THE WORKING GROUP BREEDS
Based on AKC Description
This dignified and courageous Japanese breed was developed in the 17th century as a powerful hunter with a strong work ethic. Akitas worked in packs and took on big game, such as wild boar, deer, and the fearsome Yezo bear. They were so well regarded in this capacity that only the imperial family and its court were allowed to own them.
One of the oldest sledge breeds of the Arctic, the Alaskan Malamute was created to work in packs to haul heavy loads at low speeds over long distances. The affectionate, loyal, and playful dog was named after the native Inuit tribe Mahlemut, who settled along the shores of the Kotzebue Sound in the northwestern part of Alaska.
ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG
Sheep and goat herders in Anatolia developed this protective and territorial dog as a livestock guardian. Prior to World War II, the United States’ Department of Agriculture imported a breeding pair from Turkey in a top secret “Sheepdog Project,” and thus, its American history began. Anatolian Shepherds are known to intimidate their predators rather than fight them, and are still active ranch dogs today, protecting everything from sheep and goats to ostriches and llamas.
BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG
Don’t let its strikingly beautiful appearance and sweet, affectionate nature fool you. The Bernese Mountain Dog was built for hard work. They were bred to drive cattle, guard farmyards from predators, and were revered for their ability to pull many times their own weight as drafting dogs.
BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIER
The large and immensely powerful Black Russian Terrier (BRT) is known for its courage, confidence, and intelligence. In the 1930s, a team of scientists and breeders worked together in a secret location near Moscow to produce the BRT — a tireless “fence” dog that could help control Russia’s endless borders and hold down prisoners at Stalin’s prison camps.
It is no surprise that Boerboels give the impression of being dominant and intimidating, considering they originally were bred to keep remote African homesteads safe from ferocious wildlife, including lions and baboons. However, since the breed was created primarily to protect its family, they’re actually sensitive and docile with those they love, and these days are known to be successful therapy dogs, with a soft spot for children.
The perfect combination of an affectionate nature, intelligence, and a good work ethic. Originating in Germany in the late 1800s, the modern day Boxer was bred down from dogs that were used to run after, catch, and hold down predators, like bears, bison, and wild boars. These days, Boxers are known to be versatile, holding jobs as cattle dogs, police dogs, guard dogs, and even guide dogs for the blind.
By crossing Bulldogs and Mastiffs, gamekeepers in the mid-to-late 19th century produced a dog that would protect the animals of English aristocracy targeted by poachers. The Bullmastiff was smart enough to work on command; tractable enough to hold, but not maul a poacher; and massive enough to intimidate any intruder, thus earning the nickname the “gamekeeper’s night dog.”
Since the breed name roughly translates to “bodyguard dog,” it makes sense that the Cane Corso was developed to fearlessly charge enemy lines at the height of the Roman Empire’s power. In the fifth century, when the Western Empire dissolved, these dogs took on more civilian roles, such as wild boar hunter, livestock drover, and protector of farms and pastures in the Italian countryside.
Arthur Walden created the Chinook after he traveled from New Hampshire to Alaska during the gold rush in the late 1800s. He wanted to shape an American sled dog that had power, endurance, and speed, along with a friendly and gentle nature. However, after Walden fell on hard times, the breed’s numbers dwindled, and they were on the verge of extinction — recognized in 1965 as the rarest dog breed. Slowly, Chinook enthusiasts brought the breed back from the brink, and it joined the Working Group in 2013.
One of the world’s finest protection dogs is, no doubt, the Doberman Pinscher. With their magnificent physique and keen intelligence, these canines originated in 19th-century Germany and were tailored for police and military work. Dobermans in modern day continue to excel in K-9 duty and as therapy dogs, service dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
The Dogo Argentino is a pack-hunting dog, bred for the pursuit of big-game such as wild boar and puma, and possesses the strength, intelligence and quick responsiveness of a serious athlete. Today, Dogos still hunt wild boar across the United States.
DOGUE DE BORDEAUX
As one of the most ancient French dog breeds, the Dogue de Bordeaux was around before France was even France. Since this breed’s history stretches back so far, it’s essentially impossible to pinpoint its exact origins. But one theory is that the Romans used the ancestors of these dogs as war dogs that went to battle with gladiators against ferocious beasts in the arena. Over time, the breed evolved to become hunters, drafters, and guarders.
Sleek, shiny, and streamlined, GPs are a true dog lover's delight. They're eye-catching and elegant but in all ways honestly doggy's nothing fussy or exaggerated. They'll stand about knee-high to the average adult. Muscles ripple beneath a shimmering coat of red or black-and-blue with red accents. There's nobility in the elongated, wedge-shaped head, and the dark eyes are alert and eager. GPs move with the kind of strong, free-and-easy gait that tells you this is a confident companion and up for anything
The Giant Schnauzer is "a bold and valiant figure of a dog." Great intelligence and loyalty make him a stellar worker and companion. A well-bred GS closely resembles the Standard Schnauzer, only bigger. As their name suggests, GS are imposing. A male might stand as high as 27.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh 95 pounds. The double coat is either solid black or "pepper and salt." Familiar characteristics of the Mini, Standard, and Giant are a harsh beard and eyebrows, accentuating a keen, sagacious expression.
The easygoing Great Dane, the mighty 'Apollo of Dogs,' is a total joy to live without owning a dog of such imposing size, weight, and strength is a commitment not to be entered into lightly. As tall as 32 inches at the shoulder, Danes tower over most other dogs and when standing on their hind legs, they are taller than most people. These powerful giants are the picture of elegance and balance, with the smooth and easy stride of born noblemen. Danes are alert home guardians. Patient with kids, Danes are people pleasers who make friends easily.
The Great Pyrenees is a large, thickly coated, and immensely powerful working dog bred to deter sheep-stealing wolves and other predators on snowy mountaintops. Pyrs today are mellow companions and vigilant guardians of home and family. Frequently described as 'majestic,' Pyrs are big, immensely strong mountain dogs standing as high as 32 inches at the shoulder and often tipping the scales at more than 100 pounds. The lush weatherproof coat is all white, or white with markings of beautiful shades of gray, tan, reddish-brown, or badger.
GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large, immensely strong worker famous for a dense coat of striking black, red, and white markings. Dependable and faithful Swissies earned their feed as herders, drafters, and all-around pasture dogs. Swissies are immensely strong, yet agile enough to move a flock across the sloping foot of a mountain. The coat is a striking tricolor black, red, and white. The head and muzzle typically have a white marking (the 'blaze'), setting off a sweet expression. Several big mountain-dog breeds are described as 'majestic,' but Swissies practically invented the word.
A powerfully large Hungarian flock guardian covered in profuse white cords from head to tail, the Komondor is among the world's most recognizable breeds. The independent and protective Kom requires a firm, experienced hand at training.
A big male can stand more than 27.5 inches and weigh over 100 pounds, with heavy bone, a deep chest, and lots of muscle. Despite their brawn Komondorok are agile and light-footed, and move with long strides. With their unique look, it's impossible to mistake Koms for anything else.
The snow-white Kuvasz is Hungary's majestic guardian of flocks and companion of kings. A working dog of impressive size and strength, the imposing and thickly coatedKuvasz is a beautiful, smart, profoundly loyal, but challenging breed.
Imposing, impressive, majestic, massive, might pick the adjective you like best, they all apply to the Kuvasz. Despite their size and strength, Kuvs are quick-moving, nimble-footed protectors when meeting a threat.
The Leonberger is a lush-coated giant of German origin. They have a gentle nature and serene patience and they relish the companionship of the whole family. The Leo is also known for his aristocratic grace and elegance. Breed hallmarks include a medium-long waterproof coat, lush triangular ears, a bushy tail, and a black facemask that frames kindly dark-brown eyes. A dramatic feature of the male's coat is the lion-like mane around the neck and chest. As watchdogs and all-around workers, they exhibit intelligence and sound judgment. Leos require lots of brushing, ample room for romping, and unlimited love.
The colossal Mastiff belongs to a canine clan as ancient as civilization itself. A massive, heavy-boned dog of courage and prodigious strength, the Mastiff is docile and dignified but also a formidable protector of those they hold dear. Mastiffs are patient, lovable companions and guardians who take best to gentle training. Eternally loyal Mastiffs are protective of family, and a natural wariness of strangers makes early training and socialization essential. Mastiffs are magnificent pets, but acquiring a powerful giant-breed dog is commitment not to be taken lightly.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a huge, powerful guarder whose astounding appearance has intimidated intruders since the days of ancient Rome. Wary with strangers, the profusely wrinkled Mastino is sweet, placid, and steady among loved ones. Their head is described as 'astounding and gives them credit for hitting upon just the right adjective. The profuse hanging wrinkles and folds, and pendulous lips, make a Mastino look like a marzipan Mastiff that's been out in the sun too long. And yet, the breed's inner dignity and nobility can only be described as beautiful.
The massive Newfoundland is a strikingly large, powerful working dog of heavy bone and dignified bearing. The sweet-tempered Newfie is a famously good companion and has earned a reputation as a patient and watchful 'nanny dog' for kids. The Newf head is majestic, the expression soft and soulful. The outer coat is flat and coarse. The Newf's sterling character is expressed in their affinity for kids. Trusting and trainable, Newfs respond well to gentle guidance. These noble giants are among the world's biggest dogs, and acquiring a pet that could outweigh you comes with obvious challenges.
PORTUGUESE WATER DOG
The bright and biddable Portuguese Water Dog was bred to be an all-around fisherman's helper. The robust, medium -sized body is covered by a coat of tight, low-shedding curls. PWDs are eager and athletic companions built for waterwork. It is super-smart and very 'biddable'' meaning he's easy to train and eager to please. The Portie can be groomed in two styles: The retriever clip (the entire coat is clipped to one inch in length, with the tail tip at full length) or the more check-me-out lion clip, where the coat is on the hindquarters and muzzle is clipped down to the skin.
The Rottweiler is a robust working breed of great strength descended from the mastiffs of the Roman legions. A gentle playmate and protector within the family circle, the Rottie observes the outside world with a self-assured aloofness. A well-bred and properly raised Rottie will be calm and confident, courageous but not unduly aggressive. The aloof demeanor these world-class guardians present to outsiders belies the playfulness, and downright silliness, that endear Rotties to their loved ones.
The Saint Bernard, the genial giant of the Swiss Alps is among the world's most famous and beloved breeds. Saints are famously watchful and patient 'nanny dogs' for children. The Saint's written standard abounds with phrases like 'very powerful,' 'extraordinarily muscular,' 'imposing,' and 'massive.' The huge head features a wrinkled brow, a short muzzle, and dark eyes, combining to give Saints the intelligent, friendly expression that was such a welcome sight to stranded Alpine travelers.
The Samoyed is a substantial but graceful dog. Powerful, tireless, with a thick all-white coat impervious to cold'. Sammies are perfectly beautiful but highly functional. Even their most delightful feature, a perpetual smile, has a practical function: The upturned corners of the mouth keep Sammies from drooling, preventing icicles from forming on the face. A Sammy sentenced to solitary confinement in the yard is a miserable, and destructive creature. Sammies need a very firm but loving hand in training.
Siberian Husky, a thickly coated, compact sled dog of medium size and great endurance, was developed to work in packs, pulling light loads at moderate speeds over vast frozen expanses. Sibes are friendly, fastidious, and dignified. The graceful, medium-sized Siberian Husky's almond-shaped eyes can be either brown or blue', and sometimes one of each', and convey a keen but amiable and even mischievous expression. Quick and nimble-footed, Siberians are known for their powerful but seemingly effortless gait.
The bold, bewhiskered Standard Schnauzer is a high-spirited farm dog from Germany. They are the sometimes-willful but ever-reliable medium-sized members of the Schnauzer family of breeds. Standards are sociable companions, alert watchdogs, enthusiastic backyard squirrel chasers, and are good with kids and protective of loved ones. Approached with a firm but gentle hand, Standards train beautifully. Owners must provide outlets for their dog's upbeat athleticism and highly developed senses.