this group were bred to work and they are happiest when they've got a job to do. This group of dogs includes many of the large and giant breeds. Many make excellent pets, being fiercely loyal and intelligent. However, for some, the demands of their size and protective instincts require careful consideration. 

*Listed Breeds* are still awaiting full Canadian Kennel Club recognition.


  Sled Dogs





Group 4 - Terriers

West Highland White Terrier
West Highland White Terrier

Independent, spunky, tough, and determined, the terriers were bred to hunt rats and other vermin by going into their burrows after them. Tenacious terriers have also been used for guarding, pit fighting, and especially hunting small predators such as badgers, foxes, and rabbits. They are relentless and know no fear or pain when on the job. Terriers have been described as having "a big dog personality in a small dog body". They are a high-activity dog and are therefore not for everyone.  Terriers can be a boon for those with allergies as many of these dogs have wiry but non-shedding coats.  Properly trained and socialized, they can make good house pets, but remember, they love to dig!

*Listed Breeds* are still awaiting full Canadian Kennel Club recognition.

  Vermin Control

Group 5 - Toys

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


Miniature dogs did not evolve naturally. They were bred by people as pets, to be companions and lap dogs. Due to their small size, they are sensitive to extremes of heat and cold and rely on human care to survive. Toys require minimal exercise and are long lived, affectionate and adaptable. They make an ideal pet in situations where keeping any other dog would seem impossible. Toys range in size from approximately one pound to eighteen pounds.  They can be very highly strung and may not be suitable in households with boisterous young children.

*Listed Breeds* are still awaiting full Canadian Kennel Club recognition.



Group 6 - Non-Sporting Dogs

Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise


This group has the largest variety of dogs as it functions as a collection of breeds that are hard to classify in one of the other groups. They may be dogs that used to perform vital tasks that are no longer required such as the Dalmatian. They may be sporting dogs like the Bulldog used years ago in the now-illegal game of bull-baiting. Many of these dogs were companions or watch dogs. With such a variety of animals, this group has likely got something for everyone.

   Hard to classify

   Jobs no longer needed

  American Eskimo Dog (Miniature)
  American Eskimo Dog (Standard)
  Bichon Frise
  Boston Terrier
  Chinese Shar-Pei
  Chow Chow
  French Bulldog
  German Pinscher
  Japanese Spitz
  Lhasa Apso
  Poodle (Miniature)
  Poodle (Standard)
  Shiba Inu
  Shih Tzu
  Tibetan Spaniel
  Tibetan Terrier
  Xoloitzcuintli (Miniature)
  Xoloitzcuintli (Standard)

Group 7 - Herding Dogs

Rough Collie
Rough Collie

Developed mainly as sheep and cattle herders (who keep the flock together) or drovers (who drive them to market), the dogs in this group have worked alongside their humans for centuries. They are very intelligent and make natural watchdogs. They vary in size from small to large and many have thick, double coats that protect them in all sorts of weather. These breeds are popular as pets because of their obedience and willingness to work. These animals are active dogs who love to work and are eager to please. Owners must be prepared to find channels for their abundant energy. Remember, these dogs will herd anything - even the kids - if they have nothing else to do.

*Listed Breeds* are still awaiting full Canadian Kennel Club recognition.

   Sheep/cattle herders


  Australian Cattle Dog
  Australian Shepherd
  Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
  Bearded Collie
  Belgian Shepherd Dog
      (Belgian Sheepdog)
  Berger des Pyrenees
  Berger Picard
  Bouvier des Flandres
  Collie (Rough)
  Collie (Smooth)
  Dutch Sheepdog (Schapendoes)

Listed Breeds:
  Australian Kelpie
  Border Collie
  Finnish Lapphund
  Lancashire Heeler
  Portuguese Sheepdog
  Tatra Sheepdog

  German Shepherd
  Iceland Dog
  Norwegian Buhund
  Old English Sheepdog
  Polish Owczarek Nizinny
     (Polish Lowland Sheepdog)
  Schapendoes (Dutch Sheepdog)
  Shetland Sheepdog
  Swedish Vallhund
  Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)
  Welsh Corgi (Pembroke)




Not Recognized

Catahoula Leopard Dog
Catahoula Leopard Dog


This group consists of many different and rare breeds of dog that are not sufficiently well known to have gained recognition by the Canadian Kennel Club. They are all different shapes and sizes, and have various breed purposes. Many are from other countries such as France, Argentina,  and the Canary Islands. These breeds are largely unfamiliar to North Americans but have a devoted and loyal following of breed fanciers and clubs.

   Rare breeds
  Akbash Dog
  Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
  American Bulldog
  American Pit Bull Terrier
  Catahoula Leopard Dog
  Caucasian Ovcharka
  Chart Polski
  Croatian Sheepdog
  Dogo Argentino
  Dogo Canario
  Dutch Shepherd
  English Shepherd
  Fila Brasileiro
  German Coolie
  Jack Russell Terrier
  Miniature American Shepherd
  Miniature Australian Shepherd 
  Perro de Presa Canario
  Russo-European Laika
  Sarplaninac (Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog)
  St. Hubert Jura Laufhund
  Shiloh Shepherd
  South African Boerboel
  Spaniel (Picardy)
  Spanish Mastiff
  Swiss Hound
  Tenterfield Terrier
  Tosa Inu