So…what are working line dogs?
It is important to remember that all dogs were designed and specifically bred at some stage to do a job; Labradors retrieved, Jack Russells kept the rodents in check, Kelpies and Border Collies worked stock, German Shepherds helped herd and protect sheep then progressed to protection type work … however through breeding many of these characteristics have been dulled down quite a bit. They have been now bred to be pets… Or have they?
Working line dogs continue to be selectively bred for the traits that allow them to be very good at working in their specific field that uses these traits. The original traits that they were bred for are still very strong and have been nurtured to ensure they continue to have great work ethic and abilities. They have not been specifically bred as pets per say as they have been bred to work.
I tend to group dogs into two categories: working dogs and pet dogs. This is NOT to say that working line dogs cannot or do not make fabulous pets; they certainly do… As long as their needs are met.
In a nut shell the difference is that, generally speaking, a pet dog is happy fitting in with day to day life. As long as they receive basic training to teach manners, have regular physical and mental exercise, and companionship and time with their family then they are usually quite content. Yes, they may become bored occasionally and show some problem behaviours, however most of these can be addressed relatively easily. In most cases if a pet dog was asked to do the ‘job’ that their breed was originally bred for, they would struggle!
A working line dog on the other hand requires lots more!
So what does this mean? It means that a working line dog needs to work! If a working line dog does not have outlets provided and it’s brain is not used, it will begin to exhibit behavioural problems, which are not only distressing for the owner but also the dog.
What is work?
I like to describe owning a working line dog as a lifestyle. Owners should be prepared to be willing to do the following:
- Enrol in a dog sport ongoing that uses and nurtures the skills of the individual dog.
- Training is ongoing and daily. Owners must be passionate about training! Many owners of working line dogs spend their weekends engaging in dog sports!
- Training and exercise are combined; most owners of working line dogs seek alternate exercise areas and do not encourage off lead play with unfamiliar dogs at the local dog park, as the trade-off for a high work ethic can be a lower sociability towards other dogs. Instead focus and value should and needs to be for the owner rather than other dogs.
- Through training and lifestyle the dog is continually challenged and mentally stimulated.
So before you consider purchasing your next dog please consider your needs and expectations and what you really want from a dog. Although working line dogs can look sleek, powerful and are often very attentive to their owners, they do need a lot of your time to support their ‘work’.
However, if you are still interested in owning a working breed dog, we are more than happy to help you begin your journey and look forward to seeing you soon!