Golden Retriever – picture of dogs
It stands to reason that when people choose a dog, it should fit into their life style. The selective breeding of dogs has been going on for at least 15000 years. This breeding involved creating dog varieties with certain characteristics like strength, skills, size, shape, colouring, and temperament. Worldwide there are around 400 such breeds and in Australia there are around 160 breeds. Today there is a dog breed to suit every conceivable need.
For simplicity dogs are categorised into seven different groups according to what they were bred to. These groups are gundogs, hounds, pastoral, terriers, toys, utility dogs and working dogs.

Types of Dogs


They are bred to flush out and retrieve shooters game, but never to kill. They have soft fleshy mouths designed to protect the shot animal from accidental damage by the dog’s teeth. They are also bred to live inside home as part of family. They have gentle affectionate and have easy going temperament.  They are intelligent, sociable and easily trainable. Their desire to use their mouth can make them great chewers when they grow up. They are great family dogs.
The main gundog breeds are American cocker spaniel, American Water spaniel, Braque Italian , Brittany , Chesapeake Bay retriever , Clumber Spaniel, Curly coated retriever, English Setter , English Springer Spaniel , Flat Coated retriever , German Shorthaired pointer, German Wirehaired pointer, Golden Retriever, Hungarian Vizsla , Irish Red and White Setter , Irish Setter , Irish Water Spaniel , Italian Spinone, Kooikerhondje , Labrador Retriever , Large Munster lander , Nova Scotia Duck , Tolling Retriever, Pointer , Spanish Water Dog, Sussex Spaniel , Weimaraner , Welsh Springer Spaniel, wired haired Spaniel, Wired haired Pointing Griffon


Hounds were bred to track and hunt prey with hunters on foot, horseback. Some were bred to chase, bring down and kill prey and may not be good with small pets and young children, They are not bred to work closely with human so can be independent and disobedient. They hunt by scent or sight. They may be difficult to train and need plenty of exercise.
Afghan Hound – picture of dogs
Major Hound breeds are Afghan Hound, Basenji , Basset Fouve de Bretagne, Basset Griffon Vendeen , Basset Hound , Beagle, Black and Tan Coonhound , Bloodhound , Borzoi, Daschshund , Elkhound , Finnish Spitz, Deerhound, Foxhound , Grand Bleu de Gasgogne, Greyhound, Hamiltonstovare, Harrier , Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Lurcher, Norwegian Lunderhund, Otterhound, Pharaoh Hound, Platt Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Segugio Italiano, Sloughi, Whippet.


They are bred to hunt, dig up, catch or kill vermin (rabbits, rodents etc.). Because of this genetics, most terriers will chase and injure cats unless they have been raised with them. They may occasionally chew up the shoes or dig holes in the garden. They usually have a small mouth but will bite hard. They are good watch dogs. They are aggressive dogs. They can be stubborn and unwilling to respond to commands unless there is something for them. They are tough and feisty creatures and not the best choice for people with young children.
Airedale Terrier – picture of dogs
Major terrier breeds are Airedale Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier , Australian Terrier, Bedlington Terrior, Border Terrier, Bull Terrier( English), Bull Terrier( Miniature), Cairn Terrier, Cesky Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Fox Terrier( Smooth and Wire), Glen of Imaal Terrier, Irish Terrier, Jack Russel Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier , Lakeland Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Parson Russel Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, Skye Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Welsh Terrier, West Highland Terrier


They are bred as indoor companions like charming toys. They adapt to small living areas and needs little exercise. They are intelligent and make good watch dogs.  They are keen on having close contact with their owners and are mild mannered.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – picture of dogs
Major Toy breeds are Affenpinscher, Australian Silken Terrier , Bichon Frise, Bolgnese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel , Chihuahua, Chinese crested , English Tay Terrier, Griffon Bruxellois, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, King Charles spaniel, Lawchen, Malese, Miniature Pinscher, Papillon, Pekingese, Pameranian, Pug, Tay Fox Terrier ( American Toy Terrier) , Yorkshire Terrier


These dogs are of high intelligence, trainability, endurance, loyalty and easy care. They usually fall into two categories. One bred to round up flocks of sheep or cattle and the other bred to live with and protect flocks of sheep or cattle. Those in the first category needs plenty of exercise, sensitive, quick to react and can be easily trained. A few breeds prefer strong bond with one person. The second category is usually larger, more powerful breeds bred to live with flocks to protect from predators. They have strong guarding instincts, if needs to be used in a home environment needs to be socialised as puppies.
Australian Cattle Dog – picture of dogs
Major pastoral breeds are Australian Shepherd dog, Australian Cattle dog, Bearded Collie, Belgian Shepherd dog, Bergamasco, Border Collie, Briard, Ollie, Estrela Mountain Dog, Finnish Lapphund, German Shepherd Dog, Hungarian Puli, Komondor, Lancashire Heeler, Maremma Sheep dog, Norweigian Buhund, Old English Sheepdog, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Samoyed, Shetland Sheepdog, Swedish Vallhunt, Welsh Corgi

Utility Dogs

The Definition of utility dogs varies among kennel clubs. Inclusion breeds in the category also varies depending on the kennel club and some kennel clubs even don’t have this category. There are two different kennel club definitions of Utility Group. In one, dogs which do not fit elsewhere are placed in the Utility Group, and in the other, certain breeds of working dogs are designated as part of the Utility Group. The New Zealand Kennel Club and the Australian National Kennel Council each recognize a Utility Group, with a different emphasis. In Australia and New Zealand, the Utility Group includes large breeds of livestock guardian type dogs, large Spitz types, as well as guard, rescue, and messenger dogs
Major Breeds in this variety are Akita, American Eskimo Dog, Boston Terrier, Bull dog, Canaan Dog, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, French Bull Dog, German Spitz, Japanese Shiba inu, Japanese Spitz, Keeshondm Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Poodle( Miniature and Standard), Schipperke, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Tibetan Spaniel , Tibetan Terrier

Working Dogs

Most major English-language kennel clubs include a Working Group, although different kennel clubs may not include the same breeds in their Working Group. Working Group does not define one particular type of dog. It is not a scientific classification. Working Group is not a term used by the international kennel club association.
Major breeds in this category are Alaskan Malamute, Beauceron, Bernese Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Boxer, Bouvier Des Flandres, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Doberman, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Greenland Dog, Hovawart, Leon Berger, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pinscher, Portuguese Water Dog, Rottweiler, Russian Black Terrier, Siberian Husky, St Bernard, Tibetan Mastiff
Border Collie – picture of dogs

Things to consider before having a pet dog

They are expensive to maintain. You have to consider expenses for vaccination, training, collars and leads, brushes, puppy toys and chews, towels, insurance, brushes, veterinary doctor fees for check-ups, worming and diseases.

Time and energy for dogs
Dogs need regular exercise and some breeds need it more than the other. You may have to spend time for grooming, training, exercise, feeding, bathing and for taking it to the veterinary doctor.

Long or short coat
A thick profuse coat means more grooming time. The coat will shed and fill inside your home. You need to brush the dog remove the loose hair. Long coats can give allergy to young and adults.

Your life style
The dog should fit your life style. Depending on the breed, dogs have different needs. Herding dogs are great for people living in countryside or are very active. They are not suitable for flat dwellers who could well choose a dog like Bichon Frise or Cavalier King Charles. Terriers are genetically programmed to be tough, so they won’t be a good choice for people with kids. Gun dogs on the other hand are great family dogs and Golden Retriever is an ideal pet for most situations, Labradors are good fun they are rather boisterous when young and take a while to mature. German Shepherds are also suitable family dogs but it particularly important to socialise them very early.
It is advisable not to choose breeds such as bull terrier types, as these dogs can inflict terrible wounds and it is often difficult to release their grip once they have been triggered to bite. Another dog that can cause such problem is Rottweiler. (Courtesy: Your Ideal Dog by David and Ruth Weston). Probably should choose a passive type of family dog such as a golden retriever, Newfoundland, Shuh Tzu or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Never choose a family dog one which has been bred for attack work.

German Shepherd – picture of dogs

How to choose a puppy

Choose a puppy that is seven or eight weeks old. This is the right age for you to train and socialise a puppy as per your needs.
Pups will turn out like parents. If you know the parents avoid taking a puppy if either of the parents show aggressiveness or nervousness. Pups have an inherited temperament. So if you are not impressed with the temperament of the parents, avoid buying the puppy.
A pack of dogs learns to accept its position through natural process of learning. When puppies challenge each other one may be submissive and other aggressive. Based on that, a hierarchy is established. When you want to choose a puppy get down to your knees and call the pups. The one comes first stepping over the rest is the ring leader. The one that retreat to the corner is the shy one… The one that comes to you in a relaxed friendly manner is the right one, since this one is more likely to make socially acceptable companion. Watch the pups playing for a while and do not select any pup that appears to be on top of the others and act timid.
If take the pups one by one in your hand the one shows the most affection by licking and wagging its tail shows a better promise for the future.
Test the intelligence of the pups by moving a stick or ball. Intelligent pups will show keen interest and a playful attitude.

Rottweiler  –  picture of dogs

How to interact with your puppy

I have already mentioned that dogs are pack animal and they establish their hierarchy in the pack as early as six weeks old. Once you bring a dog to your house, they will try to find their place in your family hierarchy, the same way as they find their place in a dogs pack. An adult dog will readily accept its subordinate position if it trained that way as a puppy. When you train dogs to respond to your signals naturally you are establishing a superior position for you. It is important to establish your superiority from an early stage. When dogs live with humans, humans become the dog’s pack. For the relationship to succeed humans should become the pack leader. Constant affection towards a dog without rules and limits may make the dog feel like the pack leader. As a pack leader, it will get annoyed when it has to listen to instructions and will show animal instincts for aggression.

Dog Breeds

The list of most popular breeds in small to large category

Very Small
Australian Silky Terrier, Chihuahua, Miniature dachshund, Jack Russel Terrier, Maltese, Papillon, Pomeranian , Poodle (toy) , pug, Shih Tzhu , Yorkshire terrier

Beagle , Cairn Terrier , Cavalier King Charles Spaniel , Cocker Spaniel , Fox Terrier , Shetland sheepdog , Miniature Schnauzer , Staffordshire bull terrier, Welsh Corgi

Airedale Terrier , Australian Cattle dog, Border Collie , Dalmatian , King Springer Spaniel, Kelpie, Labrador retriever, Standard Poodle , Schnauzer, Siberian husky, Whippet

Boxer, Collie rough, Curly coated retriever, Doberman, German Shepherd, German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Pointer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Schnauzer, Setters

Great Dane

Bull Terrier –  picture of dogs

The ten most popular dog breeds in Australia

German shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador retriever, Staffordshire bull terrier, Rottweiler, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Border Collie, Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, Jack Russel Terrier

The Breeds most likely to attack and bite

German shepherd, Bull Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Doberman, Rottweiler

Safest breeds for Families

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Pug, Whippet
Whippet   the racing dog

Canine Clubs in Australia

Australian Capital Territory: Website:
NewSouthWales: Website:
Northern Territory: Website:
South Australia: Website:
Victoria: Website:
Queensland: Website:
Tasmania: Website:
Western Australia: Website:
If you are looking for dog breeds and their essential characteristics good source of information are available at
Australian National Kennel Council –
( All images in this article are wiki commons license )

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