Dogs aren't simply defined by their breed. There are various types of working and non-working canines who specialize in a certain function. Whether hunting, herding sheep, barking at intruders or sitting in laps, here are 10 different types of dogs categorized by the functions they were born to perform.
This term generally refers to dogs that hunt with or for humans. The major types of hunting dog categorizations are gun dogs, hounds, feists, terriers and curs. From there they are broken into groups of scent, sight and tracking dogs. Some breeds can fit into more than one of these subcategories depending on the tasks they perform. (Source)
Gun dogs are trained to assist hunters in catching small game, typically fowl. They are sometimes referred to as “bird dogs.” These canines are trained to execute a variety of tasks, from flushing out game from bushes, to retrieving downed birds from water. Different types of gun dogs include setters, pointers, spaniels and retrievers. (Source)
Water dogs are a type of hunting dog that are bred for their ability to swim. These canines are common companions of waterfowl hunters thanks to their skill at retrieving downed game from lakes, streams, etc. However, water dogs have also been used to help fishermen herd fish and pull in their nets. Webbed paws are a characteristic of many water dogs, making them excellent paddlers when swimming. Poodles, retrievers and various breeds that have the term “water dog” in their name are included in this group. (Source)
Bay dogs, also known as "hog dogs," are specially bred hunting dogs that find, chase and corner large prey, like wild boar. Once the prey is trapped or cornered, the dog will bay constantly, signally to a hunter that it’s time to release the “catch dogs,” which are used to physically catch and hold the prey for a hunter. Types of bay dogs include curs and hounds. (Source)
Catch dogs work in tandem with bay dogs. With massive jaws that are capable of holding down large animals, catch dogs are released once a bay dog has cornered prey. Big, burly and muscular, common catch dogs include Pit Bulls and Bulldogs. While on the hunt, catch dogs wear a protective vest and collar to protect their vital organs from prey that poses a danger. (Source)
The task assigned to herding dogs is the corralling of livestock. Using aggressive running, eye contact and barking, herding dogs round up farm animals such as cattle and sheep. Some of the most intelligent dog breeds are attributed to this group. Border Collies, German Shepherds, Sheepdogs and Corgis are examples of herding dogs. (Source)
Bred to withstand the cold and snow, sled dogs have been around for tens of thousands of years. Their original purpose was to transport people and goods across harsh terrains. During World Wars I and II, the canines hauled heavy equipment and assisted in search-and-rescue operations. These days they are more likely to participate in the Iditarod Great Sled Race, a 1,000-mile race in Alaska. Typical sled dogs are Siberian Huskies and Samoyeds. (Source)
Guard dogs are bred to look out for intruders. Some are trained to simply bark if a threat presents itself, while others are large and strong enough to attack or restrain an intruder. These canines have territorial instincts and fierce loyalty to their masters. Popular guard dogs include Dobermans, Rottweilers and Mastiffs. (Source)
Watch dogs fall into the guard dog category, but are smaller and not likely to pin down an intruder. The main purpose of these canines is to bark persistently to scare off intruders and alert their owners that a potential threat has presented itself. Typical watch dogs include Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus. (Source)
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Any dog that is small, calm and easily handled by people makes for an excellent lap dog. These pooches are perfectly happy to chill in one’s lap to snooze the day away. While all dogs needs exercise, lap dogs tend to be on the less energetic end of the canine spectrum. Maltese, Pomeranians and Pekingese are common lap dogs. Also on this list are dogs that can double as watch dogs, including Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus. (Source)
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