If you didn’t know, dogs were bred and developed over time to perform specific tasks. All dogs will have some common behaviour traits, but they will have certain traits and attributes that make them better at some jobs than others. This should be taken into account when choosing a dog.
Most dogs are kept as pets but their unique traits are still noticeable. Like when a Border Collie herds children or when a Jack Russell chases down a rabbit whole.
Dogs bred to help hunters
Gundogs were bred to help hunters shooting game in the field. These dogs are real people pleasers, very obedient and love retrieving. Gundogs make excellent pets, however, they are smart energetic dogs that require a lot of exercise so owners need to be able to give them what they need.
Popular gundog breeds – Labradors, Cocker Spaniels, German shorthaired pointers
Dogs bred to kill vermin
These small feisty dogs were bred to catch and kill. They have a natural and predatory instinct towards smaller animals. Owners need to ensure that terriers are well socialised early on in their life. Terriers make great family pets because of their small size.
Popular terrier breeds – Jack Russell, Border Terrier,
Dogs bred to help shepherds
Shepherd dogs (sheep dogs) have high energy levels, a super instinct to chase and have extremely strong bonds with their owners. Shepherd dogs can be placed into two categories. Herding dogs, which were used to help shepherds herd livestock including sheep, cattle and poultry. Flock guardians were bred to live with sheep and intrusted with the responsibility of protection from predators.
Popular pastoral breeds – Border Collie, German Shepherd and Australian Shepherds
Dogs bred to hunt
Don’t confuse these with gundogs. These dogs were useful for finding and killing prey. Unlike working gundogs, these dogs are less willing to please their owners and their desire to hunt is strong. As a result, causing potential problems on walks. Hunting dogs fall into two categories. Dogs that hunt with scent and dogs that hunt with their sight.
Popular hunting dogs – Beagle, Foxhound, Lurcher
Dogs bred to be companions
Dogs bred to keep us company. In the early days, some breeds were developed to accompany royalty. And kept the bottom of the bed warm. These smaller dogs are sweet natured and gentle which make them good family pets. Although few companion dogs are specifically developed for the purpose of companionship. Most were bred to perform other roles, but suited well to companionship.
Popular companion dogs – Chihuahua, Cavalier King Charles
Dogs bred for other work
Lots of breeds today were bred for numerous purposes, such as guarding, fighting, protection and even pulling sleds. The temperament of these breeds varies and are suited to the work they undertake. Dalmatians were bred to run alongside horse carriages, and were adopted by early fire departments.
Popular utility dog breeds – Dalmation, Dobermann, Boxer