dog

8 Incredible Dogs Who Work Harder Than Most People

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

Roger Caras once said, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

For most of us, to have a dog is to know unconditional love in its purest form. Treat a dog well, and you will have a wonderful pet and faithful companion for life, one who can say “I love you” just by looking into your eyes.

Of course, for pet owners, it can be easy to forget that dogs are also incredibly hard workers under that affectionate goofball exterior.

In fact, historically, lots of dogs were bred for specific purposes, many of which are still used today.

If your pet pooch owes some or all of her heritage to a working breed, don’t be surprised if hidden stashes of treats are assiduously sniffed out, or if your self-appointed “guard dog” is always on duty.

After all, modern working dogs just love their jobs. They love to relax and snuggle with their people, but nothing makes them feel happier or more useful than an honest day’s work!

Just like humans, our canine companions can find lots of satisfaction in pursuing a career!

Check out the gallery below to see a few of our favorite doggy professions!

1. Sled Teamster

1. Sled Teamster
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

One of the first working dogs in history was the sled dog!

These early examples of domestic dogs looked quite a bit like their cousins in the wolf family, and worked hard helping humans cross the icy terrain of the far north in Russia, Mongolia, and Greenland.

Today, their descendants are huskies and malamutes, some of whom still pull sleds!

2. Temple Guardian

2. Temple Guardian
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

When you look at a the fluffy, friendly Lhasa apso, your first thought is probably not “What a great guard dog!”

But appearances can be deceiving, as these pooches were first raised to guard Buddhist monasteries in Tibet!

They guarded the interiors and partnered up with more intimidating Tibetan mastiffs who guarded the outside.

3. Babysitter

3. Babysitter
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

We all know that pit bulls are sweethearts who don’t deserve their bad reputation, but do you know how sweet they are?

Back in the Victorian times, families left their babies and toddlers under the care of pit bulls or gentle giants like Newfoundlands.

These dogs were known for being incredibly loving, affectionate caretakers to their small charges.

4. Alpine Rescuer

4. Alpine Rescuer
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

If there’s a standard-bearer for working dogs throughout history, it might just be the Saint Bernard.

These Swiss mountain dogs are usually depicted with little barrels around their neck.

That’s because these big, strong pooches were rescue dogs working to free people trapped by avalanches and other mountain disasters.

The barrels contained brandy, to help revive and warm people suffering from hypothermia.

5. Sheep Herder

5. Sheep Herder
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

If your dog is always trying to herd you away from the road when you go on a walk, she may have a bit of a shepherd instinct.

Herding is an ancient job for dogs, dating back to the very first human farmers who kept cattle, sheep, or goats.

Plenty of herding dogs still exist today, from the brainy border collie to the ultra-fluffy English sheepdog.

6. Officer Of The Law

6. Officer Of The Law
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Of course, not all shepherd dogs stuck with agriculture; these days, plenty of them have put their skills toward rounding up criminals instead of sheep.

German shepherds and Belgian Malinois are just two of the breeds that are famous for their work in the military and law enforcement, tracking bad guys, sniffing out bombs, and busting drug rings.

7. Fisherman

7. Fisherman
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

The Newfoundland, or “Newfie” for short, is just one of many dogs that loves nothing more than splashing around at the beach.

That’s because, along with Labradors, poodles, and other water dogs, Newfies were bred to fish!

They used to go out and retrieve the daily catch, using their waterproof coats and webbed feet to pull in the heavy nets.

8. Gourmet Forager

8. Gourmet Forager
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

It’s no secret that dogs have much better noses than their people.

They can smell just about anything, up to and including a key ingredient at many five-star restaurants: truffles.

The Italian pooch lagotto romagnolo is bred from an early age to track down the earthy scent of the coveted truffle fungus, which can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do you have a career-oriented dog in your life? Weigh in below, and don’t forget to SHARE with friends and fellow dog lovers!