Dogs for Special Jobs

In addition to serving as watchdogs, some breeds can do other jobs around the homestead. These breeds are unusually good at multitasking.
Barbara Pleasant
May/June 2007
Add to My MSN

photos by G.K. and Vikki Hart/Photodisc
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Dexter Calf Would Make Saint Paddy Proud

Russ-Stick Acres welcomes newest resident.

A Shepherd Guards Her Flock

Always be prepared.

You Can't Trust A Potato

After a perfect potato-growing season, Shannon's first harvest still manages to challenge her.

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

After a blogging hiaitus, Shannon checks in with her plans for controlling grass and weeds in this y...

In addition to serving as watchdogs, some breeds can do other jobs around the homestead. These breeds are unusually good at multitasking:

Livestock guardian dogs bond with sheep, goats or other livestock and protect them from coyotes and other predators. Some sheep producers in Colorado prefer the Akbash; other talented breeds include Great Pyrenees, komondors, Anatolian shepherds and Maremmas. To be most effective, these dogs should live outdoors with their charges, rather than indoors as family pets.

Herding dogs do an amazing job working with livestock. The border collie is the top dog in this category, because it uses sharp eyes and agility, rather than nipping, to move herds. Australian shepherds, collies, Australian cattle dogs, Welsh corgis and several other breeds also can make fine herders. Herding dogs love their work and often will try to herd people if they are underemployed.

Terriers are outstanding at controlling vermin and can range in size from large Airedales to smaller Boston terriers. For centuries, terriers such as the West Highland and cairn terriers were bred to hunt and kill mice, rats and other small animals. For some terrier breeds, such as the schipperke, being a watchdog is part of the job. Good “rat dogs” tend to dig a lot of holes, because their passion for their work is nothing short of obsessive. They also make fine pets.

Assistance dogs, also called service dogs, can help people with disabilities. German shepherds, once the most popular guide dogs for the blind, now rank just behind Labradors and golden retrievers as assistance dogs. In Britain and Australia, labradoodles (lab-poodle mixes) are increasingly popular as assistance dogs.

Hunting dogs come in a few different varieties. Sporting breeds, such as pointers, setters, vizslas and spaniels, work with human hunters. Hounds hunt on their own, using scent and sight. Some other hunting breeds work best when hunters handle them as a pack. The Weimaraner was bred to be both a hunter and a pet.








Post a comment below.

 








Pay Now & Save 50% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Live The Good Life with Grit!

For more than 125 years, Grit has helped its readers live more prosperously and happily while emphasizing the importance of community and a rural lifestyle tradition. In each bimonthly issue, Grit includes helpful articles, humorous and inspiring articles, captivating photos, gardening and cooking advice, do-it-yourself projects and the practical reader advice you would expect to find in America’s premier rural lifestyle magazine.

Get your guide to living outside the city limits delivered straight to your mailbox. Subscribe to Grit today!  Simply fill in your information below to receive 1 year (6 issues) of Grit for only $19.95!

SPECIAL BONUS OFFER!

At Grit, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to Grit through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of Grit for only $14.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Grit for just $19.95!