All dog breeds are classified into different groups. The terrier group is one of nine groups. But what classifies a dog as being in the terrier group? Many factors classify a dog, such as a dog’s purpose, characteristics, and uses. So, let’s learn about the terrier group dog breeds.

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Why Are Dogs Classified Into Groups?

Dogs are classified for several reasons. For example, the groups were created by the American Kennel Club (AKC) for dog shows and dog sports.

In addition, there are countless dog breeds. However, only purebred dogs are classified into these groups. So, you won’t see any hybrids or terrier mix dogs on this list.

The group helped categorize these breeds by characteristics. It is easier to organize these dogs in the AKC national dog show, but it also helps dog owners choose a family pet.

For example, these groups show similar characteristics for the dog breeds to help you narrow down which breed may best suit your lifestyle.

If you enjoy hiking and outdoor activities, then a dog from the sporting group might be an excellent choice for you. Depending on the breed you get and their personality and temperament, they may make a great jogging buddy for you.

But when it comes to jogging with a dog from the terrier group, they prefer to play games instead. So, let’s talk more about the terrier group as a whole. 

What is the terrier group of dogs? |

What Is The AKC Terrier Group?

Terrier dogs are classified based on what they were initially bred for, their shared characteristics, and have similar grooming maintenance.

For instance, dog breeds in the terrier group were initially bred to hunt and kill vermin. Also, they were meant to protect and guard their families and barns.

On the other hand, the “bully” breeds of the terrier group were initially bred for bull-baiting rather than hunting and killing pests.

Today, terrier dogs are excellent companion dogs and watchdogs for families. 

In addition, dogs within this group have similar needs for grooming. For instance, their coats often need “stripping” to keep them clean and looking nice. Overall, most terrier dog breeds have a weather-resistant rough coat type. 

When you think of the word “terrier,” you might think of small dog breeds. However, dogs of all sizes are in the terrier group. Some are small, such as the Bedlington Terrier, Cesky Terrier, and Rat Terrier.

On the other hand, there are some medium dog breeds in the terrier group. For instance, there’s the Airedale Terrier, Irish Terrier, and the Kerry Blue Terrier, just to name a few.  

Top Terrier Group Characteristics

There’s a lot to love about dogs in the terrier group. However, these dog breeds take a lot of work. Some of these breeds are okay for novice dog owners, but some might be better suited for experienced dog owners.

Yet, terrier dogs are a lot of fun to have around. Let’s take a closer look at some of their typical characteristics.

What is the terrier group of dogs? |

Energetic And Fun

One of the best things about these dog breeds is that there will never be a dull moment. Terrier dogs are active and love to go on long walks, run in the backyard, and play games with you. These types of dogs need a certain amount of physical activity every day to keep them fit and healthy and help them get out their pent-up energy.

Alert And Determined

Since they were initially bred for hunting and killing vermin and protecting their families, you can bet that the terrier dog breeds will continue to be excellent watchdogs. They’ll be alert at home, protecting their territory. Also, they’re determined to do their job and brave enough to keep their territory and family safe. 


Most terrier dogs love to have fun and play with you in the yard. However, they’re fairly independent. So, don’t expect them to cuddle beside you on the couch every night.

Also, they might be stand-offish with strangers. With proper training and socialization, your terrier puppy will be more outgoing.

However, some dog breeds within the terrier group will be more affectionate than others. For instance, some of the smaller dog breeds will enjoy being lap dogs. 

Loud And Proud

Are you looking for a calm, limited barking doggo? Then a terrier breed probably won’t be the right choice for you.

Terrier dogs love to hear themselves bark, whether to alert you of something, get your attention, are bored, excited, or anything in between.

You can train your pup to bark less, but they’ll still speak their mind whenever they want to. 

What is the terrier group of dogs? |

They Like To Dig

In addition, most terrier dogs enjoy digging. So, make sure your garden is off-limits to them in the yard. Or, you can set up a dirt area specifically for them where they can dig to their heart’s content.

Also, these breeds might be destructive. For instance, if they don’t get the proper exercise each day or are home alone for too long, they could get too bored and tear up the furniture in the house. 

To help mentally stimulate your terrier breed, you can provide them with interactive toys. For example, hide treats inside toys or around the house to get your pup to sniff them out. Then, when they find the treat, they get the reward. 


Terrier dogs are often “eager for a spirited argument.” In other words, they can be pretty stubborn. Training might be difficult depending on your dog breed’s temperament and personality.

For example, some terrier breeds might get distracted in group training classes. The other humans and dogs might be overstimulating for them. So, your best bet might be to do private training sessions with a professional dog trainer.

Training a terrier dog takes time, patience, and plenty of positive reinforcement. Training can be smooth sailing for both you and your pup with a dog owner who knows what they’re doing.

They Can Bite Hard

Even though some of the pups are small terrier breeds, they can still have a strong bite. If not trained properly, your doggo might bite another animal or a human.

This doggo doesn’t hunt and kill vermin anymore. These dogs still have that instinct in them. So, if they’re rubbed the wrong way by someone else, they might lunge out and bite.

What is the terrier group of dogs? |

Which Terrier Group Dog Breeds Are There?

According to the AKC, there are about 31 dog breeds classified in the Terrier Group. 

List of Terrier Group Dogs
Airedale TerrierAmerican Hairless Terrier
American Staffordshire TerrierAustralian Terrier
Bedlington TerrierBorder Terrier
Bull TerrierCairn Terrier
Cesky TerrierDandie Dinmont Terrier
Glen of Imaal TerrierIrish Terrier
Kerry Blue TerrierLakeland Terrier
Manchester Terrier (Standard)Miniature Bull Terrier
Miniature SchnauzerNorfolk Terrier
Norwich TerrierParson Russell Terrier
Rat TerrierRussell Terrier
Scottish TerrierSealyham Terrier
Skye TerrierSmooth Fox Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier
Welsh TerrierWest Highland White Terrier
Wire Fox Terrier

Question Corner: FAQs About The Terrier Group

If you have more questions about the terrier group and the dog breeds within it, then take a look at the frequently asked questions below.

Are Chihuahuas In The Terrier Group?

No, Chihuahuas are not part of the terrier group. Many people think they are since Chihuahuas are small, noisy, and stubborn, but Chihuahuas are classified as being in the toy group for other reasons.

Are Terrier Dogs Good With Cats And Other Pets?

If you have a cat or small animals such as birds, guinea pigs, or the like, then you’ll want to keep your terrier dog out of reach. Without proper training, your terrier’s instinct for hunting and killing vermin may kick in.

Which Terrier Breeds Are Friendly To Other Dogs?

With proper socialization and training, terrier breeds can be friendly to other dogs. However, they don’t typically get along well with other dogs at first. Terriers can be feisty and prefer to be the only dog in the house.

Which Terrier Breeds Are The Best Family Dogs?

If you have a family with young children or older kids, then you’re looking for a family dog. Some terrier breeds that are good family dogs are the Airedale Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Border Terrier, or the Cesky Terrier. 

Are Terrier Dog Breeds Good With Kids?

Depending on the dog’s personality, some are better with kids than others. However, if you have young children at home and are looking for a terrier breed, then you might want to try the following terriers. For example, you can look into getting an Australian Terrier, Border Terrier, Bull Terrier, Cesky Terrier, or a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

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Are There Any Terrier Dogs That Are Hypoallergenic?

Yes, there are five terrier breeds that are considered hypoallergenic. For example, these breeds are the American Hairless Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

Which Terrier Dog Is The Best Guard Dog?

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the best guard dog out of the group. However, this breed is considered to be an aggressive “bully” breed. So, they might not be allowed in certain public areas and you’ll need to train them well. 

Which Terrier Dog Breeds Is Best For Apartments?

If you live in an apartment, then the smaller terrier breeds would be best for living in an apartment. Also, these dogs may be quieter and less active. For instance, you can look at the American Hairless Terrier, Australian Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier, or the Cesky Terrier for apartment living. 

Which Dog Breed Is The Smartest Of The Terrier Group?

The American Staffordshire Terrier is considered to be the smartest out of all the other dogs in the terrier group. However, they can be self-willed and independent which might make training tricky. 

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

If you don’t mind your doggo making noise, never have a dull moment, enjoy playing games with your dog, and have enough space in your house, then yes. A terrier dog is a good choice. However, stand your ground with training and make sure you properly socialize your pup. Otherwise, terrier dog breeds are great additions to the family.

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