The doomsday clock has been at 100 seconds to midnight for a few years. Food is being stored, equipment is being stashed, and people are gearing up to fight for their lives for the inevitable apocalypse. And there’s one prep you may not have thought of.
A faithful, skilled, and well-trained canine companion could be the reason you survive another day. Humans have domesticated animals forever knowing that animals can do things humans can’t, saving time and energy. In a survival situation, both of these factors become precious.
Here are some of the best jobs for dogs during a survival situation and the breeds that excel at them…
Watchdogs are good at their jobs because they can sense things that people can’t and never will. Traits like a sensitive nose or seeing in the dark go a long way when you are trying to find something out of place in the dead of night.
When they sense an unwanted presence, they alert their owners so the owner can take care of the problem. This works with many kinds of intruders and keeps people safe from threats they weren’t even aware were there.
Additionally, almost any kind of dog can be trained to do this, though it tends to be a job geared toward smaller dogs. Here are some breeds known for being good watchdogs:
- Cairn Terriers
- Tibetan Terrier
Guard/Attack Dogs Breeds
A guard dog is a dog that will actively defend its home against intruders instead of just sounding an alarm.
Attack dogs will go a step further and attack on the command of their owner. Examples of effective attack dogs include:
- German Shepherd
- Doberman Pinscher
This can be dangerous, though. It is highly recommended to get professional help when training these skills in a dog. A poorly trained attack dog could mean someone getting seriously hurt or worse.
These dogs are trained to be dangerous, and it is a disservice to them to go about it without the proper care.
(Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to learn about the four levels of disasters.)
Drafting Dog Breeds
Big, lumbering, working dogs will haul stuff all day with the right incentive. The following dogs typically make excellent drafting dogs:
- Saint Bernard
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
The job of these dogs is to be attached either to a cart or have saddle bags loaded onto them, and they literally carry their weight. These dogs are especially useful for people who have to leave their shelters. It would be impossible to carry all of their stuff, but horses are much harder to maintain in a survival situation.
Herding Dog Breeds
One of the most important commodities you will have during these times is your food supply. If this comes from a herd of animals, it would be disastrous if the herd got up and walked away. Some herding breeds are:
- Australian Shepherds
- Border Collies
- Australian Cattle Dog
Herding dogs are trained to keep the animals not only together but in one spot. The good thing about this group of dogs is that they are still widely utilized by ranchers. It is much easier to find a skilled herding dog than it is a reliable attack dog.
Hunting/Retrieving Dog Breeds
Hunting/retrieving dogs are another group of dogs that are still widely utilized today. These dogs are grouped by categories. These categories are then included in the breed’s name. For example, a Labrador Retriever and a Bluetick Hound are both dogs that fit into this category.
- Spaniels flush game out of undergrowth to make catching and/or shooting them easier.
- Retrievers do just as their name suggests and retrieve downed game.
- Setters/Pointers locate game for the hunter, almost always birds.
- Hounds track game by scent.
They are disciplined dogs that are trained to point out prey, chase it, bring back the carcass, rile up a flock of birds, or do any number of things related to hunting. These dogs would be extremely valuable in a time where your ability to hunt can determine if your family eats or not.
What dogs can be left alone the longest?
Assuming you are coming back, then the dog will just need a source of food, water, and shelter. The dog will probably not be able to survive indefinitely on its own. Even though they retain some wild traits, they were raised with people.
Herding dogs and working dogs can survive alone the longest. This is because these dogs tend to be very fast, or very large, and very smart with heavy prey drives. Dogs who can hunt will last the longest.
Breeds like Border Collies and Australian Kelpies have been bred to make quick turns and evasive maneuvers for centuries, allowing them to easily hunt and catch even fast creatures like rabbits.
Working dogs are large by nature. An Alaskan Malamute or a Doberman Pinscher has the strength to overcome many different types of prey.
Dogs who have both natural attributes will have a clear advantage. A Belgian Malinois has a high likelihood of being able to survive on its own for an extended period of time.
(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)
A few final thoughts on survival dogs…
In a survival situation, the dog would need a job that it not only knows how to do but that you need to be done. Trying to get a herding dog to draft is possible, but it wouldn’t be a good use of your time or its skill. Understanding what you need from the dog and what it can deliver is the biggest decision you can make when outfitting your friend and bug-out buddy with their new title.
While we hope it never comes down to using these skills, we want our dogs to be able to survive with us if the need ever arises.
What do you think the best dog breeds are for survival? What jobs do you hope to fill with dogs when the SHTF? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
About Robert Thomas
Robert is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time training the dogs around him.