With the exception of farming, police and service dogs, pets in the UK are mainly used for cuddles, walks and companionship. While it may seem like your pet’s mission in life is to follow you around devotedly, they were probably bred to do a certain job.
If you have a German Shepherd, Border Collie or Pembroke Welsh Corgi, they are classed as herding dogs. Breeds in the herding group were bred to gather, herd and protect livestock, and still work on farms to this day.
These dogs are very athletic and need a lot of mental and physical exercise. Boredom can lead to bad habits like digging, barking and chewing. But, they respond well to training and will be a lot calmer after a spurt of exercise.
Their herding instincts are so strong that they have been known to gently herd their owners, especially children. The Queen’s Corgis reportedly had a fascination for nipping at the heels and ankles of servants, just as they would when encouraging livestock to move.
If your dog is a Bloodhound, Dachshund or Greyhound, these breeds were bred to assist in hunting. Their impeccable eyesight and sense of smell aid them when seeking prey.
People contemplating owning a hound dog should be aware that sight hounds, like Greyhounds, are short-distance, high-speed sprinters, who need free-running exercise off the lead. A few short walks a day will satisfy their short bursts of energy.
However, be wary that your recall is more powerful than the lure of a rabbit, especially if you adopt a former racing dog!
Scent hounds, like Bloodhounds, have a lot of stamina and are used to tracking scents over a long period of time. Therefore, they prefer long, steady walks to burn off all that energy.
If you have a Bull Terrier, Scottish Terrier or West Highland White Terrier, your dog was originally bred to hunt vermin like mice and rats. These dogs love to play with squeaky toys because the noise sparks their instinct to chase and hunt rodents.
They are energetic, lively and love to play. They come in all shapes and sizes due to the need to hunt vermin in several environments. However, owners do require determination because these dogs can be stubborn.
If your dog is a toy breed, like a Chihuahua, Pub or Shih Tzu, they are affectionate and loving, but have a weak predatory instinct and can have separation issues.