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Working Dog Breeds: 

Group of 4 dogs that belong to the Working Dog Breeds Group

To some extend working dog breeds represent all breeds of dogs because all canines have been developed over the years to do a job. 

Some are harder workers than others and those that have been breed to keep our laps warm have a very easy job.  Others, are much more industrious, helping farms, pulling carts, guarding livestock and even rescuing people from icy waters.

According to the AKC, working dogs are those used for

"guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues." 

One may argue that there are plenty of other breeds that are very hard workers:  Consider the livestock herding breeds who work tirelessly all day to keep their herd together or the little earthdogs that rid farmers of vermin that might otherwise cause major problems. 

According to the American Kennel Club, these hard workers have a category all their own (Herding, Terriers)

We have listed the Working Dog Breeds Below.  However, this is an arbitrary group that varies from country to country and kennel club organization to kennel club.

Job Offerings for Working Breeds

If you are a working dog, your prospects for employment are good.  You will need education (training) and on the job experience.  What types of jobs are open to working dog breeds?

As mentioned previously, many of these dogs were used as livestock guardians, cart pullers or rescue dogs.  Many are still employed in these occupations.  But nowadays, people have found new and different jobs for these dogs to perform.

Search and Rescue

Employment statistics look good for any well-trained Search and Rescue Dogs. 

In this occupation, dogs work side by side with their handler to sniff out humans (either dead or alive) normally from disaster sites. 

Prerequisites for the job include a keen sense of smell, robust health and the ability to work under difficult situations. 

Rewards are great for those dogs that find humans alive but can be difficult for those that arrive after death has occurred.

Bomb, Drug, Tobacco Sniffing Dogs

Again, a keen sense of smell is important for these dogs. 

Normally employed by law enforcement, the military, prison system and other private and public organizations, these dogs are trained to find contraband and dangerous substances and alert their handlers. 

This can be a difficult job and dogs are retired early to avoid burn out from stress.

Assistance Type Work

Assistance dogs were first used as seeing eye dogs to help the blind maneuver and lead a normal life. 

Today they are used in a wide variety of situations.  From people with diabetes and seizure disorders, to children with autism, these dogs play a major role in the quality of life of their human.

War Dogs

There have been war dogs since there have been wars.  Historically the biggest, strongest, and those with bravery and tenacity were used. 

In modern times, the military employ dogs in mine detection and other specialized tasks.  Military Working Dog is the formal term but you will also see these dogs referred to as war dogs or K9 Corps.

Characteristics of Working Dog Breeds

While diverse, this group does have some common traits:

  • Intelligent
  • Headstrong
  • Robust and Powerful
  • Independent
  • Normally large breed dogs
  • Need extensive training
  • Some can be dangerous if not trained and socialized
  • May be unsuitable for new dog owners

Best Owner for Working Dog Breeds

These dogs can make great pets for the right type of people, but in the wrong hands, they can be dangerous.  What is the best type of owner for these dogs?

  • Strong owners willing to take time to socialize and train
  • Structured environment
  • Owners willing to attend to their exercise needs
  • Owners will to invest in time for grooming as some have heavy coats that require regular maintenance

Working Dog Breeds:  AKC

These are the working dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club.


Alaskan Malamute

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Anatolian Shepherd DogAnatolian Shepherd Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Black Russian Terrier

Black Russian TerrierBlack Russian Terrier




Cane Corso

Cane CorsoCane Corso



Doberman Pinscher

Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de BordeauxDogue de Bordeaux

German Pinscher

German PinscherGerman Pinscher

Giant Schnauzer

Giant SchnauzerGiant Schnauzer

Great Dane

Great Pyrenees

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain DogGreater Swiss Mountain Dog







Neapolitan Mastiff


Portuguese Water Dog


Saint Bernard


Siberian Husky

Standard Schnauzer

Standard SchnauzerStandard Schnauzer

Tibetan Mastiff

Working Dog Breeds from Other Kennel Clubs

The dog breeds listed and pictured above are part of the American Kennel Club Working Group.  Many more are recognized around the world and are classified in the working group according to their country's kennel club.

The Australian and New Zealand Kennel Clubs group both the working dogs and sheep dogs into one category:  Working Breeds.

In the UK, these sheep dog breeds are listed separately in a group called Pastoral.

In both the US and Canada, the sheep dogs are classified in the Herding group.

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