American Kennel Club Breed Standards
The standard of a particular breed is nothing more than a written description of how an ideal dog of that breed should look, move, and behave. The breed standard details a group of characteristics that define a particular breed, covering size, proportion, carriage, details of the head and body, coat, color, and personality.
The breed standard is an ideal of perfection. Just like the people who love them, not many dogs are perfect, but a dog need not be perfect to win points toward a championship at an AKC-sanctioned show. In reality, the show dog is not really in competition with its peers but with the judge's interpretation of the perfect breed specimen and how that dog measures up. Although the AKC is the largest and best-known registry of purebred dogs, hundreds of breeds throughout the world do not have AKC recognition.
Those breeds officially recognized by the AKC are cataloged in an AKC studbook. Prior recognition by other registries would help prove that a breed has been well established, a big factor in gaining AKC recognition. Before the AKC considers adding a breed to its registry, its board of directors must be convinced that there is sufficient interest and widespread activity within that breed. If it meets those criteria, the breed is first admitted to the Miscellaneous Class. Although they may compete in conformation shows, these dogs are only allowed to compete within the Miscellaneous Class and are not eligible for championship points. Dogs can compete against other pure-breds in regular classes and work towards AKC championships.
When it comes to dog breeds, humans have been pretty busy for thousands of years. Some breeds can be traced back to the Roman Empire or ancient Egypt, some to the Middle Ages and the palaces of emperors and kings. All breeds were developed for particular purposes such as herding, hunting, pulling sleds, hauling carts, or serving as treasured companions, a role every dog deserves. When we study the origins of the small breeds, we discover a fascinating history as diverse as these dogs themselves.