There are some breeds of dogs who excel at sports such as retrieving or hunting (the Labrador for example). For some of us, a non-sporting dog better fits our needs and lifestyle. The AKC Non-Sporting Dog Breeds group is made up of a diverse group of breeds with varying sizes, coats, personalities and overall appearance.
They come from a wide variety of backgrounds so it is hard to generalize about this group. But you’re bound to find something that fits.
Whether you are looking for a big fur buddy to hunt with or a lap dog to cuddle with, you can find the perfect breed in our top 10 Non-Sporting Dog Breeds.
The Xoloitzcuintli (show-low-eats-queen-tlee), also commonly known as the Mexican Hairless or often just Xolo comes in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard, and two varieties: most often hairless but also coated.
In their native Mexico and Central America, they were popular “doctors” — the heat given off by their bodies providing comfort to people with arthritis and other ailments. Don’t let the Xolo’s appearance put you off, because underneath that nekkie exterior is a loving canine companion and an excellent watchdog, no matter the size.
9. Bichon Frise
The small but sturdy and resilient Bichon Frise stands among the world’s great “personality dogs.” Since antiquity, these irresistible canine comedians have relied on charm, beauty, and intelligence to weather history’s ups and downs.
Bichons are adaptable small companion dogs who get on well with other dogs and children and even cats. Alert and curious, Bichons make nice little watchdogs—but they are lovers, not fighters, and operate under the assumption that there are no strangers, just friends they haven’t met yet.
Their confidence and size make them ideal city dogs. Bichons train nicely and enjoy performing for their loved ones. Finally, there’s the happy-go-lucky Bichon personality that draws smiles and hugs wherever they go.
Perhaps one of the more famous dogs on this list thanks to a certain Disney franchise, the dignified Dalmatian is famed for its spotted coat and unique job description. During their long history, these “coach dogs” have accompanied the horse-drawn rigs of nobles, gypsies, and firefighters.
Dals are muscular, built to go the distance; the powerful hindquarters provide the drive behind the smooth, effortless gait.
Loving and loyal to their humans, this breed is an energetic athlete who would make a wonfderful running or hiking partner.
Fun fact: No one knows exactly where the Dalmatian originated. This may be because Dalmatians have often traveled with Romani people, who are historically nomadic.
7. Shiba Inu
I’ve done quite a few videos, featuring the Shiba. And for good reason. This doge has taken the Interwebz by storm.
Brought to America from Japan as recently as 60 years ago, Shibas are growing in popularity in the West and are already the most popular breed in their homeland.
Their white markings combined with their coloring (red, red sesame, or black and tan) and their alert expression and smooth stride makes them almost foxlike. They’re sturdy, muscular dogs with a bold, confident personality to match. And well, they’ve got some serious meme skills.
The American Eskimo Dog combines striking good looks with a quick and clever mind in a total brains-and-beauty package. Neither shy nor aggressive, Eskies are always alert and friendly, though a bit conservative when making new friends.
Among the most trainable of dog breeds, the clever, kid-friendly Eskie practically invented the phrase “eager to please.”
5. Lhasa Apso
Often confused with the Shih Tzu, the lavishly coated Lhasa Apso is a thousand-year-old breed who served as sentinels at palaces and monasteries isolated high in the Himalayas.
Smart, confident, and complex, Lhasas are family comedians but regally aloof with strangers.
The breed’s fans say the dark, oval-shaped eyes—peeping through lavish facial hair—are the windows of a Lhasa’s merry soul. The complete picture is elegant and serenely well balanced.
4. Boston Terrier– Non-Sporting Dog Breeds
The American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier is a lively little companion recognized by its tight tuxedo jacket, sporty but compact body, and the friendly glow in his big, round eyes.
It’s a safe bet that a breed named for a city—the Havanese or Brussels Griffon, for example—will make an excellent urban companion.
Bostons are no exception: they are sturdy but portable, people-oriented, and always up for a brisk walk to the park or outdoor cafe.
Fun fact: These dogs aren’t big droolers, but they do tend to be big snorers because of the size and shape of their muzzles. They’re prone to grunting and snorting too. And, don’t even get us started on the gas.
3. Bulldog – Non-Sporting Dog Breeds
You can’t mistake a Bulldog for any other breed. The loose skin of the head, furrowed brow, pushed-in nose, small ears, undershot jaw with hanging chops on either side, and the distinctive rolling gait all practically scream “I’m a Bulldog!”
A brief walk and a nap on the sofa is just this dog breed‘s speed. Bulldogs can adapt well to apartment life and even make great companions for novice pet parents.
They’re affectionate with all members of the family and are fairly low-maintenance pups. Just make sure to keep them out of extreme weather, and also give them enough exercise, as weight gain is a risk with these dogs who are happy to spend most of the day on the couch.
2. French Bulldog – Non-Sporting Dog Breeds
The French Bulldog is a small and adorable bundle of energy that loves to do whatever you are doing. These little cuties were bred to be companion dogs and are still perfect for that, but they are also great at flyball, agility, dock diving, and barn hunts.
These little poochies love attention and need a lot of activity to stay busy.
The one-of-a-kind Frenchie, with its large bat ears and even disposition, is one of the world’s most popular small dog breeds, especially among city dwellers. The Frenchie is playful, alert, adaptable, and completely irresistible.
1. Poodle – Non-Sporting Dog Breeds
I know what you’re gonna say. The Poodle is a gun dog. And you would be right, the Standard Poodle was originally bred in Germany to be a Retriever, fetching water fowl from marshes.
Poodles come in three size varieties: Standard, miniature and toy. So, you’re bound to find one the right size for your lifestyle.
Forget those old stereotypes of Poodles as froofroo dogs. Poodles are eager, athletic, and wickedly smart “real dogs” of remarkable versatility and intelligence. The Standard, with its greater size and strength, is the best all-around athlete, but all Poodles make excellent family companions.
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