At the Gentle Pit, we may have a slight preference for pups that fit under the category of “pit bulls,” which includes American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. That being said, we have a strong appreciation for dogs of all breeds, big and small.
Now, that’s a lot of dogs. According to Hill’s Pets, the World Canine Organization “lists 360 officially recognized breeds.” Reader’s Digest also noted that the American Kennel Club recognizes almost 200 dog breeds, with each breed split up into “seven different groups,” Sporting, Hound, Working, Herding, Terrier, Toy, and Non-Sporting.
“The AKC recognizes 195 breeds, with 79 additional breeds working toward full recognition. There are breeds that have not met the requirements to become recognized, and others that have chosen not to seek full recognition at this time,” explained Gina DiNardo, the AKC’s executive secretary.
For the AKC to consider a specific group of dogs to be a breed, there must be “a minimum of 100 active household members… in the form of a National Breed Club” and “a minimum of 300 to 400 dogs with a three-generation pedigree” that can be found in at least 20 states throughout the country.
The publication also reported that the number of breeds has grown exponentially over the past two centuries. Dr. Brian Hare, Ph.D., founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center at Duke University, explained “roughly 200 years ago, there were just a few dog breeds.”
“It was only during the Victorian era that it became a status symbol to breed your own special breed of dog,” explained the associate professor.
He went on to say that the traits chosen for each breed were dependent on the preference of the breeder. He told the publication:
“Selecting which breed, and in which direction you selected them, was really just an expression of human preferences. Some people got excited about smaller dogs. Some people got excited about long hair. Some people got excited about short legs. These were all expressions of human preferences that ultimately are rooted in our psychology.”