When writing of dog breeds should they be capitalized? For example:

The best breed for hunting rabbits is the beagle.

Should the word "beagle" be capitalized?

2 Answers 2


Typically, breeds are not capitalized in general-interest publications, like popular magazines and books and newspapers (see this from the NYT, for example). Common editorial practice follows the guidance of dictionaries like Merriam-Webster's and American Heritage. If you look up beagle or poodle in either of these sources, you will see that it is lower case. German shepherds, Portuguese water dogs, Newfoundland hounds, Dalmatians, and others that include a proper term do take capitals on those terms.

However, if you go to a site like the American Kennel Club's (www.akc.org), generally you'll see capitals used for all breeds, including Beagle and Poodle. This is a perfectly reasonable editorial decision, given that breeds and breeding are their entire focus.

In short, capitalization is an editorial choice.

  • 2
    It bugs me when people write "labrador" without a capital - the breed is named after Labrador in Canada. Or should I say labrador in canada?
    – Dog Lover
    May 15, 2016 at 6:49

Usually not, the one exception being "the Beagle" when referring to any given beagle, ie. the breed as a whole.

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