Dog Breeds Groups: Everything You Need to Know (Part 2)

Federation Cynologique Internationale

This is where things get a little strange and deviate from what we have seen with the AKC and KC. 

The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), or World Canine Oganization in English, is an international federation of several national kennel clubs and is standard for most other countries outside the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

FCI Membership Map

FCI Map of Members
Information courtesy of FCI

As previously mentioned, the FCI’s dog groups seem to be a blend of purpose, physical attributes, shared heritage, and breeds of shared regional origin. Because of this, there are many breeds that are not commonly known in the United States. So, you might just see some breeds you weren’t previously aware of.

Brief History of the FCI

The FCI was formed in 1911 by Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.  The group broke apart during World War I, as all these countries were involved, and was eventually reformed in 1921 by Belgium and France.  

Today the FCI is headquartered in Thuin, Belgium and has members in 98 countries. The AKC, the KC, and the Canadian Kennel Club are not members. 

The FCI Dog Groups

Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)

This group is similar to the herding group of the AKC and the Pastoral group of the KC. These are the dogs that helped farmers herd and move stock. The main distinction is that the FCI has this group divided in two sections:

  • Sheepdogs
  • Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)

List of FCI Sheepdog and Cattledog Breeds

Section 1: Sheepdogs
Australian KelpieMaremma and the Abruzzes Sheepdog
Australian ShepherdMudi
Bearded CollieOld English Sheedog
Belgian Shepard DogPicardy Sheepdog
Bergamasco Shepherd DogPolis Lowland SHeepdog
Berger De BeaucePortuguese Sheepdog
Border ColliePuli
Catalan SheepdogPyrenean Sheepdog – Smooth Faced
Collie RoughRomanian Carpathian Shepherd Dog
Collie SmoothRomanian Mioritic Shepher Dog
Croatian Shepherd DogSaarloos Wolfhond
Czechoslovakian WolfdogSchipperke
Dutch SchapendoesShetland Sheepdog
Dutch Shepherd DogSlovakian Chuvach
German Shepherd DogSouth Russian Shepherd Dog
KomondorTatra Shepherd Dog
KuvaszWelsh Corgi (Cardigan)
Long-Haired Pyrenean SheepdogWelsh Corgi (Pembroke)
Majorca Shepherd DogWhite Swiss Shepherd Dog
Section 2: Cattledogs (except Swiss cattledogs)
Australian Cattle Dog
Bouvier Des Ardennes
Bouvier Des Flandres

You can find more breed information on the FCI Sheepdog and Cattledog page HERE.

Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer (Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs)

The FCI specifically separates Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoids, and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs into their own group. This groups consists of 3 sections:

Pinscher and Schnauzer – These dogs are German breeds used for hunting rats and use as a guard dog. These dogs come in very different sizes – miniature, standard, and giant

Molossoids – these dogs are large breeds believed to be descended from the Molossus. The Molossus was a large, ferocious dog from the ancient kingdom of Molossis (modern-day western Greece).  These dogs are split into two sub groups: 

  • Mastiff type –  which include Great Dane, Boxer, Mastiffs, and Rottweiler to name a few. 
  • Mountain type – which include Newfounland, Great Pyrenees, and Saint Bernard
Statues of Molossian hound
Greek sculpture of Molossian hound from circa 320 B.C. On display at the Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos in Athens, Greeze
(Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs – This type is specifically for Swiss dogs and only includes four breeds: Appenzell Cattle Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Entlebuch Cattle Dog, and the Great Swiss Mountain Dog. 

List of FCI Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossoids, and Swiss Mountain and Cattledog Breeds

Section 1: Pinscher and Schanuzer Type
AffenpinscherGiant Schnauzer
Austrian PinscherMinature Pinscher
Danish-Swedish FarmdogMiniature Schnauzer
DobermannRussian Black Terrier
Dutch SmoushondSchnauzer
German Pinscher
Section 2: Molossoids
Atlas Mountain DogLandseer
BroholmerMajorca Mastiff
BullmastiffNeapolitan Mastiff
Castro Laboreiro DogNewfoundland
Causasian Shepherd dogPresa Canario
Cetral Asia Shepherd DogPyrenean Mastiff
Cimarron UruguayoRafeiro of Alentejo
Croatian Shepherd DogRomanian Bocovina Shepherd
Dogo ArgentinoRottweiler
Doug De BordeauxSaint Miguel Cattle Dog
Estela Mountain DogShar Pei
Fila BrasileiroSpanish Mastiff
Great DaneSt. Bernard
Great PyreneesTibetan Mastiff
Italian Cane CorsoYugoslavian Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog
Karst Shepherd Dog
Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs
Appenzell Cattle DogEntlebuch Cattle Dog
Bernese Mountain DogGreat Swiss Mountain Dog

You can find more breed information on the FCI Pinscher and Schnauzer page HERE

Group 3: Terriers

The Terrier group of the FCI is again slightly different from the AKC or the KC. This group consists of dogs originally bred for vermin, but also includes dogs historically used for dog fighting or other dog blood sports.  The Terrier group is split into four sections:

  • Large and medium sized Terriers – includes larger terriers such as Airedale Terrier.
  • Small sized Terriers – includes Jack Russell Terriers, Scottish Terriers, and more.
  • Bull type Terriers – This type includes Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Staffordshire Terrier. 
  • Toy Terriers – this type includes Yorkshire Terrier and other very small  terriers. 

List of FCI Terrier Breeds

Section 1: Large and medium sized Terriers
Airedale TerrierIrish Terrier
Bedlinton TerrierKerry Blue Terrier
Border TerrierLakeland Terrier
Fox Terrier (Smooth)Manchester Terrier
Fox Terrier (Wire)Parson Russell Terrier
Irish Glen of Imall TerrierWelsh Terrier
Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Section 2: Small sized Terriers
Australian TerrierNorwich Terrier
Cesky TerrierScottish Terrier
Cairn TerrierSealyham Terrier
Dandie Dinmont TerrierSkye Terrier
Jack Russel TerrierWest Highland White Terrier
Norfolk TerrierJapanese Terrier
Section 3: Bull type Terriers
American Staffordshire TerrierMiniature Bull Terrier
Bull TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier
Section 4: Toy Terriers
Australian Silky TerrierYorkshire Terrier
English Toy Terrier

You can find more breed information on the FCI Terrier page HERE.

Group 4: Dachshunds

The FCI, unlike the AKC or the KC, has a separate group just for all the varieties of the Dachshund. These dogs were bred in 16th century Germany and surrounding areas to hunt burrowing animals. Believe it or not, there are actually three different sizes of Dachshunds ranging from less than 10 pounds all the way up to around 30 pounds. 

You can find more breed information on the FCI Dachshunds page HERE.

Group 5: Spitz and Primitive Types

Another split from the AKC and the KC is the Spitz and Primitive Type group. This group consists of the most ancient dog breeds in the world. These are the dogs that are believed to be a step closer to their wild ancestors – retaining some wild traits like strong prey drive or resourcefulness. 

There are seven sections of dogs in the Spitz and Primitive group:

  • Nodic Sled Dogs – These dogs are exactly what their name implies. They are northern breeds of dogs bred to pull sleds all over the cold regions of north. The Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute are just two of the dogs in this group. 
  • Nordic Hunting Dogs – These dogs are not terribly well known outside of their Scandanavian and Russian homes of origin (Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Russia) . However, these dogs were bred to hunt game in the cold tundra of the northern parts of the globe. 
  • Nordic Watchdogs and Herders – Similarly, this group is also not incredibly well known outside Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. These dogs served as sentries, herding companions, and even flock guarding in these Scandanavian countries. 
  • European Spitz – There are only two breeds that make up this group of Spitz that developed in Europe: German Spitz and the Vopino Italiano (Italian Foxy). 
  • Asian Spitz and related breeds – This type contains more the the internationally known breeds of Spitz that developed in Asia. This group consists of the Akita, Shiba Inu, and Chow Chow, to name a few. 
  • Primitive type – The five dog breeds in this type are very old – thousands of years old, and are very popular in the regions they originate from.
  • Primitive typeHunting Dogs – Likewise, this type is some of the oldest hunting dogs in the world. 

List of FCI Spitz and Primitive types

Section 1: Nordic Sled Dogs
Alaskan MalamuteSamoyed
Canadian Eskimo DogSiberian Husky
Greenland Dog
Section 2: Nordic Hunting Dogs
East Siberian LaikaNorwegian Elkhound (Black)
Finish SpitzNorwegian Elkhound (Grey)
JamthundNorwegian Lundehund
Karelian Bear DogRussian-European Laika
NorrbottenspitzWest Siberian Laika
Section 3: Nordic Watchdogs and Herders
Finnish Lapponian DogNorwegian Buhund
Icelandic SheepdogSwedish Lapphund
Lapponian HerderSwedish Vallhund
Section 4: European Spitz
German SpitzItalian Volpino
Section 5: Asian Spitz and related breeds
American AkitaKishu
Chow ChowKorea Jindo Dog
Japanese Spitz
Section 6: Primitive type
BasenjiPharaoh Hound
Canaan DogXoloitzcuintle
Peruvian Hairless Dog
Section 7: Primitive type – Hunting Dogs
Canarian Warren HoundPotuguese Podengo
Cirneco Dell’EtnaTaiwan Dog
Ibizan PodencoThai Ridgeback Dog

You can find more breed information on the FCI Spitz and Primitive page HERE.

Group 6: Scent Hounds and related breeds

The Scent Hound and related breed group are very similar to scent hound portion of the AKC and KC groups. The difference here is that the FCI has scent hounds in their own group. 

The Scent Hounds are split into three sections:

  • Scent Hounds – the traditional breeds like Beagle, Basset Hound, and Bloodhound. There are 64 breeds in this type. 
  • Leash (scent) Hounds – three breeds make up this type: Hannover hound, Alpine Dachsbracke, and Bavarian Mountain Hound. 
  • Related Breeds – Only two dogs make up this type: Dalmatian and the Rhodesian Ridgeback. 

List of FCI Scent Hounds and related breeds

Section 1: Scent Hounds
American FoxhoundFrench White and Orange HoundNorman Artesien Basset
AriegeoisGascon SaintongeoisNorwegian Hound
Artois HoundGerman HoundOgar Polski
Austian Black and Tan HoundGrand Basset Griffon VendeenOtterhound
Basset Fauve De BretagneGrand Griffon VendeenPetit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Basset HoundGreat Anglo-French Tricolor HoundPoitevin
BeagleGreat Anglo-French White & Black HoundPolish Hunting Dog
Beagle HarrierGreat Anglo-French White & Orange HoundPorcelaine
BillyGreat Gascony BluePosavatz Hound
Black and Tan CoonhoundGriffon NivernaisSchillerstövare
BloodhoundHalden HoundSerbian Hound
Blue Gascony BassetHamiltonstövareSerbian Tricolor Hound
Blue Gascony GriffonHarrierSlovakian Hound
Bosnian Broken-Haired Hound (Barak)Hellenic HoundSmalandsstövare
BreverHungarian HoundSmall Blue Gascony
Briquet Griffon VendeenHygen HoundSmall Swiss Hound
Coarse-Haired Styrian HoundIstrian Short-Haired HoundSpanish Hound
English FoxhoundIstrian Wire-Haired HoundSwiss Hound
Fawn Brittany GriffonItalian Rough-Haired SegugioTyrolean Hound
Finnish HoundItalian Short-Haired SegugioWestphalian Dachsbracke
French Tricolor HoundMedium-Sized Anglo-French Hound
French White & Black HoundMontenegrin Mountain Hound
Section 2: Leash (scent) Hounds
Alpine DachsbrackeHanoverian Scent Hound
Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound
Section 3: Related Breeds
DalmatianRhodesian Ridgeback

You can find more breed information on the FCI Scent Hounds page HERE

Group 7: Pointing Dogs

The FCI Pointing Dog group is very much in line with its name. This group is home to the pointer and setters in the dog world. 

The group is split into two sections:

  • Continental Pointing Dogs
  • British and Irish Pointers and Setters

List of FCI Pointing Dog breeds

Section 1: Continental Pointing Dogs
Ariege Pointing DogItalian Pointing Dog
Auvergne PointerItalian Spinone
Blue Picardy SpanielKleiner Munsterlander
Bohemian Wire-Haired Pointing GriffonLarge Munsterlander
Braque Du BourbonnaisOld Danish Pointing Dog
Brittan SpanielPicardy Spaniel
Burgos Pointing DogPont-Audemer Spaniel
Deutsch LangaarPortuguese Pointing Dog
Deutsch StichelhaarPudelpointer
Drentsche Partridge DogSaint Germain Pointer
French Pointing Dog – Gascogne TypeStabijhoun
French Pointing Dog – Pyrenean TypeVizsla
French SpanielWeimaraner
German Short-Haired PointerWire-Haired Pointing Griffon Korthals
German Wire-Haired PointerWirehaired Slovakian Pointer
Hungarian Wire-Haired Pointer
Section 2: British and Irish Pointers and Setters
English PointerIrish Red and White Setter
English SetterIrish Red Setter
Gordon Setter

You can find more breed information on the FCI Pointing Dog page HERE.

Group 8: Retrievers – Flushing Dogs – Water Dogs

The Retrievers – Flushing Dogs – Water Dogs group is where you will find all the retrievers, wate dogs, and spaniels in the FCI. 

This group have three sections:

  • Retrievers – these dogs are specifically the dogs with “retriever” in their name. This does not include any other breeds used for retrieving. 
  • Flushing Dogs – this section consists of all the spaniel dogs. 
  • Water Dogs – these dogs are the ones bred to flush and retrieve game from water. 

List of FCI Retriever – Flushing Dogs – Water Dog breeds

Section 1: Retrievers
Chesapeake Bay RetreiverGolden Retriever
Curly Coated RetrieverLabrador Retriever
Flat Coated RetrieverNova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Section 2: Flushing Dogs
American Cocker SpanielGerman Spaniel
Clumber SpanielNederlandse Kooikerhondje
English Cocker SpanielSussex Spaniel
English Springer SpanielWelsh Springer Spaniel
Field Spaniel
Section 3: Water Dogs
American Water SpanielPortuguese Water Dog
French Water DogRomagna Water Dog
Irish Water SpanielSpanish Water dog

You can find more breed information on the FCI’s Retriever – Flushing Dog – Water Dog page HERE.

Companion and Toy Dogs

The Companion group of the FCI has the most sub types of any group. This is where you find all the small dogs and lap dogs of the canine world. 

The group has 11 sections:

  • Bichons and related breeds
  • Poodle – all poodles, regardless of size, are found in this section
  • Small Belgian Dogs
  • Hairless Dogs – this section consists only of the Chinese Crested Dog. 
  • Tibetan breeds – this group consists of four breeds from China, such as the Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso.
  • Chihuahueno – This section consists of only the Chihuahua. 
  • English Toy Spaniels
  • Japan Chin and Pekingese – Consists of only the Japan Chin and Pekingese dogs.
  • Continental Toy Spaniel and others
  • Kromfohrländer – this section consists of only the Kromfohrländer dog of Germany. 
  • Small Molossian type Dogs – This section consists of only two breeds: the Boston Terrier and French Bulldog. 

List of FCI Companion and Toy Dog breeds

Section 1: Bichons and related breeds
Bichon FriseHavanese
BologneseLittle Lion Dog
Coton De TulearMaltese
Section 2: Poodle
Poodle (Standard, Medium, Miniature, and Toy)
Section 3: Small Belgian Dogs
Griffon BelgePetit Brabancon
Griffon Bruzellois
Section 4: Hairless Dogs
Chinese Crested Dog
Section 5: Tibetan Breeds
Lhasa ApsoTibetan Spaniel
Shih TzuTibetan Terrier
Section 6: Chihuahueno
Section 7: English Toy Spaniels
Cavalier King Charles SpanielKing Charles Spaniel
Section 8: Japan Chin and Pekingese
Japanese ChinPekingese
Section 9: Continental Toy Spaniel and others
Continental Toy SpanielRussian Toy
Section 10: Kromfohrländer
Section 11: Small Molossian Type Dogs
Boston TerrierPug
French Bulldog

You can find more breed information on the FCI Companion and Toy page HERE

Group 10: Sighthounds 

The final group of the FCI is in line with the Sighthound subgroup of the AKC’s and KC grouping system. These are the hounds that rely on site to chase down prey to trap or kill it. 

This group has three sections:

  • Long-haired or fringed Sighthounds
  • Rough-haired Sighthounds
  • Short-haired Sighthounds

List of FCI Sighthound breeds

Section 1: Long-haired or Fringed Sighthounds
Afghan HoundSaluki
Section 2: Rough-haired Sighthounds
DeerhoundIrish Wolfhound
Section 3: Short-haired Sighthounds
AzawakhPolish Greyhound
Hungarian GreyhoundSpanish Greyhound
Italian SighthoundWhippet

You can find more breed information on the FCI Sighthound page HERE


As you can see, there is some universal agreement on the grouping of dogs, but there are also some pretty significant differences. While the AKC and the KC are in virtually identical structure, the FCI mixes things up a bit by dividing breeds on ancestral roots, abilities, function, and even regional origins. 

As an American or Brit, the FCI may seem very foreign in the way they organize dog groups. However, it is important to know that 98 other countries in the world recognize dogs by the FCI’s grouping. Likewise, there are breeds recognized by the FCI that are not recognized by the AKC or KC.  

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer as far as how to put dogs into groups or types. Within reason of course – I would not classify a Chihuahua as a sporting dog.  At the end of the day, humans all over the globe developed dogs to assist us with all of our many tasks. From guarding to herding, from pulling to lap warmer, humans have figured out how to get a dog to help in nearly every situation. 

No matter the grouping, dogs are an amazing and absolutely crucial part of making human life more enjoyable.


Thank you for taking the time to read my article! I hope it was helpful and insightful. I absolutely love dogs and my mission is to help dog owners better understand their dogs and how to care for them in the best way. Please checkout my about page: CLICK HERE!

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