GENERAL BREED INFO

Working Dogs: Purveyors of Agility, Strength, And Endurance

Working dogs
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

Apart from being an invaluable asset to man, working dogs are explicitly bred to execute various jobs such as pulling sleds, herding other animals, guarding properties and many others. From the early days when man and dog became friends, to the present era, working dogs such as the Siberian Husky and the Great Dane are but a few of this exceptional group. Apart from being very quick to learn, working dogs are also exceedingly intelligent and also very capable in every aspect.

But, all in all, there are a few aspects that render this exceptional group of dogs unsuitable for petting; their formidable strengths and their considerable dimensions. With a few exceptions in this group, such as the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute that are too people-oriented, the rest can be used as guard dogs. Hence here is a breakdown of some of the exceptional working dog breeds

Working dog breeds: 5 dog breeds that you must know about

The Anatolian Shepherd

The Anatolian Shepherd dog breed is a huge, powerful, rugged dog that has both agility and endurance as its main strengths. Apart from being huge and powerful, the Anatolian Dog breed also, has an impeccable bone structure, which is mainly highlighted with its somehow large head. This dog breed was first bred 6,000 years ago in the arid Anatolian region of Turkey which is an area that has very little rain, extreme heat during the summers and extreme coldness during the winters.

The extremities of the climatic condition of this area could be a\one of the main contributing factor to the dog’s highly adaptive characteristics.

The Anatolian Shepherd working

All in all the Anatolian dog breed is defined by a course light colored body hair that is effective for cooling and a medium length coat. This dog breed is physically imposing with males weighing over 70 kilograms in weight. In addition, they have the ability to reach a top speed of close to 75 kilometer per hour and can go for many days with minimal food and water. Furthermore, with their excellent sense of smell, sharp eyesight and Anatolians have the ability to investigate, detect and aggressively confront any threats or intruders.

Doberman Pinscher

Apart from being compactly built, the Doberman Pinscher breed is also very muscular and powerful. By combining strength and elegance with endurance and speed, the Doberman can achieve what very few dogs can be able to. In addition, its carriage is alert and proud while its way of walking is free and vigorous while its coat is short, hard and smooth. The Doberman is also an intelligent, capable guardian who is always on the guard and ready to protect its home or family at any cost.

Doberman Pinscher dog

Furthermore, the Doberman is also very loyal and adventurous. This breed is a gifted and highly obedient pupil that likes to be mentally challenged. Most of the dogs in this breed are very sensitive and responsive to the owners, though others can at times be very domineering. All in all, this dog breed is very reserved to strangers and can be aggressive towards unfamiliar dogs.

The Bernese Mountain breed

The Bernese mountain dog breed is a tad longer than tall though it give the impression as if it is square. Apart from being exceedingly huge, the Bernese Dog breed is also a sturdy and hardy that is capable of driving and drafting work. In order to achieve this, the Doberman mountain breed will need to combine speed, strength, and agility. The Doberman’s natural gait is usually a slow brisk walk that is concocted with a good reach and an excellent drive.

Bernese Mountain dog working

Furthermore, the Bernese’s mountain dog breed’s coat is abstemiously long and can be slightly wavy or straight depending on the dog. The long coat plays a key role in controlling the dog’s internal temperature by providing warmth during the cold. Apart from being easy going, the Burmese dog breed is also a peaceful family companion especially after it leaves the adolescent stage.

In addition, it is also sensitive loyal and exceedingly devoted to its owner/ owners. Unlike most working dogs, the Bernese mountain dog breed is extremely placid with children and highly reserved to strangers. In addition, it also gets along with other pets in the house or the neighborhood.

Great Dane breed

The Great Dane is a regal breed that combines power and size with elegance. Apart from being square proportioned, this dog breed is also very well balanced. All the attributes discussed above are a requirement in any dog that is required to outdo and overpower relatively swifter but formidable targets. The Great Dane’s coat is very short, copious and glossy. This dog breed is highly conspicuous by its majestic carriage and rather striking appearance.

Great Dane breed

Furthermore, the Great Dane is very gentle, easy going, very sensitive and friendly especially when around children. But sometimes its friendly gambits may overpower a small child. In addition, this dog breed is also very friendly towards other dogs or pets. All in all, the Dane is a powerful but also sensitive and responsive to training thus making a pleasant and decorous family companion.

Siberian Husky breed

By combining sped, power and endurance, the Siberian Husky can carry light loads at an excellent speed for extremely long distances. The Siberian Husky breed is moderately compact and just like all the other working dog breeds it is a tad longer than it is tall. Apart from being extremely quick, the Siberian Husky dog breed is also very light on its feet. Furthermore, it also has a rather smooth and effortless stride that exhibits both drive and a good reach.

Siberian huskies working

On one hand, the Siberian Husky dog breed is also very fun-loving, alert and adventurous while, on the other it is also mischievous stubborn and obstinate. Nonetheless, this dog breed loves to run and will always roam when presented with the chance. Like any other dog, the Siberian Husky may be very aggressive towards stray or strange dogs but is friendly to other household pets and dogs.

An all-inclusive assessment of five jobs that you must be aware of

There is a wide array of jobs that are available for the special breeds or types of dogs that are more than willing to work under special circumstances. Some of this work include: Tracking work, search and rescue, bomb sniffing, shepherding work, sheep herding work, seeing eye work and last but not least assistance dog work.

The wide range of jobs available for the working dog breeds presents this special group of dogs with the chance to please their hosts and earn their stripes.  While it might be true that each of this job available for the working breeds may involve a different skill set. Each specific group of dog can quite easily find a task that is going to satisfy their needs, effortlessly.

Search and rescue

Search and rescue are a task that will require a dog with a specific keen sense of smell and a higher physical and mental state. By making use of the human scent, search and rescue dogs are usually trained to locate individuals who may be trapped in rabbles or missing if is a cataclysm type of situations such an earthquake or bombing.

Regardless as to whether the individual is dead or alive, the search and rescue dogs will pick up the scent that human bodies usually emits, follow the trail until it has found the source of the scent. But for effective training, search and rescue dogs are usually taught to seek for human bodies like it is a game, after which they are rewarded with either a treat or praise for their work. After successfully completing a couple of training sessions, search and rescue dogs can master the art of searching effectively, because it has been presented to them in a much simpler term.

Search and rescue dog

During disasters, such as bombings or landslides, the services of search and rescue dogs are usually employed by the police in case there is a missing person or persons. All in all, search and rescue dogs are mostly handled by volunteers who are either part of the police force, or working alongside the police. But like any other work, search and rescue work is not only physically demanding but also mentally exhausting for the search and rescue dog.

Hence, for the dog to perform at its best, it must be healthy, both physically and mentally. The specific dog breeds that are selected for search and rescue missions include the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retrievers, and the German Shepherds.

Tracking

Tracking is a work that is in similar lines with the search and rescue job. However, tracking relies more on the dog’s sense of smell that any other set of skill or sense. Tracking work is very popular with the scent dogs i.e. the bloodhounds, due their exceptional sense of smell. Dog breeds such as the bloodhounds have the ability to take the pick up the scent from a single article like a piece of clothing then track the scent until it finds the source.

Humans are unable to pick up or detect the traces of scents that may be left behind by thieves, criminals or runaway kids; a scent hound can easily detect the scents trails left behind. By following the scent that has been offered to it by the handler, a scent hound will be able to follow a trail of the same exact scent.

Tracking dogs like the ones used in search and rescue dogs are usually handled by trainers or handlers who can give specific instructions to the dogs. Needless to say, tracking work is not suitable for all dog breeds. It is usually the bloodhounds and other scent hounds that usually excel in this line of work. As search and rescue, tracking can also be physically and mentally demanding. Hence, the dog must also be in a very good shape.

Therapy

Unlike tracking, therapy work is not pigeonholed to a specific dog breed. But instead, dogs that are known to thrive on social contacts are the ones that are well suited for this work. Nonetheless, therapy dogs are usually trained by their handlers or trainers to have good bedside manners.

After completing a number of good training classes and sessions that is allocated to them, therapy dogs usually become certified to visit individuals in hospitals and hospices. When taken to individuals who are in stressful environments like the hospital, therapy dogs present such individuals with a way of reaching out and bonding with it.

Companion dogs infogrpahic

In general, therapy dogs usually make rounds in nursing homes and hospitals where they have been taken to visit various individuals upon their request. One outstanding characteristic of all therapy dogs is that they will allow themselves to be loved and petted by complete strangers. They are usually dogs that are not easily frightened or scared by huge pieces of machinery hence they would be very comfortable in hospital rooms.

While most breeds are used as therapy dogs, there are two dog breeds that excel in this line of work; Golden Retrievers and the Labrador retrievers. These two breeds are usually used, for therapy due to their natural sociable nature. They are usually people pleasing breeds and are usually willing to work extra hard for physical contact and affection.

Drug and bomb-sniffing

Drug sniffing and bomb detecting dogs are usually used to detect explosives and illegal substances. Drug and bomb-sniffing work usually requires lots of training on the part of the dog. A competent handler, usually teaches a bomb or drug sniffing dog to respond correctly to some scent cues. While all dogs are great with scents, only a few can be able to excel in this field. A drug and bomb sniffing dog must be very confident and not fearful in any way. In addition, they should have an excellent sense of smell and must work exceedingly well with handlers.

Sniffing dog

The types of dogs in this line of work are mostly found, in a variety of locales including in the K-9 police units and overseas in the war zones. The life of a drug and bomb-sniffing dog can be very hard. Hence, it is highly advisable to allow the dog to have some time away from work and socialize. Because of the stress that is usually placed, on the drug and bomb sniffing dogs, their life span is usually short.

So as to allow such dogs to have a productive life and prevent burn out, they are usually retired early from this line of work. Dogs that are common in this line of work include; German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. These set of dog breeds usually excel in this line of work because of their hard work ethic, intelligence and the need to please.

Seeing eye dogs

Seeing Eye dogs are usually identified at a very young age, hence are picked as puppies then raised in designated homes for the purpose of seeing as well as serving. While still young, Seeing Eye Puppies must be exposed to some forms of stimulus so as to desensitize the dogs from foreign items and situations from the outside world. The importance of exposing such puppies to the various situations and stimulus at a very early age is to assist the dog in building its confidence so that when working they do not run into fear issues.

Training Seeing Eye dogs to detect a huge variety of keys and signals is usually a very demanding job on not only the dog but also the handler. Hence, the dog that has been seen as fit for this line of work must have a strong desire and an inordinate ability to focus.

Dogs that can easily be scared or distracted cannot be work as Seeing Eye dogs. The most common breeds used in this line of work include the Golden Retrievers and the Labrador retrievers.

The significance of working dogs in our lives

While we have only discussed a couple of jobs for the working dogs, there are many others that have not been listed. Like all the dogs discussed above, all the other jobs also require a lot of dedication and work on the part of the dog. For each and every dog that is selected for a specific job, the dog must always be hard-working though it is not a requirement for the dog to fit a certain breed stereotype. The dog chosen must well prepared, both physically or mentally for any of the jobs that it will be allocated.

When searching for a suitable candidate, it is essential to consider the effort and the amount of work that the trainer has channeled into training for that dog to execute its tasks effectively.

All in all, working dogs are not working dogs without a master, they are a couple. Their performance usually relies on the master’s guidance and instructions so as to be able to execute their jobs with fastidiousness. Hence for a working dog to be effective in its line of work, it must not only be well trained but also it must have a cordial working relationship with the master.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.

  • Larisa

    I remember the expedition led by Sergei Solovyov in the 80s. The members of this expedition had covered more than 10,000 kilometers on the polar region by dog sledding. They had Siberian Husky dogs, but not only. There were Chukchi sled dogs also, and even mongrels. But all the dogs had been carefully selected. People all over the Soviet Union followed the expedition on the radio news. Dogs had to work very hardly, and, unfortunately, some of them died.

    • Thank you for sharing this with us, Larisa!

  • judy watson

    Huskies are totally unsuitable for use as a hunting (they can hunt, but don’t bring the prey), guard (instinct of protection of territory is set to a minimum) and security (normally these dogs absolutely not aggressive to humans). The dog is too independent.

  • Huskies are independent because they’ve been trained to be like that. They are very intelligent dogs and are also compatible with humans and children as long as they’ve been trained early.

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