Are you looking to adopt a dog to help you with certain tasks? Well, you're looking to adopt in the category of working dog breeds.

Have you heard of the phrase “work like a dog”?

If not, it is referring to someone that is working extremely hard and that they're willing to go the extra mile to finish their tasks.

And throughout history, dogs have been there to perform different kinds of jobs for homes, farms, and even for protection.

Working dogs are robust, intelligent, and headstrong and in this day in age, there are still plenty of dog breeds that still put in the work.

For instance, there are working cocker spaniels that were bred as gundogs. Also, there are the best and bravest police dog breeds.

In this blog, we've compiled the 10 best working dogs and their field of work.

If you're planning to adopt one, you better scroll down!

Sled Dog Racing

What are Working Dogs?

First, let's tackle what are working dogs. How do they differ from other types of breeds?

Registered breeds from the Americal Kennel Club are assigned to seven different groups, and these are:

  • Herding
  • Hound
  • Toy
  • Non-Sporting
  • Sporting
  • Terrier
  • Working

There are a lot of differences between these breeds. For example, herding dogs have special qualities that help them prosper in their field.

Working dogs were bred to excel at a specific job. They have excellent skills and temperaments that are perfect for their chores.

These are the types of dogs that are ideal for pulling sleds, protecting livestock, identifying invasive species, sniffing out contraband (police dogs), and rescuing.

Moreover, there are large working dog breeds and small working dog breeds.

Nevertheless, they have common characteristics. Working dogs are active, confident, focused, very loyal, and intelligent.

To better understand how this breed group stands out, we have specified the distinct traits of these hardworking dog breeds!

Characteristics of Working Dog Breeds

Of course, there are a lot of dog breeds in the working group category.

However, most of these dogs have a few common characteristics that make them great working dogs.


Working dogs are intelligent and can do their jobs correctly. These dogs are easier to train compared to other dog breeds.

However, intelligence comes with a price. Intelligent dogs require mental stimulation to stay happy.

They live to work. If you're looking to adopt a working dog and just make him sleep around all day, then your dog is just going to be upset.

As pet owners, we must make sure that their energy is drained through fun training, proper exercise, and playtime.

Medium to Giant in Size

To do these jobs, these dogs often range from medium to giant size.

It's very rare to see a toy-sized dog doing tasks like retrieving or guarding something.

If you're considering adopting a working dog breed, keep in mind that they are not suitable for apartments or small homes for their big sizes.


Even if it wasn't their breed's main purpose, working dog breeds were also bred to be used as guard dogs. That protective instinct still carries on to this day.

If you want your dog to be more protective, the working dog breeds below might be the one for you.

However, remember that socialization is crucial to these types of dogs to ensure they are not too protective.

Overprotective dogs will automatically assume that everyone is there to hurt you, and we don't want that for their safety and others.

10 Best Working Dog Breeds

Even though most of these dogs are now companion animals, these dog breeds were initially bred to work.

Without further ado, here are 10 of the best working dog breeds for you.

Also, keep in mind that this list is in no particular order.

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

Height: 21 – 24 inches
Weight: 45 – 60 lbs
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Siberian Huskies are famous for being sled dogs made for pack life.

However, they are also notorious for being stubborn, making training a bit difficult.

But if they're at their best, they are fast learners.

They are fast, nimble on their feet, and have lots of stamina which is great for pulling sleds across rough terrain even if they are in freezing temperatures.

Alaskan Malamute is among the true American dog breeds

Alaskan Malamute

Height: 23 – 25 inches
Weight: 75 – 85 lbs
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

The Alaskan Malamute has a lot of similarities to Siberian huskies, except that they are slightly bigger-boned and larger in general.

Just like any dog, socialization at a young age is recommended for the Alaskan Malamute so that they can be playful and gentle with other humans and dogs.

If you're planning to adopt one, be prepared to add extra time to your day for exercise and training.

You'll also need to perform grooming, such as regular brushing, as they are just as shedders as huskies.

Labrador Retriever - Best Hunting Dog

Labrador Retriever

Height: 21 – 24 inches
Weight: 55 – 80 lbs
Lifespan: 10 – 14 years

As their name suggests, Labrador Retrievers are excellent, well, retrievers!

They are one of the perfect working dog breeds known to man.

While they are not technically working dogs, they are still some of the most popular dog breeds for search-and-rescue, police work, and service and therapy.

bernese mountain dog running

Bernese Mountain Dog

Height: 23 – 26 inches
Weight: 75 – 120 lbs
Lifespan: 7 – 10 years

Now for my personal favorite, the Bernese Mountain Dog is recommended for first-time dog owners.

They have great temperaments and are very loving companions to be around.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are very affectionate creatures. They are very gentle and easygoing dogs.

These dogs are large and ready to work. They do best in cold weather as they were bred to drive cattle, guard farmyards against predators, and be drafting dogs.

akita dog breed


Height: 24 – 28 inches
Weight: 80 – 110 lbs
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Representing Japan, Akita dogs are also among the best working dogs in the world. Originally, they were bred as guard dogs for a long time.

They have a powerful and intimidating build, which is great for guarding. But they are not only strong; they are also very alert dogs.

However, without proper training, they can be very suspicious of any strangers.

Akitas can also bring trouble to families with other dogs as they don't get along well with other doggies.

Rottweiler Dog


Height: 24 – 27 inches
Weight: 80 – 135 lbs
Lifespan: 9 – 10 years

Next, we have the Rottweiler. These dog breeds are German dogs that serve in the Police and the Military.

They were also bred to pull carts for butchers and protect farms against possible predators.

These dogs are extremely loyal, and they love to protect their person.

However, if not properly trained early, they can develop aggressive behavior.

doberman pinscher dog breed

Doberman Pinscher

Height: 24-28 inches
Weight: 60-100 lbs
Lifespan: 12-18 years

Doberman Pinschers are well known to be guard dogs. Rightfully so as they were bred to protect their owners.

With their intimidating appearance, intelligence, stamina, and speed, they are still one of the popular dog breeds for military and police K9 units.

They are also top-tier companions as they are loyal and affectionate towards their owners.

And due to their protective skills and instincts, they make great service working dogs.



Height: 21-25 inches
Weight: 50-80 lbs
Lifespan: 10-12 years

We have the Boxer dog breed. They were originally bred as manageable large hunting dogs.

Boxers are strong, intelligent, energetic, playful, and athletic dogs, which are great qualities of working dogs and also why they excel in dog shows.

Boxers can be a great addition to your family as long as they are trained and socialized in their early stages.

#10: Red Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

Height: 14-15 inches
Weight: 26-32 lbs
Lifespan: 12-15 years

Just like the Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniels are not strictly working dogs. However, they were originally bred as gundogs.

Cocker Spaniels have the instinct to work. These dogs are loyal and intelligent, and they are eager to please their owners.

Cocker Spaniels can easily adapt to their surroundings—making them great for any type of home.

They are also a gentle, patient, and affectionate breed, which also makes them good therapy dogs.

mixed breed guard dog Bullmastiff mix


Height: 24-27 inches
Weight: 100-130 lbs
Lifespan: 7-9 years

Last on our list is the crossbreed between the English Bulldog and Mastiffs, called the Bullmastiff.

This large and confident dog will do anything to protect his family and territory.

Even though they are very protective animals, the Bullmastiff is also an affectionate dog.

But always keep in mind that these types of dogs require early socialization.

Some Bullmastiffs are okay with just cuddling with you at home. But still, moderate exercise is essential to keep them healthy.

Working Dog Breeds: Frequently Asked Questions

Can you have a dog and work from 9 to 5?

The short answer is yes. However, it takes a lot of work for your puppy to be ready to be left alone.

For instance, you'll need time management for training and exercises.

Reward them with lots of praise, and reward your pup with its favorite treats.

And if you're searching for a dog to adopt, try and look for dogs low maintenance dog breeds that are not prone to separation anxiety.

Are working dogs happy?

Yes, working dogs are happy that they get to serve a purpose.

Their mood and behavior improve significantly when they complete tasks.

Working dogs are very intelligent animals. And that means that they need plenty of mental stimulation for them to be healthy and happy.

Also, a lot of working dogs are people-centered, and they love to please their owner.

Can you touch a working dog?

No. You should not touch a working dog without permission, especially if they are on duty.

I know they are adorable and you'd want to pet them, but touching a working dog is a distraction and can prevent them from caring for their owner.

police k-9s

Working Dog Breeds: Summary

Working dog breeds all over the world have come a long way. Most of them are now retired and just living their lives as companions.

But before they were companion animals, they served a much bigger purpose.

They've worked for countless hours and proved that they are true, man's best friends.

Working dogs such as police dog breeds are intelligent, brave, protective, and alert. But they are also affectionate creatures.

They love to please their owners, and they thrive on being rewarded for their best behaviors.

If you're looking to adopt a working dog, it's best advised to do your research well. Every dog breed is unique and has different lifestyles.

They also need to be regularly trained and given the proper amount of exercise for their overall health.

Since these dogs are smart, mental stimulation is important to keep them happy.

Working dogs love to work. They find joy in serving a purpose.


Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.