Most of the popular working dog breeds have exceptional affinity towards humans. Not surprisingly, they also happen to be medium to giant sized dogs. Some of their ancestors have even been a part of wars. To this day, these dogs retain their innate skills, even if they don’t get to perform their duties anymore.
Who are these dogs? Let’s take a look!
When talking about popular working dog breeds, Boxers top the chart. Originally bred to be a bull-baiting canine, Boxers originated in Germany almost 2 centuries ago. They later became helping partners of slaughterhouse butchers.
The popularity of this breed as a working dog escalated during World War I. At that time they were used as messengers, pack carriers and attack dogs. Some of them were deployed as guard dogs as well. With time, humans started using them for various other purposes. In no time, Boxers became police dogs.
This special breed has smoothly transitioned into companion dogs in today’s times. Some even keep Boxers as family pets.
Also Read: Top Doodle Breeds
Next in line is the Kuvasz. This majestic dog with a striking white coat is native to Hungary. But not many know that the Magyar tribe brought these Dogs of the Horse to the country in 2000 BC. Since then, these fiercely loyal and protective dogs were used to guard livestock.
The breed is innately protective and is capable of taking actions without human intervention. So in the 15th century, Kuvasz became guard dogs to nobility. Hungarian king Mathais Cornivus was so profoundly interested in these dogs, he only allowed a very few nobles to have them as pets.
But the first World War affected the population of several dog breeds including Kuvasz. By the end of World War 2, the number of Kuvasz kept decreasing and even came close to extinction.
Perhaps there’s no better way to describe a Leonberger than as gentle giants. The breed goes all the way back to the town of Leonberg in Germany. Back in the day, these majestic mutts excelled as herding dogs. But over the years, their innate desire to please humans and great strength have made them great therapy as well as search and rescue dogs.
Today Leonbergers might have won the title of being the largest companion dogs to humans, but their heritage as watchdogs lives on.
Back in 2500 BC Mastiffs were trained for war. According to the Mastiff Club of Florida, these massive canines played a pivotal role in British defence. They helped the troops guard the British Empire when Julius Caesar attacked their homeland in 55 B.C.
Impressed by Mastiff’s strength and power, Caesar decided to take them back to Rome. Later, he trained them to fight against gladiators in the Colosseum.
Mastiffs are thought to have arrived in the United States around colonial times. However, the first Mastiff group did not emerge before 1879. The gentle attitude of the Mastiff, along with its large size, has made it a loved buddy all over the globe today.
Also Read: Popular Sporting Dog Breeds
Born of dogs imported to England from Newfoundland in the early 1800s, this breed has been the fisherman’s confidante for years. Fishermen used to carry these large dogs onto their fishing boats on their voyage to the sea. The dogs would deftly rescue anyone who slipped into the Atlantic’s frigid waves and lift grown men to safety. Their thick water-resistant fur proved to be ideal for the job.
They were also trained to carry fishing nets ashore and could pull carts like pack horses. To this day, Newfoundlanders remain extremely fond of swimming.
Portuguese Water Dog
Remember Bo, ex President Barack Obama’s beloved pet? He was a Portuguese water dog. But that’s not the only thing this breed is famous for. Bred to dive for fish, retrieve damaged nets and guard anchored boats, the Portuguese Water Dogs could even relay messages to fishermen.
In due course of time, the breed adjusted to urban living conditions. But, due to their ancestry, these dogs will jump into water anytime they have the opportunity. They have evolved to be a highly active breed that loves to go for a run or a play of fetch.
This energetic canine that is loved by most today hails from Germany. Named after a town called Rottweil, the breed was used by merchants to carry their stockpile. Because Rottweil was a busy trade town frequented by many, Rottweilers gained popularity among farmers.
Later, Rottweilers transitioned into being service dogs. They took pleasure in accomplishing tasks and naturally excelled as police, military, and support dogs.
Unfortunately, Rottweilers are stereotyped for being large and scary dogs. The reality is quite different. They are extremely loyal and devoted creatures – a constant in any popular working dog breeds list.
The last breed on this list is perhaps the most well-loved working dog of all times. During the 18th century, this special breed was used for saving lives. Saint Bernards assisted monks residing in the St. Bernard Pass in their snowstorm rescue missions.
Saint Bernards are credited with saving 2,000 individuals over the period of roughly 200 years. Their enviable sense of direction and cool temperament make them excellent search and rescue dogs.
Saint Bernards have come a long way from the rough terrains of the Alps to loving homes in America. Fact is they remain as brave and inspiring as ever.
Also Read: Top Hiking Dog Breeds
There are many popular working dog breeds which have earned the respect and admiration of mankind over the years. This brief list is an attempt at appreciating our oldest and most loyal companions.