Dog Breeds Original Jobs & What They Were Meant To Do

While not every dog has the temperament, patience, gentleness, and intelligence to be a therapy dog, every dog needs a job. More dogs are surrendered to shelters due to behavioral difficulties, and many times these behavioral issues are preventable with the correct training, owner expectations, and giving the dog a purpose beyond eating and sleeping. Hundreds of years ago, dogs were bred to fulfill certain duties. They are genetically coded to perform these tasks. If not “working”, dogs can become depressed, destructive, and anxious.

Let us talk about what some types of dogs were originally bred for and what jobs they are suited for.

Dog Breeds Original Jobs

German Shepherds: Originally bred to herd sheep, they are known as “one-man” dogs due to their fidelity and loyalty. The German Shepherd is the perfect breed for a job around the house. They are naturally hardworking and you will be amazed at their intelligence and their need to have a job to do. German Shepherds are so trainable and do so many jobs already, ranging from their service in the military, police, tracking, search and rescue, and they are even used to sniff out cancers!

Terriers: Originally bred to rid barns and stables of vermin, to dig out unwanted burrowing rodents, and to make themselves generally useful around the stable. Terriers were used in the “poor man’s recreation” of rat killing, especially in England where most of these breeds originated. The upper classes used terriers in foxhunting.

Larger Terrier dog breeds have been used in duck hunting and big-game hunting, herding, guarding, and fighting. They have a strong prey drive, and it is best to work with those natural tendencies to roam and hunt when giving them work to do.

Underemployed terriers are exceptional at digging out of their yards, barking, becoming anxious and aggressive and generally causing mayhem until the attention and activity they seek are received.

Coonhounds: The coonhound was originally bred as a hunting dog, known for its ability to track raccoons, bears, mountain lions, and other animals. Today, scent hounds are used as drug detection dogs, in search and rescue operations, and in tracking and hunting for pleasure.

Border Collies: Border Collies were originally bred to herd sheep. They excel at the task because of their strength, stamina, intelligence, and work ethic. Best suited to active families or someone invested in training and enjoying the sport, they are athletic dogs who thrive when playing frisbee, doing agility work, herding, and running. Without work, they become anxious, restless, and destructive, chewing holes in walls, scraping, digging, and herding people, not animals.

Golden Retrievers: Because of their exceptional temperament, adaptability, and trainability, they are often used as service dogs, acting as the eyes or ears for their charges, and are equally suited for animal assisted therapy work. They can be seen in the halls of VA hospitals and in schools, where they participate in reading and other educational programs. They are great dock divers and excel competing in the obedience trials. Without work, expect a Golden to dig, bark and create a job by retrieving socks, stuffed animals, and unsuspecting backyard critters.

I am hoping you can sort out your dog’s genetically coded tendencies and work with, not against them, to have a happy, employed pup who is an asset to your family!

Published On: December 21st, 2022Categories: Dog knowledge