Smash Negativity Team

Difference Between Breed and Species: 10 Distinct Differences

breeds, species

Living things are classified according to certain shared features or attributes. In the animal kingdom, especially, breeds and species are two distinct classifications.

They are used to describe some groups of organisms based on their shared characteristics.

While species is a broader term that is used to place multiple breeds in sections, the differences between them lie in the different traits, behaviors, and adaptations observed in them.

In this article, we will talk deeply about the Difference Between Breed and Species We will also explore ten amazing differences between breeds and species in the animal world.

What Are Species?

karishea, Pixabay

A species is a simple unit of biological classification that represents a set of organisms that share common attributes.

They share similar characteristics, similar genetic makeup, and the ability to interbreed and produce new offspring.

They are the building blocks of life and the concept of a complex collection of ecosystems and evolutionary processes that adjust life.

The concept of species has also evolved over time, because early naturalists and scientists relied on physical and observable traits to define them.

However, molecular biology and genetics studies have broadened our understanding of species, including genetic similarities and differences.

Today, species are often defined as more than just morphological or behavioral resemblances. They are defined as groups of organisms that share a common gene pool and evolutionary history.

What Are Breeds?

A breed, in the animal kingdom, is a distinct group of organisms within a species. These organisms share common inherited traits, similar characteristics, and lineages as well.

In most cases, these traits often result from selective breeding practices. While in some cases they are a result of natural selection, or genetic drift.

Breeds can be found in various species, including mammals, birds, fish, and even insects. They are formed when  these organisms within a species are selectively bred for specific attributes, like:

  1. Physical
  2. Behavioral
  3. Functional
  4. Genetic
  5. Reproductiveness.

The process or breeding is usually carried out mechanically by humans or, in some special cases, by nature itself.

The main vision for the use of breeding is to develop different animals with specific desired traits. Traits that are beneficial for particular purposes, such as agriculture, companionship, sport, or work.

As of today, there are many examples of breeds across the different species known. In dogs today, there are hundreds of recognized breeds.

And each breed has its own unique physical characteristics, behaviors, and roles they fulfill. Some dog breeds include:

  1. The Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Poodle.

While there are many breeds of horses today for different purposes, such as racing, riding, or farming,. Some of these breeds are:

  1. The Thoroughbred
  2. Arabian
  3. Quarter Horse.

In the bird kingdom, some species also have distinct breeds. For example, in pigeons, there are two most distinct species, namely, the Homing Pigeon and the Fantail Pigeon.

They have been selectively bred for their unique form or abilities, like homing skills in the case of Homing Pigeons.

Here Are Some Examples Of Popular Animal Breeds

PicsbyFran, Pixabay


  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Bulldog
  5. Beagle
  6. Poodle
  7. French Bulldog
  8. Rottweiler
  9. Yorkshire Terrier
  10. Dachshund.


  1. Siamese
  2. Persian
  3. Maine Coon
  4. Ragdoll
  5. Bengal
  6. Sphynx
  7. British Shorthair
  8. Egyptian Mau
  9. Exotic Shorthair
  10. Abyssinian.


  1. Thoroughbred
  2. Quarter Horse
  3. Arabian
  4. Appaloosa
  5. Tennessee Walking Horse
  6. Paint Horse
  7. Warmblood
  8. Morgan
  9. Standardbred
  10. American Quarter Horse.


  1. Budgerigar (Parakeet)
  2. Canary
  3. Cockatiel
  4. Amazon Parrot
  5. African Grey Parrot
  6. Macaw
  7. Pigeon
  8. Peafowl
  9. Dove
  10. Lovebird


  1. Guppy
  2. Goldfish
  3. Betta
  4. Angel Fish
  5. Clownfish
  6. Oscars
  7. Neon Tetra
  8. Gourami
  9. Koi
  10. Siamese Fighting Fish (Bettas).


  1. Dutch Rabbit
  2. Lionhead Rabbit
  3. Mini Lop Rabbit
  4. English Angora Rabbit
  5. Rex Rabbit
  6. Dwarf Hotot Rabbit
  7. California Rabbit
  8. New Zealand White Rabbit
  9. Himalayan Rabbit
  10. French Lop Rabbit.


  1. Syrian Hamster
  2. Dwarf Hamster
  3. Chinese Hamster
  4. Roborovski Hamster
  5. Campbell’s Russian Hamster.

Guinea Pigs

  1. Peruvian Guinea Pig
  2. Abyssinian Guinea Pig
  3. Silkie Guinea Pig
  4. Teddy Guinea Pig
  5. American Guinea Pig
  6. Himalayan Guinea Pig.


  1. Ball Python
  2. Corn Snake
  3. Bearded Dragon
  4. Green Iguana
  5. Red-Eared Slider Turtle
  6. Leopard Gecko
  7. Green Anaconda
  8. King Cobra
  9. Green Tree Python
  10. Boa Constrictor.

Farm Animals

  1. Dairy Cows (Holstein, Jersey, and Brown Swiss)
  2. Pigs (Large White, Landrace, Duroc)
  3. Sheep (Merino, Suffolk, Hampshire)
  4. Goats (Saanen, Alpine, and Nubian)
  5. Chickens (Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock).

10 Distinct Differences Between Species And Breeds

1. Genetic Differences

Species have a similar gene pool, while breeds which are within a species possess distinct genetic variations. For example, within the Canis lupus species (gray wolves), some breeds like the Siberian Husky and German Shepherd Dog have unique genetic makeup.

2. Reproduction

Species can easily interbreed and produce fertile offspring, while breeds generally cannot produce possible offsprings when crossed, because it has to result in a different make altogether. For instance, a horse (Equus caballus) and a donkey (Equus asinus) belong to different species but can reproduce, resulting in a mule.

3. Geographical Distribution

Species are found in several places, when compared to breeds, which can only be in a single environment within a region, where they were bred.

The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) can easily be found across many regions in Africa, while the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is specifically seen only in the Pyrenees mountain range.

4. Adaptation

Species tend to adapt to their environment, while breeds have little to do with adaptation because they were selectively bred for specific traits.

The Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) species for example, is adapted to cold environments, while the Siberian Husky breed is selectively bred for its ability to thrive in such conditions.

5. Population Size

Species usually have larger populations compared to breed populations, which can be smaller and more controlled.

The domestic cat (Felis catus) is a species that is scattered globally, but a species like the Turkish Angora breed has a smaller population.

6. Behavioral Differences

Species are known to exhibit natural behaviors that can be attributed to their adaptation to survival. But breeds are a different case because they may have a different set of behaviors shaped by selective breeding.

The African elephant species for example, has complex social structural patterns, while breeds like the Indian elephant are docile in nature; hence, they are often used in tourism.

7. Physical Characteristics

The differences between species and breeds are more pronounced in their physical attributes. Because species have distinct sets of physical characteristics, while breeds do not, theirs are often exaggerated traits.

The African Lion (Panthera leo) species has different body coating patterns, but the Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) breed is generally known for its unique orange coat with black stripes.

8. Conservation Status

Species can be declared endangered, vulnerable, or their existence threatened, but breeds generally might not need these concerns. For example, the Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is believed to be an endangered species.

9. Evolutionary History

Species evolve over time, but breeds do not; they are a result of selective breeding by humans. The Darwin’s Finch species (Geospiza spp.) is believed to have evolved over time in the Galapagos Islands.

10. Domestication

Lastly, species can be wild or undomesticated, while breeds are domesticated animals or were bred to be primarily.


Species and breeds in the animal kingdom have significant differences in various aspects. They can range from;

  1. Genetics
  2. Reproduction
  3. Geographical distribution
  4. Adaptation
  5. Population size
  6. Behavior
  7. Physical characteristics
  8. Conservation status
  9. Evolutionary history
  10. Domestication.

And understanding these differences between breeds and species is crucial for the study and management of diverse animal life on our planet.

Sign Up for More!Subscribe to our newsletter to have first-hand access to our special offers and life tips.

More resources

Leave a Comment