In the modern West, the majority of dogs are recognised and registered breeds such as the German Shepherd, Dobermann, or Labrador. However, this is a relatively new phenomenon and only dates back to the middle of the 19th Century with the advent of breed clubs. Historically, it was more common for dogs to be bred selectively, but in a non-standardised manner where attributes desirable for certain lines of work were more important than aesthetics. Although distinct “types” of dog arose in this manner such as collies and livestock guardians in Central Asia, they are far from what we recognise today as standard breeds.
Apart from collies, other examples of landrace dogs include African village dogs, British terriers, Western European shepherds, Middle Eastern sighthounds, and the now extinct St. John’s water dog who is the ancestor of many North American retrievers and the Newfoundland. Today, they are more common in the developing world than the West, as they reflect an attitude towards breeding and raising dogs where function and working abilities are valued more than form and aesthetics.
Although some landrace dogs have been used for guarding work (such as the Anatolian Shepherd), we would generally not use them for family protection work. Their guarding abilities have been developed in a reactive manner meaning they may be harder to control at work than a breed such as a Malinois or Dobermann. If you have additional questions about the suitability of certain breeds or types of dog for family protection dog, please email [email protected]. We would love to hear from you and continue this conversation offline.
Enrichment is a loose term for activities which allow animals to perform natural behaviours. This is particularly important for overall welfare, and sadly overlooked by many dog owners. Merely meeting a dog’s physical needs such as providing them with shelter, food and water, and veterinary care when needed is not…