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How to Identify Working Dog Breeds

As long as humans have had property and goods, they’ve had dogs to protect them and sometimes dogs to pull carts loaded with those possessions. Many of these strong, powerful canines are fairly laid-back, although exercise is still a must — they expect to work.

With a few exceptions, the working group offers little for novice dog owners. These breeds are powerful, intelligent, and prefer making their own decisions unless you have the training skills and leadership ability to convince them otherwise. And one more caveat: This group includes more than a couple of world-class droolers, such as the Newfoundland.

Some dogs in this group rely on their size and untrusting attitude to keep the belongings of their humans safe. Some of dogdom’s gentle giants — the Great Dane and Newfoundland — are in this group, along with versatile smaller breeds developed for other work but who, today, excel in obedience and other dog sports. Size ranges are

  • Small- to medium-sized breeds (20 to 50 pounds): Portuguese Water Dog, Standard Schnauzer.

  • Large breeds (50 to 80 pounds): Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Giant Schnauzer, Samoyed, Siberian Husky.

  • Giant breeds (more than 80 pounds): Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Komondor, Kuvasz, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard, and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

Make sure to socialize a working breed early and often. They retain their protective instincts but learn to temper their uncharitable outlook on “strangers,” who otherwise may include your friends and neighborhood children. Keep up on the obedience training as well so that you remain top dog in the household.

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