Many characteristics but just dogs
A dog's coat consists of coat and undercoat. It is an important characteristic that derives from the place of origin of a specific breed: dogs bred in cold regions have a very heavy coat; hunting dogs tend to have it smooth and short; Terriers, on the other hand, tend to have it hard and rough, so as to provide them with the protection they need to infiltrate the undergrowth and underground. The coat can be divided into short and long according to its size, while the hard one depends on the texture. Some breeds, such as the Dachshund, have all 3 types; but in the vast majority of cases it is always only one typology that prevails.
Size is perhaps the most obvious characteristic that differentiates individual breeds. They have been divided into three groups and the height is measured from the withers - the highest point on a dog's back. Large is over 61 cm; medium is 46 to 61cm and small under 46cm. However, it is not the size that defines a dog's behavior, even if a large dog will have a higher maintenance cost and more space problems.
Head is a less obvious feature than height, but it provides an indication of the breed's ancestors. Round head breeds tend to have short snouts; those with an elongated head have a long muzzle and the races with a squared head have short jaws. Hounds have for example a long snout; the dogs selected for combat instead have a short and rather squared muzzle.
The shape and length of the ears vary greatly between species. Pricked ears pick up sound waves with great efficiency; while for the hounds that rely on the sense of smell to hunt, the ears are dropped to protect the eardrum while chasing prey. The cocked ears, typical for example of Terriers, allow these dogs to go to burrows more easily.
Tails have different shapes and lengths but is not essential for the identification of the breed as it can be altered by partial or total amputation. The long tail is used by the dog to communicate its presence especially in the undergrowth; typical of many hounds. The plume tail is formed by longer hairs in the undertail. Typical in hunting dogs. The docked tail - often applied to terriers - ensures that the stump is not only short but also erect. The curled tail, on the other hand, is a prerogative of all Spitz breeds.