An In-Depth Look at Non-Sporting Dogs - Doggy Brace
non-sporting dog

Non-sporting dogs are truly one of a kind. They’re nearly undefinable, but that’s a good thing! You see, non-sporting dogs are all of the dog breeds that don’t fall into another class. They’re not small enough to be in the Toy group, and are not bred to do specific jobs like those in the working and sporting class. They’re everything in between and absolutely wonderful. 

This blog is a bit different than others in the series. Because this group is so diverse, we can’t use general statements that relate to most of the dogs. Why? Maybe looking at some of the specific breeds will help answer that. 

Well Known Non-Sporting Dog Breeds:

As you’ve probably noticed, a bulldog is very different from a poodle. That’s why it is so hard to define this group. But we’ll do our best so you can pick the best companion for you. 

Non-Sporting Dog Personalities 

There is no defining this group’s personality under one umbrella. They’re all lovely pups, but each of them are so different! Let’s look at a few examples. 

American Bulldogs are friendly and courageous with a happy disposition. They always look like they’re smiling, even though their bodies can range from wrinkled to muscled. They’re too big to be considered a Toy breed, but they still have the same love for cuddles as smaller breeds. They’re also not built to run, but they still have the same energy and playfulness as dogs in the sporting group

In general, bulldogs are sweet, devoted and aim to please, making them fun to train. Many Bulldogs love to chew, so having plenty of tough toys is a must. They also enjoy games of tug-of-war.

Chow Chows

The affectionate Chow Chow is devoted and loyal to family, but indifferent to strangers. This makes them an excellent guard dog, but they may not be great if you have kids who like to have friends over because they’re often so protective and loyal. 

Chows are also very stubborn, which means they need a lot of socialization and training. They’re also big dogs! They need a lot of exercise and a strong hand until they’re trained. 


Poodles are lovely dogs, despite them having an aristocratic reputation. They’re super smart, athletic, and great companions. They loved to be active and thrive in homes where they can run and play. 

Like a lot of working dogs, poodles like to keep busy. They love the water and they love to retrieve things, so a hearty game of fetch will keep them happy. They also love brisk walks and jogs (and they look great doing it). 

Both miniature and standard poodles are Non-Sporting breeds, whereas Toy Poodles naturally fall into the Toy group

How to Choose the Right Non-Sporting Dog 

Choosing the right non-sporting dog boils down to you doing your own research. Some love apartments, some love kids,and some are highly intelligent others. It all depends on what you want your next pet to be. 

Are Non-Sporting Dogs Good with Families? 

Yes and no. It really depends on the dog you choose. 

For example, though poodles often look like royalty, they’re lovely with kids. These ancient breed dogs are curly, cute, and can learn any trick you want to teach because they are so clever and easy to train. They also come in many colors, and love other pets and human kids.

On the other hand, dalmations, chows, and shiba inus may not have the patience for younger kids. They’re extremely loyal to their master, but are often slow to warm up to new people. Once they do, however, they will be fiercely loyal. It’s all about giving them time, a lot of patience, and a lot of training. 

Grooming Needs

This one is something we can define. Non-sporting dogs often require a lot of grooming and maintenance, even if they have shorter hair. Bulldogs and terriers, for instance, often have skin issues that need to be addressed through grooming and lotions, while a poodle’s curly fur needs attention to stay tame. 

Chows and larger breeds in this group have a lot of fur too. So expect shedding! 

Common Health Problems

Again, these heavily depend on the breed. Every dog in the non-sporting group comes with common health issues and we can’t prepare you for all of them. We can, however, give you some of the more common ones for a few breeds. 

Bulldogs are well known for their look and their health. They’re very prone to getting sick due to their build. They can have a plethora of health problems including cardiac and respiratory disease, hip dysplasia, cherry eye, and other concerns. They are extremely susceptible to heat problems, can easily drown in swimming pools or other water, and require daily cleaning of their skin folds to avoid problems. 

Chow chows are big dogs. Due to their size, they’re more prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, autoimmune thyroiditis, and eye problems such as cataracts, distichiasis and glaucoma. Stomach cancer and gastric torsion are also seen in the breed. They can also tear their ACL quite easily and may require a dog ACL brace to help prevent hind leg issues. 

As a final example, the Boston Terrier is known to have more health issues than similar small to medium breeds, and are prone to issues like cataracts, cherry eye, heart murmurs, and deafness.

We hope you find the perfect canine companion for you!