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AKC – Working Group

There are currently 192 registered breeds in the American Kennel Club (AKC). Those 192 breeds are classified into one of seven groups: Working, Sporting, Terrier, Non-Sporting, Toy, Hound and Herding. The next couple of blogs are going to consist of discussing the different breeds that are seen in the AKC. This can help assist you when deciding on what specific breed you and your lifestyle can handle for you next four-legged friend. Even if you decide on getting a mix breed, it is helpful to know the origins of what those breeds were meant to do. This is very important to know since not all breeds are good for everyone, especially first time dog owners, or someone who works 10 hours or more and wants a very active dog.

 

We are going to start with my favorite group, the Working Group. Breeds in this group are your “blue-collar, middle-class” workers.  This group was bred to perform specific tasks to assist humans with a wide variety of jobs. These breeds were developed to herd, guard property, pull carts, catch vermin, hunting and water rescue! If you are like me, then one of the reason you love this group so much is that breeds in this group tend to be your extra large breeds. Out of the 30 breeds that make up this group only five breeds typically weigh between 35-55 pounds.The rest, on average, are closer to 100 pounds or more. Even though it is important for all dogs to be socialized and receive proper training, it is crucial that these large breeds receive a lot of positive socialization and training. Breeds in this group are very loving and naturally protective towards their owners but because of their size and strength, if they are not properly socialized and trained, they can accidentally hurt someone.  Some of these working breeds, like the Doberman, are so loyal towards one person that they are extremely hard to adjust to a new home; so it is imperative to make sure you are committed to their life long needs.

 

The Working Group has a large list of intelligent, quick to learn breeds.  This also mean they can be difficult to work with if you are a first time pet owner. As someone that has previously worked in animal shelters, I have fostered many different breeds (from Mini Schnauzers, Jack Russell Terriers, Shelties to Labs and a Great Dane); none of them has ever been as trying and difficult to train as my girl, Kaylee (a Great Pyrenees/ Bernese Mountain dog mix). Due to Kaylee’s Pyrenees intelligence – which can be seen as stubbornness sometimes, housebreaking took over 6 months.  6 years later, she can still be difficult at times when I want her to do, or not do, something. But she can figure out those food puzzles in a matter of minutes. The Pyrenees is definitely not a first time dog owner dog breed!

 

In addition, first time dog owners might not fully comprehend the amount of food these large breeds have to consume and the amount of money it takes to pay for that food. Even vet care cost is increased due to their size. A vaccine will be the same price whether it is a Chihuahua or a Mastiff but everything else (surgeries, preventatives, medications) are going to be at least doubled for a Mastiff.

 

Since many of these breeds were developed for guarding, hunting, herding and catching vermin, they tend to be very alert and watchful. Kaylee is the un-elected neighborhood watchman – not only does she know any little change within her own home, she is aware of any changes in any of my neighbors’ yards – even three doors down!

 

Some of the Working Group was bred to do jobs that required them to have great physical stamina like the Husky or Malamute. These breeds require an owner to provide them with plenty of exercise. Even the breeds in the Working Group that aren’t as energetic as the Husky require plenty of room to exercise due to their larger bodies.

 

For a quick reference guide on the breeds that make up the Working Group and to see their weight, life expectancy and what they were bred to do, see the chart below.

Breed Weight (lbs) Height (inches) Life Expectancy (years) Bred for
Akita
Male: 100 – 130 26 – 28
10 – 13
Powerful hunter with strong work ethic. Took on boar, deer & Yezo Bear.
Female: 70 – 100 24 – 26
Alaskan Malamute
Male: 79 – 95 25
10 – 14
Hauling freight over long distances
Female: 71 – 84 23
Anatolian Shepherd
Male: 110 – 150 29
11 – 13
Protective & territorial livestock guardian
Female: 80 – 120 27
Bernese Mountain Dog
Male: 80 – 115 25 – 27
7 – 10
Drive cattle, guard farmyards from predators and draft dogs
Female: 70 – 95 23 – 26
Black Russian Terrier
Male: 100 – 150 27 – 30
10 – 12
Military working dog, prison guard in Russia
Female: 80 – 130 26 – 29
Boerboel
Male: 140 – 200 24 – 27
9 – 11
Guarding and farm dog in South Africa
Female: 110 – 140 22 -25
Boxer
Male: 60 – 71 23 – 25
10 – 12
Hunter, guard
Female: 55 – 64 21.5 – 23
Bullmastiff
Male: 110 – 130 25 – 27
7 – 9
Protect against poachers for English aristocracy
Female: 100 – 120 24 – 26
Cane Corso
Male: 99 – 110 25 -27
9 – 12
Roughly translate to “bodyguard dog” wild boar hunter, livestock drover & protect land
Female: 88 – 99 23 – 26
Chinook
Male: 55 – 90 24 – 26
12 -15
American sled dog with power, endurance & speed
Female: 50 – 65 22 – 24
Doberman Pinscher
Male: 75 – 100 26 – 28
10 – 12
Guarding
Female: 60 – 90 24 – 26
Dogue de Bordeaux
Male: 120 – 140 23 – 27
5 – 8
Guarding, pulling carts/hauling
Female: 120 – 140 23 – 26
German Pinscher
Male: 30 – 45 17 – 20
12 – 14
Ratter
Female: 30 – 45 17 – 20
Giant Schnauzer
Male: 60 – 85 25.5 – 27.5
12 – 15
Drove cattle & guard farms
Female: 55 – 75 23.5 – 25.5
Great Dane
Male: 140 – 175 30 – 32
7 – 10
Hunter, guarding
Female: 110 – 140 28 – 30
Great Pyrenees
Male: 100 + 27 – 32
10 – 12
Protect herd flocks of sheep
Female: 85 + 25 – 29
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Male: 115 – 140 25 – 28
8 – 11
Herder, drafter & all-around pasture dog
Female: 85 – 110 23 – 27
Komondor
Male: 100 + min. 27.5
10 – 12
Guarding sheep
Female: 80 + min. 25.5
Kuvasz
Male: 100 – 115 28 – 30
10 – 12
Livestock guardian
Female: 70 – 90 26 – 28
Leonberger
Male: 110 – 170 28 – 31
7
First as a companion and then a drafter
Female: 90 – 140 25.5 – 29.5
Mastiff
Male: 160 – 230 30 +
6 – 10
Battle wild beast & gladitors in Ancient Rome Arenas then became big game hunter, estate guardian & war dog
Female: 120 – 170 27.5 +
Neapolitan Mastiff
Male: 150 26 – 31
7 – 9
War dog and guardian
Female: 110 24 – 29
Newfoundland
Male: 130 – 150 28
9 – 10
Water rescue, haul fishing nets & cart fishes to market. Great swimmer.
Female: 100 – 120 26
Portuguese Water Dog
Male: 42 – 60 20 – 23
11 – 13
Herd fish into nets, retrieve lost tackle, messenger between ship to shore
Female: 35 – 50 17 – 21
Rottweiler
Male: 95 – 135 24 – 27
9 – 10
herder & protect flocks
Female: 80 – 100 22 – 25
Saint Bernard
Male: 140 – 180 28 – 30
8 – 10
locate & rescue travelers in the Alps & guard, herd & draft
Female: 120 – 140 26 – 28
Samoyed
Male: 45 – 65 21 – 23.5
12 – 14
Herding & hauling
Female: 35 – 50 19 – 21
Siberian Husky
Male: 45 – 60 21 – 23.5
12 – 14
Sled dog
Female: 35 – 50 20 – 22
Standard Schnauzer
Male: 35 – 50 18.5 – 19.5
13 – 16
Ratting, herding, guarding & hunting on farms
Female: 30 – 45 17.5 – 18.5
Tibetan Mastiff
Male: 90 – 150 min. 26
10 – 12
Guard dog supreme
Female: 70 – 120 min. 24

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