In order for a breed to be recognized by the AKC, there must be several hundred of them across the United States. Owners and breeders' clubs must also be established as well. In 1884 the first group of officially recognized breeds consisted of only thirteen types of dogs. My how the pack has grown!
The breeds are broken down into seven groups - the sporting group, non-sporting group working group, toy group, herding group, hounds and terriers. The best of each group competes for the title of top dog at the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, essentially the Super Bowl of dog shows.
Of course a pup needn't be of pure breed pedigree to make a great pet. There are plenty of mutts and mixed breeds that fall outside the purview of the AKC. And while they may never win best in show, they can totally win your heart.
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