What is the definition of 'working dog'? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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What is the definition of 'working dog'?

I have a friend who has a couple of dogs and she competes in french ring with one, and herding sorts of things (not sure on the specifics) with the other. She refers to them as 'working dogs'.

Is that a generally accepted term? Because they aren't really working at all, they are competing. A working sheep herding dog would actually herd sheep, wouldn't it?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 03:09 PM
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"Competing" is a human concept. Wild animals compete for survival, but not for trophies like we ask them to.

To a dog, performing a task is working.

Schutzhund? Working.
Agility? Working.
French ring? Working.
Hiking with loaded side bags? Working.
Search and rescue? Working.
Playing fetch? Working.

To me, a "working dog" is one that came from bloodlines with a long, established history of being suitable for serious physical tasks (schutzhund, search and rescue, etc.), having a solid temperament, and high drive.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 03:21 PM
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A "working" dog to me is one that is actually working in some capacity. SAR, LEO, Herding on a working farm, etc. One that is actually performing work that in beneficial in some way.

IPO, agility, obedience, herding as a sport to me are sport dogs.

Working lines is the genetic breeding that typically produces these dogs that work but they could be any line or no lines.

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