Working Dog Breeds: Dog and Puppy Photos

Akita Puppies Working Breeds

Pictures of Akita Puppies

AKC Working Dogs by Type

The chief roles of most domestic working dog breeds today are companionship and affection, so it's easy to overlook the fact that myriad dogs around the world serve people in additional ways. Not long after dogs first came to share their lives with humans at least 12,000 years ago, we discovered that we could train them as puppies to perform certain tasks. The first working dog breeds may have helped humans on the hunt or protected livestock from predators. Over the millennia, we found we could breed them to our needs, creating working dog breeds perfectly suited to specific purposes.

Working Dog Breeds

This group of working dog breeds was bred to serve humans in very practical and specific ways. They are the dogs and pups most often associated with guarding, leading, guiding, protecting, pulling, or saving lives. Working dogs range in size from medium to large, but all are robust with sturdy and muscular builds. Working dog breeds are characterized by strength and alertness, intelligence and loyalty.

Among the working dog breeds most often associated with guarding home, person, or property are the Akita, boxer, bullmastiff, Doberman pinscher, giant schnauzer, Great Dane, mastiff, Rottweiler, and standard schnauzer. Dogs bred to guard livestock are the Great Pyrenees, komondor, and kuvasz. In England, Pyrenean mountain dogs are recognized in this group, as are all the herding dogs, and, in Canada, Eskimo dogs are included. Also in the Working group are those dogs bred to pull, haul, and rescue. These include the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian husky, the Samoyed, the Bernese mountain dog, the Portuguese water dog, the Newfoundland, and the St. Bernard. Poodles of the three varieties (standard, miniature, and toy) are part of this group in England, as are several other breeds found in the Non-Sporting group in the United States.

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Alaskan Malamute

Anatolian Shepherd

Bernese Mountain Dog


Doberman Pinscher

Giant Schnauzer

Great Dane

Great Pyrenees

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog




Portuguese Water Dog


Saint Bernard


Siberian Husky

Standard Schnauzer

Doberman Pinschers working breed

Pictures of Doberman Pinschers

A working dog refers to a dog that performs tasks to assist its human companions. Within this general description, however, there are several ways in which the phrase is used.
To identify a working dog that performs any tasks on a regular basis to assist people. In this context, a dog or puppy who helps a rancher manages cattle or who performs tricks for a trainer who receives pay for its acts is a working dog, as is an assistance dog. This might be in comparison to a companion dog, whose purpose is primarily as a pet.
To distinguish between show dogs that are bred primarily for their appearance in an attempt to match a breed club's detailed description of what such a breed should look like, and working breeds that are bred primarily for their ability to perform a task. For example, a Border Collie that is a champion show dog is not necessarily good at herding sheep; a Border Collie that is a champion at sheepdog trials might be laughed out of the show ring for its nonstandard appearance.

Working Siberian Husky

Pictures of Siberian Huskey

For some dog breeds, there are separate registries for tracking the ancestry of working dogs and that of show dogs. For example, in Australia, there are separate registries for working and show Australian Kelpies; the working registry encourages the breeding of any Kelpies for puppies with a strong instinct to herd, no matter their appearance or coat color; the show registry encourages breeding only among Kelpies whose ancestors were registered as show dogs and who have only solid-colored coats.

As a catch-all for dog breeds whose original purpose was to perform tasks that do not fit into a more specific category of work. For example, the American Kennel Club(AKC) uses Working Dog Breeds to describe breeds that were originally bred for jobs other than herding or hunting. Such jobs might include pulling carts, guarding, and so on.

Boxer Puppy Working Bree

Picture of Boxer puppy

Working Dog Breeds as pets.

The breeding of working dogs has resulted in highly intelligent, hardy, alert dogs and puppies that are often attractive and extremely loyal. As a result, many breeds are sought after as pups for family pets. Unfortunately, many owners fail to consider that such dogs are rarely passive, so the abandonment rate is very high.

Pictures of Rottweiler Working Dog Breeds

Working dogs make excellent pets as long as potential owners realize that these dogs must be given 'work' to do even as puppies. Dogs that are not to be used for their original purpose must be trained from a young pup age and are best suited to active persons and families. Obedience training, dog sports such as flyball, dancing and agility, informal or novelty shows, and trial work are all excellent channels for these breeds' energy; at the very least they must be walked or given other exercise at an appropriate level for the breed, given toys, played with, and provided with human company.
Working dogs that are chained, left alone, or ignored become bored, vocal, and even neurotic; they may exhibit malaise, lethargy, or destructive behavior or become escape artists.

Saint Bernard Working Bree

Pictures of Saint Bernard

As the name implies, these are the dogs that are relied upon to do a specific job: in fact, some do multiple tasks for man. For the most part, they are large animals who perform these jobs by combining physical strength and endurance with keen intelligence.

The working group contains the biggest of the pedigree breeds: Mastiffs can weigh over 250 pounds; Great Danes can be seven feet tall (standing on their hindlegs). There are no small dogs in this group, because none do small jobs. Pulling a sled across the frozen northern lands or guarding an urban home, these animals earn their keep. Historically, many of these breeds were used in roles we later assigned to mules and horses: turning the stone wheels of gristmills, pulling drays on farms and sledges in forested areas.

Puppy Lov

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