The American Kennel Club officially recognizes 178 breeds in 2014. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale, the world authority on breeds, recognizes 340 breeds as of 2010. There are several breeds that are not officially recognized, making there at least 400 breeds worldwide, not including mixed breeds.
All breeds of domestic dogs originate from an Asian wolf ancestor, which lived between 14,000 and 17,000 years ago. For thousands of years, dogs were bred for specific behavioral purposes, such as spotting prey, protecting flocks, tracking or protecting property. In the 1800s, kennel clubs formed, and the physical standards of the breeds became more important than their original purposes.