Dogs have been sorted into various groups by the American Kennel Club. These groups help you narrow down which dog breed might best suit you and your family by looking more closely at their shared characteristics. But what is the sporting group for dogs? Let’s talk about it. 

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Why Are Dogs Categorized Into Groups?

Thanks to the national dog shows and dog sports created by the American Kennel Club (AKC), dog breeds are grouped. These breeds are classified together based on the similar traits and characteristics they may have based on their temperament.

Not only are these groups great for dog shows, but they can also help you choose a doggo for your home. For example, if you need a small dog breed, you might want to look in the toy group.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an active companion who enjoys various outdoor activities, the sporting group might be an excellent place to start looking. 

What Is The AKC Sporting Group?

The AKC classifies dogs in these groups based on what they were initially bred for and their temperament traits. Most of the dogs on this list are part of the sporting group because of the activities they were built for.

For example, sporting dogs are often used for hunting, retrieving, and pointing. They have a lot of stamina to find and flush out an animal for their human and show their owner the way.

They’re often energetic and brilliant, so let’s look at some characteristics of this group.

What is the sporting group? |

Top Sporting Group Characteristics

Sporting dogs are a lot of fun. There will never be a dull moment with them, and they’ll enjoy being included in various outdoor activities with you. So, let’s take a closer look at sporting dogs characteristics.


Yes, we’ve already touched upon this one. However, this is one of the primary traits of a sporting dog.

These pups have a lot of stamina and pent-up energy if not given the correct amount of physical activity each day. They’ll always be on the move and want a job to do. But they’ll also have fun with you going on hikes, jogs, and running around in a large, fenced-in yard.


One of the great things about this group of dogs is that they enjoy being around people. You’ll still need to socialize them well as a puppy, but they typically get along well with other humans. Sporting dogs aren’t often shy and believe everyone is their best friend.

Easy To Train

In addition, these doggos are intelligent. Therefore, they’re easy to train. They were initially bred for work such as hunting and retrieving.

So, training will be a piece of cake between that and instinct. They enjoy having a job to do, so they’ll respond well to training and positive reinforcement.

What is the sporting group? |


Sporting dogs or field dogs are often built pretty sturdy. They have strong leg muscles to help them catch up to their prey. Also, they’re excellent at jogging, running, hiking, swimming, and more. These dogs can weather any storm and do it gracefully without getting hurt.

Weather-Resistant Coats

Since these breeds were built for outdoor activities and catching other animals (such as waterfowl, in some cases), they have a protective coat. Their coat will protect them from harsh brush, which may be water-proof so that they stay warm if they need to go swimming. 

Which Dogs Are Sporting Breeds?

According to the American Kennel Club, about 32 purebred dog breeds are classified as part of the sporting group. Check out the chart below to see which breeds are included.

List of Sporting Group Dogs
American Water SpanielBarbet
Boykin SpanielBrittany
Chesapeake Bay RetrieverClumber Spaniel
Cocker SpanielCurly-Coated Retriever
English Cocker SpanielEnglish Setter
English Springer SpanielField Spaniel
Flat-Coated RetrieverGerman Shorthaired Pointer
German Wirehaired PointerGolden Retriever
Gordon SetterIrish Red and White Setter
Irish SetterIrish Water Spaniel
Labrador RetrieverLagotto Romagnolo
Nederlandse KooikerhondjeNova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
PointerSpinone Italiano
Sussex SpanielVizsla
WeimaranerWelsh Springer Spaniel
Wirehaired Pointing GriffonWirehaired Vizsla

Question Corner: FAQs About The Sporting Group

Do you have more questions about the sporting group? Then feel free to take a look at the frequently asked questions about the sporting group of dogs below.

What is the sporting group? |

Which Sporting Dogs Are The Smartest?

Out of the 32 purebreds that are within the sporting group, three breeds are more intelligent than the rest. These doggos are the Barbet, Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever. 

Are There Any Sporting Dogs That Are Hypoallergenic?

Believe it or not, yes. The Irish Water Spaniel and the Lagotto Romagnolo are considered hypoallergenic. However, this simply means that they don’t shed as much and will cause fewer allergic reactions. Remember that there is no such thing as an actual hypoallergenic dog. 

Which Dogs From The Sporting Group Are Good Family Dogs?

Some of the best family dogs from the sporting group might be the following breeds: Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, and Labrador Retriever. 

Which Dogs From The Sporting Group Are Best With Kids?

Some of these breeds enjoy kids more than others. For example, the Boykin Spaniel, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, and Weimaraner will enjoy having young children around. 

What is the sporting group? |

Will Any Sporting Dogs Make A Good Guard Dog?

If you’re looking for an energetic pup who will also be able to protect you and your house, then there is one breed that can do the job. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever will make an excellent guard dog, though they’re not too aggressive, so they’re safe enough.

Can Sporting Dogs Live In Apartments?

Barbets and Cocker Spaniels are the only pups suitable for apartment living. However, this is due to their size, not their temperament. These dogs still require a lot of exercise and physical activity every day. They’d be better off in a bigger home with a large fenced-in yard to themselves. 

Is A Dog Breed From The Sporting Group Right For You?

Do you enjoy being outside? Are you looking for a jogging or hiking buddy? If you have the time to commit to spending a few hours outside with your pup, giving them mental and physical stimulation, then a sporting dog might be the right option for you. However, every breed is different, so research each breed before deciding. 

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