Top Dog Breeds Starting with A

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: July 10, 2024
Top Dog Breeds Starting with A

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Calling all dog enthusiasts! Are you familiar with the diverse pack of breeds starting with A? This group goes beyond the well-known Alaskan Malamute. Prepare to be surprised by the athletic agility of the Airedale Terrier, the gentle temperament of the American Bulldog, or the fascinating history of the Azawakh. Dive into our guide and discover the unique personalities, appearances, and needs of these amazing dog breeds.

The following AnimalWised article explores dog breed that start with A and provide photosd and a descruption so you get to know these breeds.

You may also be interested in: Top 10 Dwarf Rabbit Breeds - With Pictures
  1. Affenpinscher
  2. Airedale terrier
  3. Akita Inu
  4. American Akita
  5. Alaskan Malamute
  6. American foxhound
  7. Azawakh
  8. Spanish Alano
  9. American bully
  10. Other dog breeds with the letter A
See more >>


Originating in Germany, the Affenpinscher is one of the oldest toy dog breeds, with depictions dating back to the 16th century. Its name aptly reflects its appearance, translating from German as "monkey terrier" (Affe = monkey, Pinscher = terrier) due to its resemblance to primates.

Standing at a petite 9 to 11.5 inches (23 to 29 cm) tall and weighing around 7 to 10 pounds (3 to 4.5 kg), the Affenpinscher boasts a compact and sturdy build. Their most striking features include large, dark eyes and a unique coat. The Affenpinscher's hair is wiry, short to medium in length, and requires regular grooming to maintain its texture.

For dog lovers with allergies, the Affenpinscher's wiry coat offers a perk. They are considered hypoallergenic due to minimal shedding.

Did you know these dogs are really smart? Discover the other smartest dog breeds according to Stanley Coren's list in this article.

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - Affenpinscher

Airedale terrier

Originating in the Aire Valley of England in the mid-19th century, the Airedale Terrier is the largest breed within the terrier group. These versatile dogs stand at an impressive height of 23 to 24 inches (58-61 cm) at the shoulder and typically weigh between 45 and 70 pounds (20-32 kg).

Airedales possess a compact and muscular build with a deep chest, allowing for both agility and strength. Their double coat consists of a hard, wiry outer layer that protects a softer, shorter undercoat. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain coat health and prevent matting.

Airedales were originally bred for various working purposes. Their keen senses and energetic nature made them adept at hunting otters and vermin. Additionally, their intelligence and trainability led to their utilization as guide dogs for the blind and assistance dogs for police forces. During World War I and II, Airedales served as messenger dogs, guard dogs, and even ambulance dogs, showcasing their intelligence, loyalty, and courage.

Our other article dives deep into the different terrier types and provides a comprehensive list of terrier breeds from around the globe.

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - Airedale terrier

Akita Inu

The Akita Inu, also known as the Japanese Akita, is a large and powerful dog breed originating from the mountainous regions of northern Japan. Considered an ancient breed, its history stretches back centuries. While the Akita's past may have included dog fighting (a practice now thankfully banned in Japan), the breed is primarily recognized for its loyalty and protective nature. Today, Akitas excel as guard dogs and devoted companions.

Akitas boast a thick double coat that comes in various colors and markings. These majestic dogs exhibit a size difference between sexes. Males typically stand 26 to 28 inches (66-71 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 100 and 130 pounds (45-59 kg). Females are slightly smaller, ranging from 24 to 26 inches (61-66 cm) at the shoulder and weighing 70 to 100 pounds (32-45 kg).

Despite their impressive size and sometimes dominating presence, Akitas are known for their reserved and shy personalities.

You might want to check out our other article exploring the question are Akita Inus really as dangerous as they're made out to be?

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - Akita Inu

American Akita

The Akita Inu and American Akita, while sharing a common ancestor, have developed distinct characteristics. The Akita Inu originated in Japan centuries ago while the American Akita emerged in the early 20th century.

American breeders crossed the Akita Inu with other breeds like German Shepherds and Mastiffs, resulting in a dog with a more robust build. Males can reach a height of 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder, tipping the scales at a hefty 100 to 130 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, ranging from 24 to 26 inches tall and weighing 70 to 100 pounds. Their robust build is further accentuated by their heavier bone structure and muscular physique.

The American Akita inherits the Akita Inu's fierce loyalty and protectiveness, making them exceptional guard dogs. They form strong bonds with their families and are known for their unwavering devotion. However, unlike their Japanese counterparts, American Akitas possess a more independent spirit.

It's essential to be aware that some countries classify the American Akita as a "Potentially Dangerous Breed" (PPP) due to their size and potential territorial behavior.

Discover the distinctions between these two breeds by diving into our article on the various types of Akita dog breeds.

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - American Akita

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute, sometimes mistaken for its close relative the Siberian Husky, is a sled dog breed originating in Alaska.

Alaskan Malamutes are noticeably larger and heavier than Siberian Huskies. They possess a powerful build with a thick double coat. The top layer of their coat is denser and rougher, offering protection from harsh Arctic weather. The undercoat is softer and provides insulation. Males typically stand at a height of 25 to 28 inches (64-71 cm) at the shoulder and weigh a substantial 85 to 100 pounds (39-45 kg). Females are slightly smaller, ranging from 23 to 25 inches (58-64 cm) tall and weighing 75 to 85 pounds (34-39 kg).

Malamutes were historically bred for pulling heavy sleds over long distances. Their strength, stamina, and loyalty made them invaluable companions for Arctic explorers and haulers. While Malamutes share the Husky's friendly nature, they can also be more independent and require experienced owners who can provide them with proper training and exercise.

Don't miss out on our handy guide covering the various types and breeds of husky dogs.

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - Alaskan Malamute

American foxhound

The American Foxhound, a descendant of the English Foxhound, originates from the United States. This breed is prized for its friendly and social nature, making them excellent companions. Their popularity is evident, as they are even the official state dog of Virginia.

They are medium-sized dogs, typically standing between 21 to 24 inches (53-61 cm) at the shoulder. Their weight ranges from 40 to 60 pounds (18-27 kg), with males generally being larger than females.

American Foxhounds were originally bred for fox hunting. Their keen sense of smell, stamina, and pack mentality made them highly skilled in this pursuit. While American Foxhounds make wonderful companions, their hunting instincts are strong. They require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and fulfilled. Beyond aesthetics, their long, floppy ears serve a functional purpose during hunting. These ears help trap scent particles close to the ground, aiding the Foxhound in tracking their quarry.

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - American foxhound


Originating in West Africa, the Azawakh is a sighthound breed with a rich history. These elegant dogs were traditionally companions and hunting partners to the nomadic Tuareg people.

Their lean and elongated build offers advantages in both camouflage and agility during hunting. Sharing characteristics with other sighthounds, the Azawakh possesses exceptional speed, reaching up to 60 kilometers per hour. This remarkable ability, combined with their impressive stamina, made them valuable assets for the Tuareg people in hunting swift prey. Males typically stand between 25 to 29 inches (63-73 cm) at the shoulder and weigh around 44 to 55 pounds (20-25 kg). Females are slightly smaller, ranging from 23 to 27 inches (58-69 cm) tall and weighing 33 to 44 pounds (15-20 kg).

Azawakhs are known for their alertness and responsiveness to their surroundings. While this vigilance can be beneficial, it underscores the importance of proper socialization and training from a young age. Consistent training helps Azawakhs develop into well-adjusted companions.

Delve into discovering other dog breeds that originated in Africa.

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - Azawakh

Spanish Alano

The Spanish Alano is a medium- to large-sized dog breed of molossoid type, originating from Spain. The exact origins of the breed remain unclear, but some theories suggest a possible connection to the arrival of Alan tribes in Europe during the 4th and 5th centuries.

Spanish Alanos are brachycephalic, meaning they have a short, wide, and deep snout. They possess a muscular and robust build, with a thick double coat that can come in various colors including brindle, fawn, and black. Males typically stand between 23 to 26 inches (58-66 cm) at the shoulder and weigh a substantial 75 to 110 pounds (34-50 kg). Females are slightly smaller, ranging from 22 to 24 inches (55-60 cm) tall and weighing 66 to 99 pounds (30-45 kg).

Historically, Spanish Alanos were bred for various working purposes such as herding cattle, guarding property, and assisting with hunting. They are known for their loyalty and protectiveness, which translates well to their watchdog capabilities. However, this loyalty can also manifest as a tendency to bond strongly with one handler, potentially requiring socialization and training to ensure they interact positively with others.

Be sure to check out our article highlighting other Spanish dog breeds.

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - Spanish Alano

American bully

The American Bully is a relatively new dog breed developed in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. These distinctive dogs are known for their compact and muscular build. The American Bully's ancestry includes breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and English Bulldog.

Males typically stand between 17 to 20 inches (43-51 cm) at the shoulder and weigh 85 to 130 pounds (39-59 kg). Females are slightly smaller, ranging from 16 to 19 inches (41-48 cm) tall and weighing 65 to 100 pounds (29-45 kg). Their broad heads and short snouts contribute to their unique appearance, often described as having an " ewigen lächeln" or "eternal smile" in German.

Despite their impressive physique, American Bullies are often described as affectionate and loyal companions. They are known for their protectiveness, particularly towards children when properly socialized and trained.

If you're struggling to name your American Bully, be sure to check out our article on the best American Bully-inspired names.

Top Dog Breeds Starting with A - American bully

Other dog breeds with the letter A

Looking for more fascinating dog breeds? Before you go, check out these less known but amazing dog breeds whose names start with "A". From loyal companions to athletic hunters, this diverse group offers a breed to suit almost any lifestyle:

  • Australian Terrier: a small, terrier-type dog known for its lively personality and energetic spirit. They have a rough, weatherproof coat that can be sandy, red, or black and tan. Originally bred to control vermin on farms in Australia.

  • Austrian Black and Tan Hound: a medium-sized scenthound recognized for its excellent tracking abilities. They have a short, black and tan coat and are known for their calm demeanor and dedication to hunting.

  • Australian Silky Terrier: a small, long-haired terrier breed known for its silky coat that requires regular grooming. Playful and affectionate, they were originally bred as companion dogs.

  • Artois Hound: a medium-sized scenthound with a distinctive brindle coat. Energetic and hardworking, they were traditionally used for hunting wild boar and deer in France.

  • Ariegeois: a medium-sized pointing dog prized for their pointing and tracking skills. They have a short, brown and white coat and are known for their intelligence and trainability.

  • American Staffordshire Terrier: a medium-sized, muscular breed often nicknamed "AmStaff." Loyal and affectionate companions, they were originally bred for working purposes like herding cattle and guarding property. However, responsible ownership and training are crucial due to their strength.

Looking for a trainable companion? Explore our picks for the 15 most obedient dog breeds, perfect for first-time owners.

If you want to read similar articles to Top Dog Breeds Starting with A, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

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Top Dog Breeds Starting with A