1. Service Dogs
One of the most well-known groups, service dogs help their humans daily, often helping them live more independently. This is especially true for the disabled and elderly. We are familiar with service dogs for the sight- and hearing-impaired, Less known are dogs that assist people with autism, and guide and provide mobility assistance, emotional assistance, and seizure alert. Some dogs even detect nut allergies, preventing potentially life threatening situations..
2. Search and Rescue Dog
With careful training, these incredible dogs detect people in debris, dangerous weather, in the wilds, and even underwater. Their phenomenal sense of smell can find even days old human scent in the ground and air. They then alert their handlers to the location so a rescue can be made. Sometimes they find those victims in practically inaccessible places, often saving lives that would otherwise be lost.
Cadaver detection dogs are trained to detect a decomposing body and alert their handlers. They frequently work with search and rescue dogs during disasters so they find all victims. .
3. Water Rescue
Newfoundlands love water and are very large, strong, and intelligent. Well-trained “Newfies” are great water rescue animals. Because of their size, they are strong enough to swim to a person in trouble, grab them with their mouth, and pull them to safety. These water rescue dogs can even safely rescue an unconscious person from the water. Truly life saving work from Man’s best friend!
4. Police Work
Dogs have been helping police officers for many, many years. They help with drug detection, cadaver detection, search and rescue, pursuing suspects, and searching buildings, protecting the officers. German Shepherds are the most widely used, but other dogs, such as Bloodhounds, Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, and Belgian Malinois, also lend their skills to police operations.
Dogs’ olfactory sense is so acute they can smell bombs, contraband (in airports and prisons), and even bedbugs and a form of mushrooms called truffles. Remarkably, dogs can even be used to detect cancer.
5. Herding Dogs
Many professionals believe herding dogs are the smartest breeds of all. These dogs work with their human counterparts, driving livestock like cattle, sheep, reindeer and even fowls. Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Cattle Dogs, and Australian Shepherds excel at herding. They are smart and savvy, watching their charges carefully to protect and herd them. All the while, they keep an eye on their handlers for instruction. While they are not guard dogs, they will alert in times of danger.
6. Sled Dogs
In the Great White North, hardy sled dogs provide transportation and supply chains to remote towns, delivering supplies, medications, and even groceries. The first expeditions to the North and South Poles utilized dogs and sleds to explore the terrain of the harshest environments on the planet.
Several dog sled races, including the Iditarod, take place in harsh Arctic winters. These races highlight the ability of sled dogs to get through terrain that is otherwise impassible.
7. Watch Dogs and Guard Dogs
Both large and small breeds can warn when trouble approaches, keeping their families safe. Utilizing their hearing and sense of smell, they alert us to danger by barking and other vocalizations. Some Large Guard Dog (LGD) breeds like Turkish Kengals and Great Pyrenees live with and protect livestock, The incredibly athletic Belgian Malinois breed supports the military by working with and defending soldiers. They are even capable of scaling walls when well-trained.
Some dogs go above and beyond in their heroism: Raging Flames Don’t Stop This Intrepid Dog From Saving His Best Friend