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What are working dogs? Dog groups explained

Written by Ella White

Updated

Boxer dog kneeling in grass

Working dogs were bred to help people, so they have a strong sense of purpose and loyalty, especially when it comes to their pack. Though they need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, working dogs can make brilliant family pets as they’re so friendly and dedicated.

What is a working dog?

Working dogs make great companions because they’re loyal, watchful, and devoted. Pulling sleds, guarding farms, and even assisting in life saving missions, they’re intelligent but need a lot of training and dedication. They’re also usually large in size, which makes them feel like real furry friends, but also necessitates lots of space and time outdoors. Huskies, Great Danes, and St Bernards are all known working dog breeds.

What characteristics do working dogs have?

Due to their breeding, most working dog breeds share similar personalities.

  • Alert
  • Intelligent
  • Strong
  • Guards
  • Assistants
  • Protective
  • Friendly
  • Active
  • Loving

Are working dogs good family pets?

Working dogs learn quickly, adapt well to their environments, and are naturally friendly once socialized. So they can be great family pets for children of all ages. However, due to their size and high energy levels, they need a lot of exercise and time outside, so they’re best suited to active families that have the time and patience to train them, and the space to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

What is the best environment for a working dog?

Working dogs need large spaces, and aren’t well suited to small apartments or inner city living. They’re active and highly alert which means they need to be kept busy and often require hours of exercise each day. For this reason, they ideally need a home with a garden or at least a lot of green space nearby.

What dog breeds are counted as working dogs?

Breeds of working dogs recognised by the American Kennel Club include:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • Boerboel
  • Boxer
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cane Corso
  • Chinook
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • German Pinscher
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Komondor
  • Kuvasz
  • Leonberger
  • Mastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Rottweiler
  • Saint Bernard
  • Samoyed
  • Siberian Husky
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Tibetan Mastiff

What to feed a working dog

Got a working dog and want to see them live the healthiest life possible? Air-dried dog food is one of the best ways to feed your dog an entirely natural diet without having to cook them up a fresh portion twice a day. 

With air-dried food you can simply pour all the nutrients your dog needs into their bowl every morning – no mess, no fuss, and no added nasties. Just 100% natural protein that will keep your working dog as happy and healthy as they should be.