By the Numbers

Jessica Freni

AKC recognizes nearly 200 unique breeds of dog. The newest to gain full recognition being the Biewer Terrier as number #197 recently joining the Toy Group. Next year the Bracco Italiano will reach the Sporting Group (June 29th,2022). There are 11 breeds currently eligible in Miscellaneous with over 70 additional breeds in FSS.

Currently, AKC conformation is divided into seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding- each group averaging about 25-30 breeds/ varieties roughly. For comparison,  UKC (United Kennel Club) has eight groups (Guardian, Scenthound, Sighthound and Pariah dog, Gun Dog, Northern breed, Herding dog, Terrier and Companion dog. FCI has ten groups (http://www.fci.be/en/nomenclature/).

Thinking over these numbers begs the question- do the Groups need a reshuffle? Are seven groups really sufficient? Could a reorganization put breeds into groups they fit a bit more accurately (yes I’m looking at you Poodle!). What would these Groups look like- Spitz, types of Sporting separately- Retrievers, Setters, Spaniels, dividing Hounds by how they hunt game? Or, is a simpler answer not reorganizing the Groups with an overhaul, but adding additional placements?

Are there REALLY only 4 dogs of some 25-30 worthy of further placement/ recognition at any given show? NOHS Groups have some overlapping, eg dogs placing at the same show in both “regular” group and Owner handled, otherwise they’re a nice way of increasing visibility of dogs worthy of award recognition that otherwise might not (because of competition with Professional handlers) at Group level. Some would argue and have said, the real judging that matters is at the group level (breed, supported entries, specialty) and that groups are for handlers to earn their paychecks. How can we increase recognition and visibility best, especially with the growing number of breeds, while maintaining the “worth” to group placements? Discuss