The members of the Working Group are a noble union sharing together a common bond – service to man. The members of the Working Group have different occupations, different conformations, different temperaments, and vastly different origins. It is perhaps the most interesting force of canines in the kennel groupings. Protection dogs, estate and flock guardians, hauling dogs, cart pullers, farmer and fisherman’s assistants, and rescue dogs are the kinds of occupations in which the members of the group are or have been engaged.
The mastiff breeds are the largest and heaviest breeds, dogs that are used for property and personal protection purposes. Breeds among the mastiffs are the Mastiff or English Mastiff, Bull Mastiff, Doberman Pinscher, and Rottweiler, to list just a few of the weapons in the arsenal. The flock guards are from similar beginnings and are used for protecting flocks and herds from predators. Breeds that have been used for this purpose are the Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz, Komondor, and Maremma Sheepdog.
The Nordic dogs used for hauling purposes include the Alaskan Malamute, Eskimo Dog, and Siberian Husky. More varied occupations busy other dogs. The Portuguese Water Dog and Newfoundland were used to assist fishermen by protecting their gear or getting in the water to untangle nets or lines, retrieve fish, and rescue anyone falling into the water. The Saint Bernard is the classic rescue dog. The Bernese and Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are cart pullers from Switzerland.
Naturally, dogs with different tasks develop different temperaments. The patience and docility of the Swiss pullers cannot be likened to the requisite ferocity and territoriality of the mastiff estate protectors. Likewise, such a temperament would hardly befit a fisherman’s companion. The flock guard breeds and mastiffs, which are popular as pets today, have mellowed substantially in temperament. The Great Pyrenees we know today as a companion animal is but a shadow, temperamentally, of its relatives that wrestle with wolves in the meadows of France.
In England the Working Group also includes the herding breeds. In the United States these dogs are exhibited in the Herding Group.
The Working Group (AKC)
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog
Black Russian Terrier
Dogue de Bordeaux
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Portuguese Water Dog