Working Dog Breeds

Working dogs are not your average brawny canines. More than their muscular build, these pups are obedient and dedicated to tasks assigned to them. No wonder they are a joy to have both as pets and four-legged helpers! 

Popular working dog breeds include the courageous German Shepherd, the powerful Siberian Husky, and the determined Boxer, among a few others. They are bred to perform tasks and do their best to excel in them.

Get to know more about these 51 working dog breeds and what they are mainly designed for. And who knows – you might just fall in love with one (or more) of these hardworking pups.

51. German Shepherd

Image from DogTV

Primary Task: Sheep Herding

And lastly – but not the least – we have the mighty German Shepherd. This working dog is courageous, loyal, and confident – great qualities that make it a remarkable sheep herder. They are also agile creatures with a keen eye to ward off enemies in a flash.

Most importantly, GSDs have a sterling desire to put their precious life on the line to defend their loved ones. As family pets, they are affectionate and gentle. But towards intruders, these are definitely canines you wouldn’t want to mess with.

50. Siberian Husky

Image from 1-800-PetMeds

Primary Task: Pulling Light Loads

This densely coated working dog is all muscle, which enables it to pull light loads over an expansive frozen ground. Siberian Huskies are a bit smaller than the Alaskan Malamute, their burly cousins. Yet, they are still just as powerful and brawny.

What’s fascinating about the Siberian is its lack of a doggy odor. This makes it appealing to folks who prefer a pooch that doesn’t smell. Or at least has a very minimal canine scent.

49. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Image from Best Bully Sticks

Primary Task: Sheep and Cattle Herding

Bred for sheep and cattle herding, Cardigans are a true workhorse in the farm. They may stay long and low, but they sure can do their job as herders really well. It’s their body’s natural design that keeps them safe when driving cattle back home.

As pets, Cardigans are humorous fellows. They do well with children, as well as other housepets. Furthermore, these canines are excellent in obedience training and shows.

48. Puli Dog

Image from Instagram:@historiasdeapor

Primary Task: Livestock Herding and Guarding Dog

A medium-sized dog breed, the Puli is a guarding dog in the farm. Their signature long locks with a cord are low-maintenance. But don’t be deceived – they may seem bulky but these fellows are agile and quick to do the job well.

Another thing to note about these dogs is their affectionate nature. They form very close bonds to their families and owners. Hence, they have a strong desire to protect their favorite humans from danger.

47. Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Image from Instagram:@nelly_korolevstvo_gornih_psov

Primary Task: Cattle Herding

Territorial, alert, and protective, Entlebuchers are a true working dog. These canines are exceptional herding dogs. They may not bark a lot but when they do, it is commanding and intimidating to intruders. It is this very nature that makes them a great watchdog aside from a herder.

These fellows do not trust easily. They take their time to get to know their surroundings and the people around them first. But once you win their hearts, they are a joy to have in your home. Definitely a keeper.

46. Catahoula Leopard Dog

Image from Best Bully Sticks

Primary Task: Farming and Hunting 

An all-purpose working dog, the Catahoula Leopard dog is an agile, fast, and alert pooch. They are trained to hunt, work in the farm, guard properties, and as companion dogs. 

Due to their independent nature, it can take some time to train these dogs. It is why Catahoulas are better suited for experienced dog owners who can provide them with firm and consistent training.

45. German Shorthaired Pointer

Image from Best Bully Sticks

Primary Task: Retriever and Hunting

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile canine that can hunt various types of game with so much precision. Be it in the water or on land, you can count on these fellows to retrieve your game fast. 

With their inherent high energy level, GSPs are your ultimate adventure buddy. They do, however, need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep destructive behavior at bay.

44. Belgian Shepherd

Image from Instagram:@rancho_the_dog

Primary Task: Farming, Herding and Guarding

A skilled farm dog, this hard working canine is suitable in the field. They have an impeccable work ethic, and they are at their best whenever there’s a need to be active. With their trainability and above average intelligence, you can easily get them to do what needs to be done.

Belgian Shepherds are an outstanding family dog. They thrive with human affection and companionship and will not hesitate to return the favor.

43. Airedale Terrier

Image from Majestic Pet Products

Primary Task: Hunting and Retrieving

Coined as the “King of Terriers”, the Airedale is a working dog that towers over other terriers. They are excellent in retrieving and hunting game. In fact, their specialty is in locating and retrieving birds and fowl.

Need someone to hunt rats? The Airedale Terrier can pass the job… And in flying colors!

42. Boerboel

Image from Bully Beds

Primary Task: Guarding and Herding

Another intelligent dog breed, the Boerboel has its roots all the way in South Africa. These canines were primarily trained to protect homesteads, as well as herd cattle. With their stocky, powerful body, that’s enough to intimidate intruders!

There are a few canines that possess a strong desire to protect their families – and Boerboels are one of them. A word of caution, however, they are well-suited to experienced dog owners because of their inherent stubbornness.

41. Bearded Collie

Image from K9Cuisine

Primary Task: Cattle Herding

As pets, Bearded Collie are hard working creatures. They were originally designed to work in Scotland’s highlands to herd sheep and cattle. But in the modern-day world, they are adorable pets and companions.

They are a little bit on the independent side, though. So, it is essential to be firm and patient when training these dogs to get them under control.

40. Eurasier

Image from Bissell

Primary Task: Companion Dog and Therapy Dog

A Spitz type pooch that hails in Germany, the Eurasier offers so much love and affection to its owners. They are a great therapy dog, as well as a companion dog. Children and adults should love having these pooches around.

Can’t find a lot of Eurasier? That is not a surprise as this dog breed is actually quite rare. Their population, however, grows in numbers in various parts of North America and Europe.

39. Bouvier des Flandres

Image from Instagram:@murphycampbellbouvier

Primary Task: Cattle Herding and Protecting Farms

The Bouvier des Flanders is one of the oldest working dog breeds. Their history goes back to the Medieval times and these canines were trained to protect farms and guard cattle and livestock. They are strong and robust fellows that makes it possible for them to remain in a good number even at present times.

Nowadays, these pooches do their job in a wide range of fields. They are reliable service dogs, military K9 units, as well as farm canines.

38. Sheltie

Image from Bissell

Primary Task: Guarding and Herding

Shelties are quick and agile working dogs. They are obedient pooches trained to herd cattle, specifically in Scotland’s Shetland Islands, a rugged area in this part of the world. These canines are obedient and loyal to their owners.

However, the same cannot be said for how they treat strangers. They are rather reserved toward folks they don’t know. This triggers their tendency to to bark, which makes them outstanding watchdogs, as well!

37. Chinook

Image from

Primary Task: Sled Pulling

Another dependable working dog, the Chinook is a powerful sled canine. They also perform other tasks such as search and rescue operations, packing, obedience training and carting. And one thing’s for sure – no matter what the given task, they can perform it very well!

Chinooks are muscular pooches. With a deep chest, a well-balanced body, and flexible muscles, they are very well suited as sled dogs. Most importantly, they have high energy levels that can keep them going for hours on end.

36. Old English Sheepdog

Image from DoggieLawn

Primary Task: Herding and Search-and-Rescue

There is something more to this cute and cuddly canine. The Old English Sheepdog is an impeccable herder, which is why farmers rely on this pooch to keep their cattle in line. As a versatile working dog, OES can also do search and rescue, agility and obedience training.

But there’s one caveat – they are clingy fellows. They don’t like being left alone, so it is best to keep them with the company of other dogs or family members to prevent separation anxiety.

35. Hovawart

Image from Instagram:@hoffetoffe

Primary Task: Guarding

Hovawarts are your above average guardians. Whether you have a farm, estate, or house, you can count on this loyal fellow to keep it safe and secure from intruders. In fact, they are ready to defend your properties – and inhabitants – from all aggressors. 

With a keen sense of supervision, Hovawarts are truly reliable canines. They are determined to keep you and your property safe no matter what.

34. English Mastiff

Image from Bully Beds

Primary Task: Guarding

With a long history and experience as guard dogs, English Mastiffs are always dependable for the job. And yes, their massive size does add an extra intimidating factor to these fellows!

As pets, English Mastiffs are quite affectionate. But one thing to note – they need daily exercise. Thus, it is important that there is ample space in your yard for these pooches to roam and play. Otherwise, a cooped up English Mastiff is one unhappy and sometimes destructive dog.

33. Standard Schnauzer

Image from Instagram:@dogfashiongrooming

Primary Task: Herding

Perfect as farm workers, the Standard Schnauzer is a natural herder. They do very well in herding livestock and hunting rats. These dogs are also trustworthy guards and will make sure that you and your property are safe.

With their high energy level, daily exercise is very much necessary to keep them in excellent behavior. Mental and physical challenges go a long way in ensuring the general well-being of your Schnauzer.

32. Kuvasz

Image from Instagram:@annamaria.erneszt

Primary Task: Herding and Guarding

Big and fluffy, there is so much more to the massive Kuvasz than its adorable looks. These gentle giants are great as guards and herders. They are fearless, too, so you can count on them to ward off bears and mountain lions attempting to wreak havoc to your cattle.

In addition to being a genuine workhorse, the Kuvasz is also an amazing pet. They are affectionate and loyal, this is why they have gained popularity as companion dogs.

31. Bloodhound

Image from Instagram:@rufusdabloodhound

Primary Task: Game Tracking

Exceptional for tracking all game – big and small – Bloodhounds have a fascinating sense of smelling. Their nose power is what makes them indispensable not only in hunting or game tracking but also in search and rescue tasks.

Although they are wonderful dogs, they can be a bit of a challenge to train for novice owners. They are a bit stubborn, so it requires some patience and consistency to make sure they respond well to training sessions.

30. Neapolitan Mastiff

Image from Canna Pet

Primary Task: Guarding

Hailing from the southern regions of Italy, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a great working dog. They do well both as a guard dog and an all-around family pooch. 

Neos may be massive but they are actually gentle creatures. These canines are affectionate to their owners and can be wary towards strangers. Not much space in the house? Then this dog may not be for you as these pooches need a big space to roam around to thrive.

29. German Pinscher

Image from Best Bully Sticks

Primary Task: Vermin Hunting

Sleek and elegant, the German Pinscher is one of the oldest German dog breeds. These working dogs are designed as rat catchers, but they don’t shy away from other tasks, as well. 

German Pinschers are adorable dogs to be around with. They are a confident and loyal companion and always ready for adventures. Their easy and relaxed gait tells so much about their laid-back personality.

28. Cane Corso

Image from Bully Beds

Primary Task: Guarding 

Got a job to do on the farm? Or what about something that requires guarding properties? The Cane Corso should be up for these things. These working dogs love doing their job and do well at it all the time.

These canines are powerful and muscular fellows. The best way to minimise boredom among these dogs is by giving them tasks to do. And yes, ample exercise does the trick, as well!

27. Komondor

Image from Instagram:@hungarian.puli

Primary Task: Sheep Guarding

A Hungarian working dog, Komondors have been around for over 500 years. But even with time, they still maintain their signature looks – white cords that make up their heavy and rather coat. It is this very same appearance that makes them well-suited for protecting and guarding sheep.

They may be muscular but they are not tall dogs. In fact, they are more on the long side. Overall, these canines are protective creatures not just to cattle but always ready to safeguard their family, too.

26. Leonberger

Image from Instagram:@mvonholten

Primary Task: Carting and Herding

Leonbergers are family pets that also double as a working dog. They love doing what they do best – carting, water rescue, herding, and agility training – among a few others. But what keeps them the happiest is when they are a part of family activities.

These pooches are large creatures, yet they move with elegance and gentleness. And they love to please their humans. This is why they are a delight for novice owners because of how easy it is to get along with this breed.

25. Anatolian Shepherd

Image from Bully Beds

Primary Task: Guarding

Only a few canines can match up to the Anatolian Shepherd’s dedication as a guard. In fact, this pooch traces back its history as a cattle guardian since ancient times in Turkey. They are always on their feet to protect livestock from aggressors.

You should never underestimate the strong will and determination of this powerful canine. No matter what threats may come their way, they are always ready to respond fearlessly.

24. Black Russian Terrier

Image from Instagram:@newforesthaven

Primary Task: Protecting Properties

Another notable protector or working dog is the Black Russian Terrier. This pooch may be a new kid on the block but this does not diminish their ability to do what they do best – to protect their family and properties.

Blackies are courageous dogs. They do not hesitate to get as close to the heart of action. With their families, they are highly devoted and affectionate. Yet, with strangers, they can be quite aloof.

23. Tibetan Mastiff

Image from Instagram:@taliathetibetanmastiff

Primary Task: Livestock Guarding

Tibetan Mastiffs are remarkable herders and guardians of cattle. They are vigilant and fearless, so you can count on them to ward off intruders all the time. Moreover, they are watchful and alert whenever they detect any threat. Thus, this enables them to protect anything entrusted to their care.

These dogs are one of the purest and oldest breeds. They may seem rugged but overall, they are elegant and good-looking – a truly powerful guardian dog you can trust.

22. Malinois Dog

Image from ChomChom Roller

Primary Task: Police and Military Work

The Malinois dog has been around for a while and known to be great herders. This was the task they were designed to do but slowly evolved into doing other jobs such as police and military work, as well as protecting properties.

They are athletic and active creatures. It is why it is important to be firm and consistent when it comes to training these dogs. With daily physical activity, you can most certainly keep this pooch in line and encourage favorable habits.

21. Australian Cattle Dog

Image from Darwin’s Pet

Primary Task: Cattle Herding

A working dog breed that’s been around since the 1800s, the Australian Cattle dog is a herder. No matter how harsh the environmental conditions may be, they are always ready to guard and protect cattle. 

Aussie Cattle dogs are devoted pooches. But because of their intense protective instincts, they tend to be a bit on the aggressive side. Hence, they may be somewhat dominant with other pets and children.

20. Dogue de Bordeaux

Image from Best Bully Sticks

Primary Task: Guarding

This massive working dog is quite intimidating. Standing at 27 inches tall and weighing an average of 110 pounds, Dogues are excellent guards.

They have a stocky body that hangs low to the ground. Yet, there’s something smooth about their movement and can defeat their foes when duty calls for it.

19. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Image from Best Bully Sticks

Primary Task: Cattle Herding

The name is indeed suitable for this working dog breed. The Greater Swiss Mountain dog is a massive, brawny canine with a dense coat in three colors. As for their speciality, it’s to protect and guard cattle.

Swissies are reliable and powerful fellows. They can move their flock without any problem, despite their massive build. And as a nice touch, they are very affectionate dogs who demand attention and cuddles after a day of hard work!

18. Portuguese Water Dog

Image from Instagram:@adventurous_littlelady

Primary Task: Retrieving Game

Historically, Portuguese Water dogs were known to retrieve fish and lost gear in the water. Well, that explains the name, doesn’t it? But now, they are great as companion dogs and work hard to keep their family safe.

If you decide to own this pooch, be sure to give him ample time in the water. After all, the water is their element… In addition to romping around in the yard.

17. Samoyed Dog

Image from

Primary Task: Sled Hauling

Samoyeds are muscular fellows with pull power to haul sleds in the arctic regions. They also perform other jobs such as tracking and pack hiking, to name a few. Feeling cold in the frigid weather? These furry canines can warm you up by sleeping on top of you!

They may be strong-willed and a tad stubborn. But their prevailing character is their friendliness. This is why they also make amazing family dogs who are always to be your friend and companion.

16. Giant Schnauzer

Image from Instagram:@adonisthegiant

Primary Task: Cattle herding 

A fabulous working dog, the Giant Schnauzer is an intelligent and highly motivated canine. They do a wonderful job with anything that requires guarding, herding, and even protecting properties. 

A word of caution – Giant Schnauzers are energetic creatures. With this in mind, they need plenty of exercise to prevent destructive behaviors. They are well-suited in the countryside or as long as you have a large space for them to romp around.

15. St. Bernard

Image from Pawstruck

Primary Task: Search-and-Rescue 

Trained to find and rescue injured travelers in the mountains and wilderness, St. Bernards are always hard at work to do their job well. In fact, these working dogs were historically guardians at the Hospice in Switzerland.

But in modern times, St. Bernards are content being with their owners. They are also enigmatic fellows that love to shower everyone with kisses. Need a watchdog? St. Bernards are a bit too friendly for that…

14. Newfoundland dog

Image from Wolf Spring

Primary Task: Guarding

Newfoundlands are towering canines with a powerful, robust body. They may be sweet-tempered, yet they are always on their paws to take care of anyone entrusted to their care. In particular, Newfies are watchful, caring, and patient towards children.

Despite their massive build, Newfies are actually gentle and sweet. They are also trainable, making them suitable for both experienced and novice owners.

13. Bullmastiff

Image from Bully Beds

Primary Task: Tracking Poachers

Courageous and vigilant, Bullmastiffs are powerful working dogs. They were historically bred to track poachers, and some of them still do the job in this modern times. But they also do well as a family pet and guardian.

What’s impressive about Bullmastiffs is how mellow they are. They don’t bark a lot, so they should be fine living in an apartment. Well, assuming they have a decent space to play and exercise.

12. Border Collie

Image from Canine Sciences

Primary Task: Cattle Herding

Border Collies have been bred to gather and herd sheep in the hills and pastures. Thanks to their intense stare, they can see to it that their flock is under control. Coupled with a keen eye with stamina and energy, these dogs are excellent herding dogs.

Nowadays, you can find Border Collies in homes. There are still many of them that herd cattle in ranches and farms. Yet, anywhere they may be, you can be sure that these fellows do their job with the best of their abilities.

11. Great Pyrenees

Image from House Carers

Primary Task: Guarding

These majestic canines are strong and agile enough to protect livestock from predators and aggressors. Thanks to their thick and abundant coats, they can head over to ice-capped mountains to chase after their foes.

But there’s a mellow side to Pyrs, too. In fact, they are calm canines that are very much content being around their family. These steadfast protectors are laid-back, yet they can spring up to defend their loved ones if the need arises.

10. Golden Retriever

Image from House Carers

Primary Task: Retrieving Game

As the name implies, this working dog is exactly what it is – a retriever with a golden coat. Golden retrievers are great at many things in addition to retrieving game. They can also do obedience training, search and rescue, as well as serve as therapy dogs.

These muscular dogs with lustrous golden coats are quite a pleasure to gaze at. They are intelligent fellows and move with a smooth gait that gives them an impression of being merry all the time.

9. Alaskan Malamute

Image from Wolfgang

Primary Task: Sled Hauling

This all-muscle working dog is a reliable arctic sled hauling canine machine. Alaskan Malamutes have a deep chest, strong bones and muscles, and thick coats that keep them nice and warm in a subzero region.

Mals are also pack animals. So, it is best to train them early to prevent dominant behaviors. With firm training, you should be able to develop positive traits in this adorable four-legged cutie!

8. Labrador Retriever

Image from Wolfgang

Primary Task: Retrieving Fish

One of the world’s most beloved pooches, the Labrador Retriever is a lover of the water. In fact, they won’t hesitate to retrieve fish that jumped off the trawl. Even in the icy waters, they can do the job, thanks to their weather-resistant thick coats.

Labs are gentle and pleasant canines. They are easy to please as they love to please their owners. This is why novice owners shouldn’t have a tough time training these working dogs.

7. Dobermann

Image from 1-800-PetMeds

Primary Task: Protecting Properties

Just one look at a Dobermann’s muscular build and intimidating intent stare, and it should leave intruders scurrying about. This working dog does its job perfectly well – to protect properties at all cost. They are vigilant and fearless, and they don’t turn their back from threats.

One more thing – Dobermans are fast, too! They can easily chase away intruders, so it is best to never fool around with this fierce canine guardian.

6. Bernese Mountain Dog

Image from Best Bully Sticks

Primary Task: Cattle Herding

Beautiful and sweet, these are apt words to describe the Bernese Mountain dog. They may be placid creatures, yet they do a fantastic job at herding cattle and livestock. After all, their powerful body is what enables them to perform duties to their fullest potential.

Berners are amazing with families and their friends. They are affectionate fellows who love to cuddle up and give you many kisses to show their love.

5. Rottweiler

Image from Best Bully Sticks

Primary Task: Cart Pulling

Rottweilers were historically herders of cattle. But with their strong build and power, they also do great at pulling carts for the butchers. Nowadays, they serve in the police enforcement and military fields.

Looking to own a Rottweiler? They may be stubborn, so be sure to practice a firm and consistent training. Next thing you know, you’ll help them to shape up really well!

4. Great Dane

Image from Bully Beds

Primary Task: Guarding

With a towering height of 32 inches, Danes are definitely taller than most dogs. Their massive, yet lean build makes them a vision of a true guard dog – sleek, agile, and fast. Their strides are easy and precise, and they can chase after an intruder effortlessly with those long legs.

With their families, however, Danes are the sweetest pups. They are friendly and gentle to folks they know and are familiar with. But to strangers, they are wary and reserved.

3. Boxer

Image from CBD Dog Health

Primary Task: Guarding

Bred as guard dogs, Boxers are your hardworking dogs. They have a muscular body and a square jaw – quite intimidating to most people. But underneath all that muscle is an adorable fellow with a great deal of sweetness.

These canines do well with consistent and firm training. Since they are easy to train, there is no need for any harshness in your way of treating them. However, they will be more well-suited to an experienced owner.

2. Beauceron

Image from Darwin’s Pet

Primary Task: Cattle Herding

Quite an imposing stature, the Beauceron is a working dog breed that’s ultra spirited and versatile. They are a fantastic protector, companion, and most of all, herd for cattle. 

It’s not all brawn to this pooch, though. They are brainy and easy to train. This is why first-time dog owners should not have any issue with this dashing, majestic canine.

1. Weimaraner

Image from

Primary Task: Game Hunting

A natural gundog, the Weimaraner is highly capable of handling big games such as bear, deer, and the like. They are elegant and alert pooches who find their habitat on hunting grounds. But they also make amazing pets for families.

With their inherent hunting tendencies, expect Weimaraners to be full of energy and with a great drive to catch their prey. Thus, early training is essential to ensuring a well-behaved four-legged pal.

Related Questions

Do Dogs Like To Work? Dogs tasked to do certain jobs do like to work and perform well on tasks assigned to them. This is particularly true to working dogs such as German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and Boxers, among a few others.

How Long Do Working Dogs Live? Working dogs live between 10 and 13 years, although larger breeds usually have a shorter lifespan than smaller ones. Their longevity, however, largely depends on any genetic diseases, diet, and lifestyle.

Do Working Dogs Make Good Pets? Absolutely! Working dogs make good pets because they are inherently obedient, loyal, and dedicated to their jobs. Moreover, they are affectionate and caring to their families, which are wonderful traits you would want in a pet.

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Pete Decker