What does a "working" dog mean to you? - Page 2

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What does a "working" dog mean to you?

This is a discussion on What does a "working" dog mean to you? within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; Originally Posted by crock Working bred: bloodlines majority made up of workers doing their original job Working dog: a dog with a job of its ...

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Old 08-03-2014, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by crock View Post
Working bred: bloodlines majority made up of workers doing their original job
Working dog: a dog with a job of its original purpose (eta: or modified purpose for a job in society, ie service, therapy police, sar, rescue, etc)

I don't know if I'd put sport dogs in "working dogs," but they certainly work and have jobs so...? I definitely consider them "sport dogs" (and not in a belittling way as less than "working"). "Sporting bred"--majority bloodline, recently at least, bred for sport. I guess by sport I mean things like agility, flyball, disc dog, etc. I don't know if I'd put rally/obedience/etc into sport, working, or ???

In upland, I consider a "trial dog" a dog that competes a lot in hunt tests or trials, even if he's used for actual hunting during the season.
This pretty much sums it up for me as well.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:40 PM
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A true working dog for me it means that they could not do their job as well without the dog. They did not set up a hobby job for the dog nor are they necessarily dog people(although can be). Police,military,actual herding,service dogs,hunting dogs,Live stock guardians and some old time jobs like functional sledding/drafting and all that.

Now there is some thin lines like is a protection dog a working dog? even if it never had to face a real intruder in it's lifetime? Is a hunting dog that is mostly used for trials and a little bit of trophy hunting a real working dog? Also most dogs in Shutzhund or ringsport would be sporting dogs instead,same with sheep trial dogs that never spent any time on a real farm. It doesn't matter if they could do the job,it more matters that they never did nor have their parents. Sporting dogs are also bred for function but their for something that the person does for fun and hobby not something they need to do.

I also will not call any dog you can profit off of a working dog,otherwise any puppy mill brood bitch could be called one.

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Old 08-03-2014, 09:55 PM
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Working Bred/Lines: Dogs whose heritage is made up of dogs of a certain type/breed that regularly, actively and successfully perform the set of necessary (not recreational) duties they are intended for.
Working Dog: A dog of any heritage/breed/size/etcetera that performs a necessary (not recreational) duty as established by human design (Ex. Herding, Livestock Guardian, Hunting/Tracking, Cart/Sled Pulling, Guide Dogs, etc).

I believe Sporting Dogs are dogs with "Jobs" and as such are a step apart from the average household pup, but I don't believe I would put them in the category of being "Working Dogs".

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Old 11-25-2014, 02:35 AM
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I guess work is when optimum performance is paramount. The results if they go bad can have more dire consequences. Hunting dog failing at finding game, family has less meat to eat that week. Protection dog fails then family is hurt or worse. Herding dog fails then sheep are lost to predators. Police dog fails then handler gets assaulted. A SAR dog fails and lost children are never located. In other words success with a working dog has nothing to do with fancy ribbons and trophies. And when things go bad they have dire results.
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:25 AM
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I agree with much of what has been said. To me a working dog is one that is actively performing a necessary task to assist its humans. An actual necessary task- someone has herding dogs or livestock guardian dogs to assist with managing their livestock, a service dog, SAR dog, etc. The list could continue, but I'm not going to exhaust all of the possibilities. NOT a dog who may perform many of the same activities in a recreational sense. For example, I'd consider a farmer actively using their border collie to manage their livestock as a working dog but not a dog that does the same activities for the benefit of its owner having fun. Someone who uses a hound for tracking missing persons vs someone who works their dog every day for the purpose of excelling in the tracking competition next weekend. That's not me trying to put down people or dogs who participate in such sports for fun or stimulation of the dog- I do it myself and have respect for the activities, but I don't think they are truly working dogs.

I think that Xander's idea of "optimum performance being paramount" is important to consider IMO. I have rat terriers. These guys are absolutely wonderful ratters, but these specific dogs were bred for conformation. By some definitions you could technically qualify them as working dogs. Several times a week they go out to the family farm and spend a large portion of the day hunting small creatures such as rats. They're good at it, and the older dogs appear to teach the younger dogs. It does the farm a good service as the number of pesky rodents is lower. But, it's a hobby farm. No one is relying on the income from the animals, and some feed lost to pests won't doom anyone. No one's well being is at stake with whether or not these dogs do their jobs successfully. As such, I don't consider my dogs working dogs.

The funny thing about that is that the most successful ratter we had was this tiny, extraordinarily poorly conformed, way undersized, BYB example of a rattie who more closely resembled a TFT. That dog had the highest prey drive I've ever seen in a canine. That girl took her job seriously and would have been the perfect working ratter in a barn...

Same thing seems to apply to most sporting breeds. While a large number of people use their dogs for true hunting and consume the prey retrieved it isn't as though the family will go hungry if the dog isn't successful. Perhaps in some cases, but I know almost no one that truly relies on the dog coming back with supper that night. They may do their job and do it pretty darn well, but not a working dog IMO.
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:49 PM
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Any dog that routinely does a needed service.

Could be farm dogs, sar dogs, aid dogs, ect.
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Old 11-26-2014, 01:24 AM
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Yes I kinda neglected service dogs ie guide dogs, assistance dogs, PTSD recovery dogs so forth. No doubt making the lives of people in need is work. I have a lot of respect for those type of working dogs too.

DuckDodgers I would not discount your rat terriers to be considered working dogs. If the hobby farm's chickens were being ravaged by rats constantly then yes your terriers are valid working dogs. Substandard performance jeopardizes one of your food sources. If not so vital they kill as many rats each day I still say they have a purpose in life. Helping keep rat population somewhat in check
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Old 11-26-2014, 01:39 PM
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Let me just throw a definition in to muddy up the waters. What if we took Xander's definition of a working dog as a dog who, if failure of their job occurs, could cause dire circumstances.

In my case, I have two agility dogs. These are, by most definitions here, sporting dogs. However I am a professional agility instructor. If my dogs do not do well in the ring, my business loses money. (And truly, this is the case). So, would these dogs be classified as working dogs? They are demo dogs in class, they are demo dogs in seminars and they are expected to perform well at agility trials because they are "the instructor's dogs." Failure at any of these jobs mean dire results in the loss of cash for me.

Do I consider them working dogs? Actually, I consider them business partners, but not really working dogs. The exception, of course, is my agility dog who is also my service dog. He is a working dog because of his other responsibilities.

I don't think a line can be drawn in the sand with a firm definition of working/sporting/companion dogs. Which when you think about it is really cool. Our dogs may cross over into different functions even if only briefly in their lives. This versatility makes them even that much more important to us.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:03 AM
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In the end I guess we all have to have our own definition of what a working dog is. I would never tell someone their let's say movie set dog is not a working dog. If that's
their belief then God bless them.
Yes agilityk9trainer I would consider your income generating agility dogs working dogs. Something is at stake, Income. It's not like it does not matter if they do well or not in competition. It does in fact matter. I may have my own more practical view of what a working dog is but no need to cause pandemonium lol
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