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Utility Dog Breeds: Everything You Need to Know

3 min read

Utility dog breeds are a somewhat miscellaneous category, created to group together dogs that don't fit into other dog groups. Here is why they don't belong to a particular group and how to discover the personality traits of a utility dog.

Some of the most loved and well-recognised dogs sit in this category, so chances are this is where you'll find your perfect companion.


A utility dog's job description

This is the group that consists of all the breeds that don't fit anywhere else! Usually they are the 'ultra-specialists' that have been developed in a very specific geographical area, situation or to work within a unique profession. As such, there aren't breed characteristics and so owners have to look at their individual jobs to find out what these dogs are going to be like to live with. Utility dog breeds include dogs with jobs as diverse as running alongside fire engines and the carriages of nobility, attracting ducks, an early warning system for barge owners and monks, companions, fighting, and being an emergency Sunday dinner or fur coat!

Utility dog breeds sizes

Utility dogs come from all over the world and so vary in size, from small to large (without the extremes at either end), and have a variety of coat types.

Utility dog breeds personality and behaviour

Research is the key in discovering a utility dog's personality. A good start is finding out what the dog of your choice was originally bred to do. Talk to breeders, owners and ideally spend time with different individuals of the breed to find out if they are the dog for you.

Focus on their exercise needs, their grooming requirements and their personality.

As an example, Dalmatians are bred to run which means they need an owner who feels the same way about exercise. At the other end of the scale, the Bulldog has a physical conformation that makes exercise difficult especially in warm weather.

Poodles do not shed, therefore they need regular trimming. Coat care is essential, whereas the Xoloitzcuintle needs moisturising and sunscreen.

A Chow Chow will consider you quite mad if you try to teach them obedience exercises, whereas a Toy Poodle (who historically excelled in the circus ring) will amaze you with the tricks and behaviours they can learn and enjoy.

Some of these dogs are very aloof while others are extremely affectionate. So, choose wisely!

Next, why not explore the lovely tiny dogs that like to stay small. And if you want a large dog to keep you company, here are some of the most gentle giants in the canine world.


Discover all the utility dog breeds (as recognised by the Kennel Club, February 2020)