10 Interesting Careers for Working Dogs

10 Interesting Careers for Working Dogs

Many of us are familiar with traditional roles that dogs have been bred for, such as herding livestock, hunting game, and retrieving objects. Nowadays, dogs are commonly seen as service dogs, therapy dogs, and members of search-and-rescue teams.

However, there are also some highly specialized jobs that are uniquely suited for dogs due to their exceptional abilities.

Here are 15 unique jobs that showcase the diverse working roles dogs can fill.

Disease Detecting Dogs

In spring 2020, the Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine began training eight Labrador Retrievers to detect COVID-19. This isn't a new concept, as dogs have been trained to sniff out various diseases including cancer and the bacterium Clostridium difficile, commonly found in dog feces.

Truffle-Sniffing Dogs

Truffles, a culinary delicacy, traditionally relied on pigs for their discovery due to their ability to sniff out these underground fungi near certain trees. However, pigs often ate the truffles they found.

This led to the use of the Italian Lagotto Romagnolo dogs, originally bred for hunting and retrieving but now prized for their truffle-hunting skills without the risk of them eating the find.

Reindeer Herding Dogs

In the regions north of the Arctic Circle, the Finnish Lapphund has been used for centuries to herd reindeer, a vital resource for meat and hides in Scandinavian communities. These dogs are known for their robust build and resilience, essential for managing reindeer.

Art Protection Dogs

At the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, a Weimaraner puppy named Riley plays a crucial role in protecting art. Trained to detect the scent of bugs, which pose a threat to artwork and organic materials, Riley helps prevent potential damage, showcasing the breed's excellent sense of smell and high work endurance.

Milk Delivery Dogs

Historically in Europe, dogs were used to pull carts filled with milk from farms to city markets. While this practice largely faded, some areas in France and Belgium still see dogs pulling milk carts, now primarily as a form of exercise rather than utility.

Dog Carting

Carting by dogs, which declined in the 19th century, saw a resurgence during World War I. Dogs like the Bernese Mountain Dog and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog were used to transport small arms to the front lines and evacuate refugees. Today, dog carting has evolved into a competitive sport.

Electronics Detection Dogs

Dogs trained to detect electronics are part of modern police operations. In Connecticut, for example, the State Police use Electronic Storage Detection (ESD) dogs to find hidden digital devices like computers and thumb drives.

Runway Wildlife Control Dogs

K-9 Piper, a Border Collie, had a unique job at an airport in Traverse City, Michigan, ensuring runways were clear of wildlife as mandated by federal regulations. Piper was one of just ten dogs nationwide performing such roles, focusing on keeping the area free from birds and rodents.

Lobster-Hunting Dogs

In Florida, Alex Schulze trained his two Labrador Retrievers, Lila and Maverick, to dive up to 15 feet to catch lobsters. It took two years to train the dogs for these dives, which now contribute to both dinner and sea turtle conservation efforts.

Crisis Response Dogs

John Hunt, co-founder of Crisis Response Canines, and his dogs, including Rottweiler Gunther, support communities by visiting hospitals, funeral homes, and sites of tragedies to offer comfort during difficult times.

Firehouse Dogs

The Fire Department of New York City has popularized Dalmatians as fire dogs, a tradition dating back to the 1870s when these dogs would run alongside fire carriages due to their skills as carriage dogs. Some continue to serve in firehouses today.

Wine Quality Inspectors

Dogs are also invaluable to vintners by detecting TCA, a molecule that can spoil wine by giving it a musty taste and smell. The Natinga Project specifically trains dogs to identify this flaw during wine production.

So the next time you see a dog, don't underestimate them! You'll be surprised about what they can do and learn to do in the future! 



This is just a sampling of informational roundups we offer at Joyride Harness. You can find more tips and tricks and how-to’s for caring for your dog on our blog at this section. Feel free to leave a comment with things you’re looking for!


Source: American Kennel Club (AKC)


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