Working Dogs Breed Guide – 5 Most Popular Working Dog Breeds
The term “work like a dog” is a nod to the tireless efforts that working dog breeds put in to get the job done. Throughout history, dogs have been called on to perform various jobs in the home, on the farm and even on ships. Today, most dogs are tasked with providing companionship, but there are still a number of breeds that retain their roles as essential workers!
What Are Working Dogs?
Working dogs were bred to excel at specific tasks. Most working dog breeds have impressive resumes with the skills and temperaments that are ideal for tasks ranging from pulling sleds and protecting livestock to sniffing out contraband and identifying invasive species.
There are large working dog breeds and small working dog breeds. Although the tasks working dog breeds perform vary, these pups have a few common characteristics that have allowed them to climb the career ladder (while earning several “employee of the month” awards along the way).
What Are the Working Dog Breeds?
There are 31 dog breeds in the American Kennel Club (AKC) “Working” group, that perform a range of different jobs. Working dogs come in all sizes, coat lengths and colors but all share a common desire to get the job done.
Do Working Dog Breeds Make Good Pets?
Working dogs can make great pets. In fact, several of the working dog breeds, including Boxer, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Alaskan Malamute and Bernese Mountain Dog, are also on the AKC’s most popular breeds list. The reason: working dogs tend to be smart, loyal, even-tempered and protective, which are qualities pet owners want in their dogs.
It’s important to remember that working dogs were bred to, well, work; these are dogs that have a high desire to complete tasks that require physical stamina and problem solving. You might not adopt a Siberian Husky to pull a sled across snowy landscapes or train a Great Pyrenees to protect a flock of sheep, but it’s important to provide the training, exercise and mental stimulation that these dogs need to feel happy and fulfilled.
How to Keep Your Working Dog Happy
It takes smarts for a dog to hold down a job. Working dogs need something to test their skills and challenge their minds. Without mental stimulation, working dog breeds will get bored, and that can only lead to trouble. Here are a few things you can do to keep your working dog feeling fulfilled and satisfied.
Working Dogs Need a Job to Do
Put your working dog to work. Teach a Portuguese Water Dogs to jump into a pool to retrieve a toy fish; train a Siberian Husky to pull a sled; or take a Saint Bernard on a long hike in the mountains.
Ensuring that your working dog breed has a job to do at home will help them be happier, healthier dogs, and keep them from creating their own job to do (like herding your children or guarding your yard from the mailman).
Working Dogs Need Lots of Exercise
Working dog breeds tend to be active dogs that need a lot of exercise. In addition to long walks, runs or hikes, look for opportunities for safe off-leash games like fetch or sign up for dog sports such as agility, flyball or dock diving. The more exercise you can provide, the more satisfied your working dog will feel.
Working Dogs Need Extra Stimulation
Mental stimulation is as important as exercise. Providing a job is one way to mentally engage your working dog but remember to offer mentally stimulating activities during their off hours, too. Puzzle feeders, treat dispensing toys and long lasting chews are great options. Teaching your working dog breed new tricks or taking new places filled with different sights, sounds and smells are also great for mental stimulation.
Working Dogs Need Extra Nutrition
It takes the right fuel for all of that extra exercise, work, and stimulation. Your working dog needs a quality, high-protein diet like PetPlate to give them the nutrition they need without packing on extra weight from fillers and low-quality ingredients.
Top 5 Most Popular Working Dogs
The breed might have a reputation as affectionate and fun loving, but Boxers were originally bred as “bull biters” that would hunt big game, relying on their stamina and smarts to chase and hold bear, bison and wild boar. Boxers are one of the top 10 most popular breeds in the U.S. out of all dog breeds, thanks to their outgoing personalities and easygoing temperaments. These working dogs can be trained to perform a range of tasks from watchdogs to guide dogs, and are formidable competitors in agility and other dog sports.
The Doberman Pinscher was bred to protects its owners. Their imposing appearance, intelligence, endurance and speed helped the German breed become a favorite among military and police K9 units. Dobermans are also prized companions that are loyal and affectionate with their owners. Thanks to their strong protective instincts, Dobermans make excellent service dogs.
Semi-Nomadic tribes depended on dogs to pull sleds across rugged terrain in frigid temperatures; the job required dogs with outstanding endurance that also excelled at problem solving. The Siberian Husky fit the bill. The breed is fast, nimble on its feet, and has stamina to spare. Their thick coats and tolerance for cold weather make them ideal companions for winter activities like skijouring, a sport that uses a harnessed dog to pull a cross-country skier through the snow.
Rottweilers are descendants of drover dogs that farmers relied on to move and guard cattle herds. Although it’s rare to see Rotties on ranches, the breed is still hard at work; their roles have evolved to include police and search and rescue work. Rottweilers are loving and affectionate companions but retain a strong desire to work and often excel as service dogs or search and rescue dogs. The breed can also be taught to pull a cart or trained to compete in scent tracking.
In Bern, Switzerland, farmers relied on Bernese Mountain Dogs for farm labor; the large breed dogs performed tasks like driving cattle, pulling carts and guarding farms. Their gentle dispositions and reputations for being calm and eager to please meant that the breed was also a favorite companion. Bernese Mountain Dogs appreciate tasks like agility, rally, tracking and drafting that allow them to work alongside their owners and receive praise for a job well done.
Reward Your Working Dog for a Job Well Done with PetPlate
PetPlate offers human-grade meals and treats designed to provide high quality fuel for dogs of all sizes. Whether your dog is a true working dog or excels at tasks like napping, you’ll find a range of gently-cooked goodies designed for their specific lifestyle—and delivered straight to your door (by UPS, not by Husky).