Breed Type

Bull TerrierBull Terrier

This article explains 'breed type' which emphasizes particular features or combinations of peculiarities unique to each breed as outlined that in Breed's Standard. For the sake of the preservation of all pure breeds it is most important that the correct breed type for each breed is recognised and appreciated by all interested parties to distinguish it from the generic dog.  It is also highly desirable that these parties have an 'Eye for a Dog'.

The basis for the evaluation of any pure breed dog is the breed type. For a given breed the essence of 'breed type' encompasses a particular feature or a combination of features unique to that particular breed and described in the corresponding Breed Standard.

While the necessary words may be in the Breed Standard, their interpretation in the field to arrive at the 'correct' breed type is another matter altogether. The Breed Standard itself may be difficult to understand. As well as an 'Eye for a Dog', it also involves the interpreter's knowledge of dog structure and anatomy.  So, when this elusive concept of 'correct breed type' is applied to the evaluation of an individual dog it is easy to see that the outcome may be highly subjective.

Understanding Breed Type


To understand what is meant by the term 'breed type', let's look at a breed where one particular feature encompasses the essence of 'correct breed type' for that breed. The Bull Terrier pictured above is an excellent example. The Bull Terrier's uniquely distinct head  is described in its breed standard as 'egg shaped'. Without its egg-shaped head, one may well ask whether the dog is a Bull Terrier or not. Whereby the head is important in most breeds, with the Bull breeds (Bulldog, Boxer, Bullmastiff etc) and the other short faced breeds, the greater emphasis of correct breed type of these breeds is on the head.

Other breeds have different unique characteristics. How can one fail to admire the graceful series of curves that describes a Whippet? Who can mistake the long flowing coat of the Maltese? It is also the coat which separates breeds like the Chihuahua Smooth Coat from the Chihuahua Long Coat, the Fox Terrier (Smooth) from the Fox Terrier (Wire), and the four varieties of Belgium Shepherds. With breeds that come in different sizes like Poodles and Dachshunds, it is size which becomes an integral part of their particular breed type. In Poodles size means height and with Dachshunds size means weight. With most other breeds, correct breed type is a very definite combination of features like body proportions, bone structure, temperament, carriage, coat, colour and size as defined by the Breed Standards.

The Generic Dog

A dog which lacks fundamentals of breed type is generally referred to as a generic dog. In other words, a generic dog has no particular specific features that distinguishes it from any other breed or breeds. When studying a breed or breeds, it is therefore essential that a breeds' particular unique characteristics are clearly understood.