AKC Breed Group: Working Dogs

The American Kennel Club categorizes their 190 breeds into 8 different groups. As part of our ongoing breed series (Getting to Know Your…), we wanted to take a global look at these classifications and which characteristics separate the dogs into these different groups.

The AKC breed groups are:

  • Herding Group
  • Sporting Group
  • Toy Group
  • Working Group
  • Hound Group
  • Non-Working Group
  • Terrier Group
  • Miscellaneous Group

Our first look will be at Working Dogs.

The Working Group is comprised of 30 different breeds from the Akita, Boxer and Rottweiler to the Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees and St. Bernard.

The dogs in this group are large, strong, intelligent dogs, bred to perform a task. That task may be pulling a cart, herding cattle or defending the home and hearth. They are farm dogs, guard dogs, sled dogs, draft animals or rescue dogs, although at the end of the day, they are also family pets.

These dogs are smart and head strong but accustomed to following a strong leader. Given their strong personalities, they are not necessarily suitable for a first-time dog owner. Their size alone makes them a challenge to handle, they need a firm hand, plenty of training and discipline or they can become unruly and even dangerous.

They also need a job. That’s what they were born and bred to do. Heavy work and exercise is ingrained in their DNA, so as family pets, they are not usually content lounging on the sofa. To maintain their temperament and good nature, it’s imperative that their owners not only train them, but if you don’t live on a farm, or work your dog as a rescue dog or other appropriate work, you need to give them something meaningful to do besides wander their backyard.

Luckily, the pet industry has responded to the reality that dogs are happier and more content when they are fulfilled (just like humans) and there is a booming industry in providing the specific types of physical challenges that different breeds enjoy. Dock diving for water dogs, ratting for terriers and shepherding and carting for these working dogs.

The internet gets a bad rap for many things, but for finding these types of opportunities in your area, it’s great. Your vet may be unaware of them, but you can find them on the Google machine. Just search for “working dog classes”, or “dog sheep herding training” or “dog carting” and you’ll stumble into a wealth of information regarding wonderful “career opportunities” for your working dog.

Good Luck!

Complete list of Working Dog Group:

  1. Akita
  2. Alaskan Malamute
  3. Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  4. Bernese Mountain Dog
  5. Black Russian Terrier
  6. Boerboel
  7. Boxer
  8. Bullmastiff
  9. Cane Corso
  10. Chinook
  11. Doberman Pinscher
  12. Dogue de Bordeaux
  13. German Pinscher
  14. Giant Schnauzer
  15. Great Dane
  16. Great Pyrenees
  17. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  18. Komondor
  19. Kuvasz
  20. Mastiff
  21. Neapolitan Mastiff
  22. Newfoundland
  23. Portuguese Water Dog
  24. Rottweiler
  25. Saint Bernard
  26. Samoyed
  27. Siberian Husky
  28. Standard Schnauzer
  29. Tibetan Mastiff
  30. Saint Bernard







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