While we love to know that our favorite dogs can have lives of leisure if they wish, there are some dogs that are bred to work. These are the working dog breeds, all of which were bred for specific tasks. Owners of mixed breeds can have a DNA test performed to see if their dogs have a bit of industrialness in their heritage. If you’re a fan of dogs who were bred to be man’s best helpers, you’ll want to take a look at the following breeds.
30+ Working Dog Breeds
Here’s a fairly exhaustive list of working dog breeds for you to consider:
It’s easy to see why so many people think of the Alaskan Malamute as the North American cousin of the Husky. Another big dog that was bred to pull sleds and keep their drivers company, they’re also dogs who require a lot of time outside and a lot of grooming. With that said, these big dogs still have a lot of their working heritage in them.
These Japanese guard dogs are big and imposing, but also incredibly affectionate. They’re great guard dogs even today, but that makes them somewhat harder to train than some species and not quite as easy on other dogs. Still, they’re a great example of a working breed.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
These shepherds are not only still great herders, but they’re one of the oldest breeds in the world. They do require a fair bit of training, but these dogs can end up as incredibly loyal companions.
Bernese Mountain Dog
These giant dogs are born workers, ready to guard animals and homes with ease. Despite their size, these dogs are also lovely family pets who are full of affection. Great with kids and adults alike, they’re also happier in moderate temperatures than they are in the sun.
Black Russian Terrier
Tall, strong, and heavy, these little giants are great family pets. They require more grooming than average, but they’re energetic enough that they’ll always give you a reason to get outside and play.
Boxers are not only a popular breed but also a great breed for new dog owners. Protective guard dogs who don’t have quite as strong of an instinctual distrust of strangers as Akitas, they’re also fantastic dogs for families.
These huge dogs weren’t just bred to guard animals – they were actually bred to chase down criminals. Today’s Mastiff is a gentle giant, though, albeit one that’s going to need a strong harness when you go out on a walk. That said, they’re still a great choice as far as low-energy dog breeds go.
This bodyguard-dog is a protector and a frightener, but also a major snuggler. Tough to train, these intelligent dogs are also fantastic friends to those who give them enough attention.
With less than a thousand of these working dogs in the world, the Chinook is one of the rarest dog breeds out there. Bred to carry heavy loads, these dogs are calm, intelligent, and great with kids.
The Doberman is one of the best-known guard dogs in the world and one of the most popular breeds in America. With a reputation for fierceness that’s honestly quite well-earned, it’s still a dog that’s great with families.
Don’t be fooled by the name – the Argentino is actually a big game hunter that can easily work with a group to take down prey like wild boar. Today’s Dogo Argentino is a frequent guard dog and service dog, with a personality that’s highly suited towards guard work.
Dogue de Bordeaux
Big and jowly, these are natural guard dogs who are pushovers once they’re properly socialized. It should be noted that these dogs do require a lot of work to get to that point, though, and they’re not always a great fit for families.
Yes, this is just a bigger version of the schnauzer. Yes, that means exactly what you think it means – all the same behaviors, just on a much bigger scale. They’re just as smart and just as easy to train, but that means they’re just as energetic.
Possibly the forerunner of all pinschers, this breed was actually bred as a rat killer. It’s a smaller working dog to be sure, but definitely still one of the most intelligent breeds on the market today.
At the other end of the size, the spectrum is the Great Dane. This gigantic guardian dog is considered not only one of the biggest dog breeds, but also one of the sweetest. A fantastic family pet, this breed also makes a great service animal.
The Great Pyrenees
These dogs were bred to protect sheep from predators. Today’s version of the dog is a little lazy, but also quite loving. Despite their size, the Great Pyrenees also makes a great pet for new dog owners.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
If you’ve ever seen one of these dogs, you’ve probably mistaken one for a Bernese. These big dogs are arguably even tougher than their cousins, but they are also herding dogs who have lost a fair bit of their inborn instincts. Active and affable, these are fantastic family pets.
The Komondor was another sheepdog, bred to look like and live among the sheep they protected. Big and in need of constant grooming, they’re also dogs that require a great deal of space to feel comfortable.
These hunting dogs were once the sole property of nobles. Today’s Kuvasz is known to be highly independent and very stubborn, which makes these exotic-looking dogs a better fit for those who have already experienced dog trainers.
These giants are as elegant as they are big, with plenty of personalities to go along with their size. Bred originally as watchdogs, they’re fantastic family dogs for those who are willing to put in the necessary work to properly socialize them.
Formerly the English Mastiff, these dogs require an incredible amount of training for most owners to deal with their massive size. With that said, these dogs are also big sweethearts who are incredibly protective of those who they know.
These are big guard dogs who aren’t necessarily all that friendly to strangers but can be fantastic pets once they’re properly socialized. Sharing an ancestor with the various other mastiff breeds, Boerboels are dogs who require a lot of work but who can eventually become beloved pets.
This is one mastiff that you can immediately identify by its huge size and its unique wrinkles. While they’re definitely scary-looking dogs from far away, they’re actually some of the friendlier mastiffs out there. Though they’re huge and definitely need some training because of their size, these mastiffs also stand out because they are so naturally sweet-tempered.
These mastiffs might be the best guard dogs in the world. With size, heft, and a menacing growl, they’re still amazing at scaring off intruders. With that said, these dogs are also notoriously very difficult to train and still feel like they’re better off working on their own. These not dogs who necessarily take to families, but they’re highly intelligent and can work well with those who leave them to their own devices.
While Newfoundlands are another giant breed, they’re perhaps even better known for how fantastic they are with children than they are for their great size. Huge, furry, and friendly, these are dogs that feel like they’re meant to live with families and anyone else who has a lot of love to give. The biggest challenge with this breed isn’t a behavior, but rather size.
Portuguese Water Dogs
Another big and easy breed, these are lovely dogs who are easy to train and even easier to live with. Those size is always going to be a challenge, these are perfect dogs for those who have plenty of room and access to a lot of water. The ideal boat pet, they’re also dogs who need constant haircuts and plenty of playtimes to be their best.
Rottweilers are a popular working breed who, in many ways, exemplify the best and worst parts of this class of dog. When particularly well-trained, these dogs are calm, friendly, and affectionate. They are not, however, necessarily always easy to train and they have a lot of energy to work out during the day. Excellent guard dogs, need a firm hand to reach their potential.
The Samoyed is cold weather dogs who have a longer lineage than you might imagine. Definite pack dogs, they love being around humans and other dogs, so they require more attention than some of the more independent breeds – just one of the reasons they top out the list of today’s most expensive dog breeds. Smarter than most, they also have a reputation for getting into trouble when they’re not being doted upon.
Big, easily distracted, and full of energy, Siberian Huskies were initially bred as both sled dogs and companion animals. Hailing from Siberia, this is a breed that’s great at pulling heavy loads and not so good at keeping watch. Though families are more likely to see these dogs playing with toys than doing real work, they’re nonetheless a working breed.
As you might expect, the regular schnauzer is just as much of a working dog as its giant cousin. Though they are friendly dogs, all that fluffy hair actually hides a fantastic guardian dog who is great at watching kids and looking at potential predators. They require more training than you might expect, but they’re worth it for those who are looking for a great dog.
Saint Bernard might be the dog that first comes to mind when people think about working breeds. These mountain dogs were bred for search and rescue, with all of the strength, endurance, and size necessary for helping stranded hikers lost in the mountains. This big breed also requires a fair bit of specialized training just because of the size factor, but those who are willing to put in the time and work will be rewarded with an intensely loyal pet who loves every member of the family.