The American Kennel Club (AKC) includes 22 breeds into the category known as the working dog group. As the name implies, dog in this group have assisted and continue to assist people undertake various tasks that humans find difficult and often impossible.
Obviously many working dogs are perfect for protecting property, but they are also great for pulling things like sleds, or being involved with water rescues. It is there sheer strength, agility and intelligence that make them perfect as working dogs; their size is also sometimes important, although not all working dogs are necessarily excessively large.
Working dogs are superb to have as pets if you have plenty for them to do and ensure that they get fully trained from a puppy. If you are thinking about getting a working dog and live in a relatively small place, don’t have a large back yard and intend to leave the dog alone during the day then you should seriously consider changing your mind.
Working dogs are not the right type of dog to leave home alone. They love working for you, so even if you don’t intend to make them work, you need to ensure that you are able to provide them with substantial exercise several times a day. They do not take lightly to laying around sleeping; they are far too intelligent and need to be exercised.
Additionally, while a well trained working dog will be very safe to have around children, they are large, strong and boisterous. They may not mean to do any harm, but because of their size they can cause a lot of damage very quickly.
All dogs like to be part of a pack, but they don’t want to be the pack leader, it’s too stressful. However, because of their instinct, if there is no natural pack leader, which should be yourself or the owner of the dog, then a dog will take up the task of pack leader. A dog that is left to be the pack leader can be a very unpleasant dog; but the situation will be far worse when you have a working dog that becomes a pack leader. The strength, power and size can make the dog a serious threat.
Anyone that takes on the task of owning a working dog will be rewarded by the dog for the rest of its life. However, you must ensure that it is trained intensely at the puppy stage. You will find that despite their size and strength, they will respond to training quickly. A trained dog is a happy and safe dog; it will be obedient and friendly and if used to help with actual work will do this willingly and endlessly.
Some of the breeds in the working group AKC category include the Doberman Pinscher, Boxer, Great Dane and Bullmastiff. Other working dogs in this category that definitely deserve a mention include the Alaskan Malamute, Newfoundland, Siberian Husky and Saint Bernard. This list is not exhaustive; remember there are 22 breeds in this category, so if your favorite breed has not been mentioned then take a look at the AKC website to learn more.
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