Companion dog usually describes a dog that does not
work, providing only companionship as a
than usefulness by doing specific tasks. Many of the
breeds are used only for the pleasure of their company, not as workers,
but any dog can be a companion dog, and many working types such as
retrievers are enjoyed in
North America primarily for their friendly nature as a family pet.
The Pomeranian started out as a large, sled-type dog and was downbred to become
the small companion dog it is today.
Working vs. companion
Some people and breed groups argue that any dog of a working dog type is
inherently a working dog, while others say that only a dog being actively
worked, either in a related field such as
water trials for retrievers or
herding trials for
dogs, or in some other field that requires training and discipline, such as
service dogs or participating in
agility, can be considered a working dog.
Dogs that have been chosen for traits that make a good pet are generally
and the tradition of keeping pretty dogs for no purpose other than to be court
decorations stems back thousands of years to
and the Pug are both
examples of canines chosen for their ability to be pets. In the case of the
Pekingese, it was for their lion-like demeanor; for the Pugs, it was for their
"lucky" wrinkles and their monkey-like impish behavior.
Other dogs that appear to be strictly a decorative or entertaining toy type
of dog originally had jobs, such as the
Apso's job as a watch dog, or the delicate
Yorkshire Terrier's exceptional ratting abilities which made him a star.
Until the late
century, toy dogs were strictly the keep of the wealthy, especially
where small, charming dogs that did not work for their food were pure status
symbols. Many, like the
Maltese and the
King Charles Spaniel, were often used as gifts between royal houses as well,
as a symbol of good will. Small dogs like these got their name of lap dogs
because the warm effect of a dog on one's lap was considered beneficial to one's
health and digestion. Indeed, the 15th century name for companion and toy type
dogs was "comforters".
In the late 19th century, some dogs were being bred for the combined purpose
of being hearty and also being a good companion to children and families, rather
than to refined ladies and men, as was the original task of the first companion
dogs. Old breed types like the
over roles as housepets, as well as new breeds like the
Boston Terrier. Though dogs and children always had a certain attraction to
each other, there was an increased interest in the middle and even working
classes for companion dogs that would chum around with their youngsters. This
increased throughout the 20th century, where a dog breed's reputation as being a
good family pet was a main
to their popularity.
Now in the 21st century, fewer and fewer dogs are being kept solely for the
purpose of working. Indeed, some breed groups for dogs like
Golden Retrievers worry that they are becoming more
companion dogs than working dogs and are encouraging people to work with their
pets rather than simply keeping them for their good looks. There is a rising
popularity for smaller companion breeds again as well, and they are slowly
overtaking the large, hearty sporting dogs in popularity in the
United States as people recognise the qualities of dogs created to solely be
companions, not hunters or herders.
| Animal Euthanasia
| Animal Shelter
| Companion Dogs
| Dog Adoption
| Dog Food
| Greyhound Adoption
| Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
| Lap Dog
| Microchip Implant
| Puppy Mills
| Rescue Dogs
| Rescue Groups
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