Although many dogs work, the official members of the working group dogs tend to be large, exceptionally strong breeds developed to protect, to guard, to rescue, and to assist police or even soldiers. Some of these breeds can pull carts or sleds. They are powerful, so know yourself before you select the dog. Some breeds are friendly animals who provide a protective presence based on their sheer size. A Great Dane or a St. Bernard might be a good example. Others can become truly dangerous attack animals if not properly trained. A Rottweiler might be the classic example, but any working group dog can pose a threat to others if abused.

You will need to commit to working with these dogs from an early age to socialize them properly to make them a loyal, protective member of the family instead of an insurance liability. They should not be neglected, because these intelligent animals can become escape artists or figure out other ways to create drama if their energy isn't properly channeled.

Until recently, the herding dogs were also placed into this group. However, in 1983, recognizing the sometimes substantial difference in behavior found in herding dogs, the American Kennel Club (AKC) split off the herding group dogs into their own category.