This Looks Like a Job for a Canine: 5 Careers for Working Dogs

Dogs are a man’s best friend, but did you also know that dogs are excellent workers? Sure, you’ve probably heard of dogs herding sheep or cattle or doing other jobs, but there’s a whole world of jobs for working dogs that many people don’t even realize.

Want to learn more about jobs for dogs? Read on for more about how dogs make our lives better every day.

  1. Truffle Sniffing

If you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy truffles, you know how unique and delicious (and expensive!) they are. This is because they are hard to grow and even harder to find. They are like mushrooms in that they are edible fungi, but unlike mushrooms, they grow underground.

This is where dogs come in. Historically, pigs were used to hunt for truffles in European countries, but the pigs also liked to eat the truffles. Dogs, on the other hand, don’t have an interest in truffles. The Lagotto Romagnolo is one of the most well-known truffle-hunting dogs, but Englisher Springer Spaniels and Beagles are also good hunters.

  1. Electronics Detection

Dogs have been used for sniffing out things like bombs (check out to learn more about the best breeds for dog sniffing) and drugs for decades. However, dogs can now be used to sniff out electronics, such as cell phones, thumb drives, computers, and even electronics chargers. These dogs can be especially useful in child pornography cases, as they can find hidden electronics, such as SD cards, that are tiny and often missed by humans.

  1. Detecting Whale Scat

Yes, you read that correctly. Dogs can be used to detect whale scat out at sea. The University of Washington uses Labrador Retrievers to track Orca whales, which are near extinction.

The dogs on the team can detect whale scat up to one mile away. When the dogs locate the feces, scientists can collect it to study whale movement, diet, health, and overall wellbeing. These dogs can also help locate moose, wolves, caribou, bats, and iguanas in the area to help scientists study and preserve them as well.

  1. Runway Wildlife Control

This is especially important in rural areas or areas where animals have been displaced. Dogs can be used to keep wildlife off of runways, such as ducks, geese, owls, foxes, and other wildlife that are often attracted to airports.

Piper the Border Collie was one of the less than 10 dogs who do this job in the US and perhaps the most famous.

  1. Protecting Art 

Dogs protecting art aren’t protecting them from humans wanting to steal the art. Rather, they are protecting art from bugs.

Bugs can damage artwork, wood, books, and other delicate objects that may be in a museum, and humans can’t smell bugs—but dogs can! Riley the pest-sniffing canine works at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and even has his own book.

Working Dogs Help in Ways We Never Imagined

Not only do working dogs keep us safe, but they also allow us to enjoy good food, good art, and plane rides! There are so many different jobs for dogs beyond the traditional ones that we think of.

If you found this information fun and useful, be sure to check out some of our other articles before you go.

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About the Author: Mary Gates