It seems like every time you turn around, there’s another dog breed you can’t identify. Is there a cap? Well, the real answer is—kind of. You see, you can count up recognized breeds from kennel clubs, but there are other breeds to consider, too.
If you’ve been exploring the web to find a pup, you might have come across lots of “designer dogs” or even mixed breeds from shelters. Do these dogs actually count as “breeds”? We’re going to answer all of these questions, and you’re going to get a ballpark at best.
The History of Domesticated Dogs
Ever since the dawn of time, it seems dogs have been a man’s best friend. Partners in crime, the domesticated dog has helped human beings with emotional issues, hunting, tracking, and companionship.
It might be hard to believe that dogs were domesticated over 130,000 years ago! There have been dogs who make an honest day’s work on the farm. Others are pampered and considered royalty.
Pinpointing just how many dog breeds exist depends based on who you ask. Kennel clubs accept different variations of breeds, and some fall through the cracks.
Kennel Clubs are organizations that hash out all the details for breed quality. These restrictions determine what traits are and are not allowed within certain purebred dogs. There are several kennel clubs littered across many countries.
Kennel Clubs & Their Numbers
Kennel clubs are spanning the world. While most regulations and standards are similar, different countries have their own spin on things.
In the United States, there are two major kennel clubs—the American Kennel Club and the Continental Kennel Club.
- Registered Dog Breeds in the AKC: 197
- Registered Dog Breeds in the CKC: 187
American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club was established in 1884 under the first president—Major James M. Taylor. Together with a group of trusted professionals, the team sets rules and standards according to each breed.
Continental Kennel Club
“Designer dogs” are the coined phrase some breeders use to describe a mixture of two purebred dogs. They might also refer to these dogs as cross-breeds. Of course, throughout history, all modern-day dogs came from combining existing breeds.
More recently in history, breeders combine the names of two breeders to name the crossed combo. Many designer dogs cater to specific traits—like being hypoallergenic. This is why you might see poodles as a popular choice for mixes.
Some of the Most Common Designer Dogs Today
While the list of designer dogs is ever-growing as people try to meld together a perfect combo, some are very popular today.
Dangers of Designer Dogs
The trouble with designer dogs is that there is a lot of room for error. Selective breeding helps to weed out any unwanted traits, but the entire thing is a process that truly takes time. With newer breeds, you can run into unique problems that present in litters.
Some of these issues include:
- Unpredictable Temperament — sometimes, you don’t know what to expect when you cross to breeds. For instance, if you breed higher energy, more aggressive dog like a Rottweiler with a calm, lazier dog like a pug, you might get an odd combination of personality traits that are hard to define from dog to dog.
- Backyard Breeding — unfortunately, anyone can get ahold of two purebred dogs to breed them for profit. That doesn’t mean they will have the dogs’ best interest at heart. Many dogs live in unsanitary living conditions, lack proper nutrition, and don’t receive proper care.
- Potential Health Issues — breeds around for a long time have a well-known, solid list of potential issues with the breed. If you breed two different breeds, you will not know just what the pups might wind up with later in life.
- Inexperienced Breeding — some people to take a stab at breeding don’t realize all of the work that comes with it. Because of basic inexperience, the puppies and parents might not get the appropriate care or socialization they need.
- Undesirable Physical Traits — sometimes physical combinations don’t produce desirable outcomes, and not all mixed breeds share the same traits.
Of course, with appropriate breeding, these issues will even out amongst designer dogs as they further develop. Some designer dogs have already been around long enough to pinpoint or resolve unique breed combinations.
Recommendations for Buying
If you fall in love with a designer dog breed, you want to buy from a reputable breeder. Both parents should be registered purebred dogs with proof of it available. People can often masquerade as legitimate breeders, but not provide the right conditions or breed standards.
To avoid any issues, look for breeders with outstanding reputations and excellent litters.
Some mixed breeds, though they cover such a large territory, have become breeds of their own. But most of the time, mixed breeds are considered mutts. However, in some countries, a certain street dog can become so mixed down that they have their own title.
In Jamaica, the Potcake Dog is technically a combination of all the street dogs mating for centuries. But they’ve taken on such specific traits, they are considered their own breed now.
That’s All, Folks!
Now you know that the total number of dog breeds is a little muddy. However, there are some definite facts we can rely on. There are at least 350 dog breeds, and those numbers are climbing all the time. It’s such a sight to see how drastically breeds transform and how classic some of them still are today.
Featured Image Credit: Judita Kreizaite, Shutterstock