Working Dog Breeds: Best Dogs for These Different Roles

Dogs have made their place in our society, as they have a lot more to contribute than they are given credit for. They have been put in roles to perform tasks that humans can't do as well or not at all. Tasks such as guarding and herding farm animals, pulling a sled across frozen tundra, or performing risky search and rescue missions in dangerous areas. 

There are only certain breeds that can perform in these working-class dog roles, due to certain character traits such as intelligence, trainability, and specific heightened senses. Here, you will learn more about which working animal breeds these are and the various roles that they perform in. 

Police and Military Dogs

When you come across a crime scene of any sort, you know something serious must've happened if you see a vehicle labeled “K-9 Unit” on the side. Dogs are often trained to be used by local police forces to perform tasks that humans cannot. More often than not, police use German Shepherds as their crime-fighting partners.

These police dogs will protect their human partners with their lives. They can be trained to track and hold down criminals until the police arrive to detain them. They also have canines who are trained to sniff out certain illegal substances such as drugs and explosives.

German Shepherds play the same role in the military, where they are often used for physical protection as well as for their keen senses of smell. In the military, these dogs are either put on guard duty, used to sniff out and detect threats such as explosives, and even on search and rescue missions. 

Herding and Farm Dogs

There is actually a whole class of dogs labeled as herding breeds. These specific breeds were born to play a role working on a farm with livestock. These breeds generally include various collie dog breeds. These dogs are specially trained to work on farms and help to keep the sheep and cows in the areas that the farmers want them in. They are trained to obey special commands that instruct them on where they need to herd the large groups of livestock to. 

Farm dogs are also used as a means of protection. Aside from helping to round up large groups of sheep or cows, their duties may also include keeping these animals and even crops safe at night from predators. Dog breeds that are generally found on farms are various breeds of collies. The border collie is one of the more well-known breeds of herding dogs around the world. 

Therapy Dogs

There isn’t a specific breed of dog that is destined to be a therapy dog, any dog breed regardless of breed, size, or age can be used as a dog that provides emotional support to those who are in need of such companionship. The real sign of a dog being the right pick for the role of a therapy dog is their temperament. 

Some of the more important qualities that a therapy dog must have include being intelligent and trainable. A calm and friendly demeanor is also a must, as their role will include helping their owner to stay calm at times of high stress. Not to say that goofy, hyper dogs aren’t great dogs. They just aren’t the right fit for this particular role. 

Search and Rescue Dogs

Most search and rescue dogs are breeds that are very agile, have high stamina, and sharp senses. Search and rescue dogs are generally Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, or Leonbergers just to name a few. These brave dogs are used on high priority/high-risk missions to help save a life or locate an individual. These dogs work in all sorts of conditions, such as running through dark forests or digging through piles of snow following an avalanche. 

Service Dogs

Service dogs play a very important role in the lives of many individuals who have disabilities such as blindness or epilepsy, among many others. To be clear, therapy and service dogs are two different job titles. Service dogs play a specific function in the life of their owner. Some work as a seeing-eye dog for a blind person, while some are trained to know when their human is having a seizure and can take action to get help for humans right away. 


Dogs are amazing animals that continue to amaze humans with their intelligence and ability to adapt to situations. There are hundreds of thousands of dogs on the planet that are to be thanked for providing such impressive help to their humans. From helping to keep livestock protected and in check, to saving the lives of people who have been trapped under an unexpected avalanche. 

Therapy and service dogs also play an incredible role in their communities. They are so intelligent; they are able to be trained to help their owners get through even the worst anxiety attacks or keep them safe when they are experiencing a seizure. 

What is a working dog?

A working dog is a set of breeds that are naturally intelligent, hardworking, alert, and strong. They are easily trained to perform important tasks such as being a watchdog of a property, pulling a sled, or herding farm animals from one area to the next. Some popular working breeds include collies and shepherds.

What is the best farm dog?

Of the many breeds that were born to work hard at their humans’ side, some of the more popular ones include border collies, corgis, great pyrenes, and German shepherds. They are all incredibly intelligent breeds who can be trained to perform complex tasks and work as a helping hand around a farm.

What dog breeds are used for service dogs?

There are a few breeds that are most often used as service dogs for individuals who need a constant companion to help them through everyday life, such as a seeing-eye dog. The breeds most often used in this role include Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and German shepherds.

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Written by Leo Roux

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