Working dogs have needs specific not only to their particular breed type, but to their particular grouping in the dog world. In this case I am referring to Rottweilers, German Shepherds and other breeds listed in the Working Dog Group.
As such, nutrition, exercise and development should be geared towards the actual purpose and functions of each breed type and group. Working dogs have been bred specifically to perform tasks. This is not just a label. It is a fact of life and to ignore this fact or sidestep the importance of raising a working dog AS A WORKING DOG is to violate the actual reason for the dog’s existence.
All dogs have the same basic parts, but the way each is dog bred will determine how those parts are used and meant to be used. The less they are used, the more prone the dog is to injury, illness and other complications (this includes dysplasia, in spite of what the vets will tell you about it being 100% genetic)
Here is an image of a Rottweiler, with labeled body parts:
Alright, now here is a picture of an Italian Greyhound. This dog is a sight hound and as such has been bred over the centuries to run and chase game. Notice the way this dog is physically centered around that basic function:
So, different dogs have different needs. With working dogs, the needs have everything to do with building muscle tone in the front and rear of the dog, to develop strength in the legs, feet, hindquarters, forequarters, hips, elbows, pasterns, chest, and so on. This is because working dogs have been bred and developed as dogs that do a multitude of tasks, not just one type of job. So, because of this, their muscle and bone development is more demanding in order to potentially perform these tasks.
That is why, when I ask people if they exercise their working dog and they tell me ‘Sure, I take him for a walk every day,” I laugh. Walking a dog once a day is not exercise. They need to run, jump, sit, lay down, get up and do all of the types of exercise that will develop strong muscle tissue and bone growth. Just like body building with humans. Every day. Look at the muscle groups of the Rottweiler again. That did not come about from laying around the house all day and going for a walk at dinner time.
So, the next time you hear someone tell you all about how horribly prone working dogs are to dysplasia and other issues, think about this article. If I raised a dog that had no muscle tone, no endurance, no immune system, I wouldn’t have a kennel.