Man’s best friend may be the perfect pet, but dogs can also have jobs just like us. Working dogs can be found all over the world in a variety of different occupations, but the right pooch for the job depends on the nature of the work itself. Certain jobs require canine characteristics that are breed-specific, so a dog’s breed is often a key component in the type of work for which a dog is best suited. Here are some examples of different breeds that are used in specific lines of work.
Golden Retriever — The Soothing Companion
Therapy dogs are are trained to provide comfort to people in unfortunate situations and to help lift their mood. They often visit people in hospitals or nursing homes, or those who have just been involved in natural disaster. Golden retrievers are often chosen to work as therapy dogs due to their calm and gentle disposition, as well as their friendly nature. Goldens are also warm and welcoming toward strangers, and they enjoy human contact, which are two must-have characteristics for any therapy dog.
Alaskan Malamute — The Iconic Sled Dog
Malamutes are the iconic dogs of the The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that began in 1973, and now annually in Alaska. It is a highly competitive event, and the trail covers over 1,000 miles and can take up to 15 days to complete. Teams are made up of one musher, and up to 16 sled dogs. Strength, stamina, and a naturally thick fur coat allow Malamutes to push through the intensity of the race’s sub-zero conditions.
Border Collie — The Professional Herder
The Border Collie is the most popular dog at Sheepdog Trials around the world, and was once ranked as the most intelligent breed of dog. In addition to their smarts, these dogs are also extremely energetic and athletic. Because of this combination of skills, Border Collies are perfect for herding, and they can easily round up hundreds of sheep that are several times their size.
Labrador Retriever — The Trustworthy Guide Dog
Labs are thought to be one of (if not the most) popular domestic dog breed in the world. They are intelligent, loyal, and trustworthy, and these traits make them amazing pets. These desirable traits also make Labs ideal for work as guide dogs for the blind or visually impaired. In fact, according to Guide Dogs of America, Labs are used in the majority of guide dog programs throughout the world.
Bloodhound — The One-Dog Search Party
Bloodhounds often work with search parties to aid in finding missing people, whether alive or dead. These dogs can detect as little as one or two human skin cells, and they can also identify and follow scent trails that are up to a week old. To put it in perspective, the human nose has 5 million scent receptor cells, and the bloodhound has 4 BILLION, which means their sense of smell is 800 times stronger than ours.
German Shepherd — The K-9 Crime Fighter
When you think of police dogs, you will probably think of one specific breed — German Shepherd. This is because German Shepherds possess certain characteristics that are perfect for the demanding, and sometimes dangerous, nature of police work. They’re strong, inherently aggressive, and they train easily, so these dogs are the go-to breed for K-9 crime fighting.
Many working dogs are required to pass several initial screenings, depending on the job itself. They have to undergo what we would think of as a background check, which looks at their entire history in detail to make sure they’re healthy and capable of the work. Then, once they meet the initial requirements, they start training, which marks the beginning of their career as a successful working dog.