Some pups spend their days hanging out in the house, protecting your domain from enemy mail carriers and taunting cats. And that’s totally cool. But for some canines, working like a dog is more than symbolic. These highly trained animals serve their human handlers with the faithfulness and dedication only a pooch can provide.
Military Working DogsArcheologists believe that dogs have been used in warfare almost since their initial domestication. They have served honorably in roles as diverse as pack animal, stretcher bearer, messenger, sentry, and bomb detector. Each canine service member can save hundreds of human lives by detecting improvised explosive devices and other hazards.
German Shepherds, Retrievers, Belgian Malinois, and other tough, active breeds make great service members. A Belgian Malinois named Cairo assisted in the mission to capture and kill Osama bin Laden—just one of many examples of dogs’ vital role in military history.
While it has been historically challenging for handlers to adopt their military working dogs, a recent law guarantees these heroes a retirement on U.S. soil.
Police DogsK-9 crime fighters have been keeping the peace around the world for more than a hundred years. (English officers used Bloodhounds in the search for Jack the Ripper.) These dogs are invaluable members of their units, and you can bet that your local K-9 Unit works tirelessly to keep your streets safe.
Modern police dogs perform a range of duties, from assisting with patrols to sniffing out narcotics and explosives. German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois swell the police ranks, but Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are also sometimes employed.
Search and Rescue DogsSearch and rescue dogs help save victims by following their sensational noses. Whether in urban settings or in the wilderness, their keen sniffers give these canines a real edge over their human counterparts. A dog can detect a missing skier buried in an avalanche, a drowning victim, or a child lost in the woods. Dogs are employed in many of the 58,000 yearly cases of missing and exploited children.
Popular search and rescue breeds include Bloodhounds, Retrievers, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.
Farm DogsEveryone earns their keep down on the farm, including the canines. Working farm dogs fall in two basic categories: herd dogs and livestock guardian dogs. The herders marshal the chaos of milling livestock into orderly movement. The guardians stand watch against predators.
Dogs specifically bred for this work, such as Australian Shepherds and Border Collies, are also popular as pets, and many will never work actively. But before you bring one of these energetic animals into your home, make sure you’ll be able to meet its needs for mental stimulation and physical activity. If they’ve got no professional outlet, these pups will be forced to herd you in lieu of livestock!
Service DogsService dogs assist people with disabilities ranging from the physical to the emotional. These incredible animals can perform an astounding number of support roles. From serving as eyes for the blind and retrieving items for the wheelchair bound to calming veterans with PTSD, these dogs combine intuition and faithfulness in one awesome package.
Depending on the needs of the animal’s handler, a wide array of breeds may prove suitable for this work.