Bred specially for performing certain tasks, working dog breeds are known for their greater intelligence. Each breed may have specific attributes that make them good for the function they are meant to perform. But they share highly desirable traits such as loyalty, intelligence, alertness and stable temperament. Because of this, many people prefer to adopt these breeds even when they do not need them for any particular task. They make great companions especially for those who love the outdoors.
The working dogs that you can usually find in animal shelters and rescue groups fall into the following categories:
These breeds were bred for sporting activities, especially hunting. They are known as gun dogs too. They are famous for their speed and ability to work together with other dogs as well as their owners. They are as comfortable in water as they are on land. They make very good companions for a person interested in outdoor sporting activities. These dogs may be gregarious while on the job, but they are very gentle with children and have a protective nature. Their loyalty and friendly nature make them ideal family pets. Retrievers and Spaniels are sporting dogs. Setters and Pointers also belong to this category. They are at their happiest when they have tasks to do and love to play games with people.
These working dogs, as the name suggests, were bred to manage other animals like sheep. They are also called pastoral dogs as they spend most of their time out in the fields herding cattle, goats, deer or poultry. Besides their high intelligence, it is the way they follow orders that endear them to people and make ideal pets. Since they hate to be idle, these working dogs should be given plenty of activities and exercise to stay happy and healthy. Terriers, Coolie, Corgi, Sheepdog and Shepherds were originally herding dogs. Even when they are not trained for herding work, their natural instincts make them protective of the people in the household.
They are a type of sporting dog breed used for tracking the prey during a hunt. It is their extraordinary sense of smell and sight that help them in tracking. They do not take part in the actual activity of hunting down the prey or killing it. Sight dogs and scent dogs are two main categories of hounds.
These are fast runners with a specialized sense of sight. Their eyes are so sharp that they can keep a moving target in sight while running after it. They have slim aerodynamic body with long, strong legs. Large hearts and well-developed lungs are common characteristics of these breeds, an adaptation that helps in their pursuit of the target over long distances. Greyhound, Whippet and Saluki are notable sight dog breeds.
They can sniff out a prey from miles away. Their noses are understandably long and pointy, and they remain moist to be more scent-sensitive. They have large moist lips too, to aid in catching a scent. They are not as fast as sight dogs in pursuing the prey since they do not have to keep their prey in sight.
There were originally working dogs but their tasks are no longer in practice. So they have become all-purpose dogs now, but their ancestry provides them all the great traits of working dogs. They are preferred for their good looks and make excellent show dogs. They are popular as family dogs too. Poodles and Dalmatians come under this diverse category.