15 Excruciatingly Adorable Dogs With Jobs

Long before dogs became your trusted confidant, weekend companion, and all around best friend, they were putting their superior skills to work. Some of the world’s most intelligent dog breeds performed as lifeguards, hunters, and even artists. Centuries later, these canines have used their undeniable cuteness to create lucrative careers for themselves and their owners.

These next 15 dog jobs are tailor-made for hounds with a purpose. As you’ll see, some of these crazy pooches make thousands putting their assets to work.

1. Detection

World Trade Center Search and Rescue dog, Apollo, rests by the Langden Sarter award

This German shepherd was given the highest award for animals in war. | George Best/Getty Images

A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times more powerful than a humans. People have long enlisted the help of a dog’s nose to detect everything from bombs to bedbugs to contraband in prisons. Cadaver dogs are trained to locate decomposing human remains.

Apollo, for example, was a fearless NYPD German shepherd and one of the first dogs to learn search and rescue. He was awarded the Dickin Medal, the highest honor for animals in war, for his work as a first responder to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Next: Instagram has gone to the dogs

2. Instagram influencer

Jiffpom the Pomeranian

Jiff has 8.2 million followers. | Jiffpom via Instagram

Marketers have a growing interest in hiring social media personalities to hawk their products, thus creating a new job title, “influencer,” relevant to advertising and social media industries. What’s more influential than a cute dog wearing a sweater? Nothing. Photogenic pups can earn thousands per post that sponsor a product.

Take Jiff, the adorable Pomeranian pup with over 8 million Instagram followers. Not only has she appeared in ads for Target and Banana Republic, but she’s also raking in more than $17,000 per sponsored post as the animal with the most Instagram followers ever.

Next: A innovative tracking career

3. Truffle hunter

Truffle sniffing dog in Italy

They look for the expensive truffles. | Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

Humans have relied on canine scenting capabilities to detect things humans would miss for centuries. But a few dog breeds are starting to make history as truffle hounds. These perceptive pooches attend truffle hunting expeditions alongside their trainers to harvest mushrooms that hide on the forest floor in the Pacific Northwest. The truffle market is a lucrative business. Just one pound of the mushroom variety identified by dogs can sell for $2,000 per pound.

Next: Furry friends who earn a living on the big screen

4. Actor

The golden retriever dog in Air Bud wears a basketball jersey

Buddy from Air Bud | Disney

Movies are infinity better with animals as the lead. So it seems only natural that countless dogs throughout history have made a living as an actor. Rin Tin Tin, a camera-ready German shepherd, is considered the OG canine actor who starred in countless Warner Brothers movies in the early 1900’s. The dog earned roughly $2,000 per week for his TV roles. And let’s not forget other adorable pups like Beethoven, Buddy from Air Bud, and Eddie of Frasier, who earned $10,000 per episode.

Next: Can your dog do this?

5. Dog artist

Dog wearing a red beret and painting

The paintings of Dog Vinci sell for $100. | Dagger II aka DogVinci via Facebook

Dog Artists, aka dogtists, are a real thing according to the Daily Mail. They highlighted Arbor, a Las Vegas rescue dog with a passion for painting. Her surprisingly artistic brush strokes earn her family £300 per paw creation. Dog Vinci, a dog from Long Island, New York, uses a tailor-made paintbrush to build pieces that sell for $100.

Next: Dogs who put their cuteness to good use

6. Philanthropist

Manny the frenchie uber

Manny raises money for charities. | Mannie the Frenchie via Instagram

Sure, there’s money in animal Instagram analytics, but some canines prefer to put their influence to good use as a philanthropist. Manny the French bulldog is a charitable celebrity whose full-time profession is to raise money for charities like the ASCPA, the Special Olympics, UNICEF, and various animal rescue groups. They’ve donated well over $100,000 to charity, but also earn a lucrative income through corporate sponsorships, book deals, and online merchandise.

Next: A common dog job that’s been around for centuries

7. Police K-9

Group of K9 police dogs in training

They’ve been used for police work for centuries. | Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Dogs have been employed by police forces since the nineteenth century. The English used bloodhounds to search for Jack the Ripper in 1888 and U.S. forces began their training initiatives in the 1970s. German shepherds are the most common police K-9, but labs, bloodhounds, and beagles are also used to enforce public order, detection, and search and rescue operations. The dogs are not paid but their handlers receive an extra stipend to fund their food and other dog-related expenses.

Next: Dogs do it better

8. Mascot

Bulldog Handsome Dan Yale Mascot

Handsome Dan still makes appearances at Yale games. | Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Countless colleges and universities use live dogs as mascots. These pups enjoy working as representatives for sporting events, public parades, and social endeavors. Handsome Dan, Yale University’s bulldog, was the first U.S. school mascot. Other colleges like Texas A&M loves to showcase Reveille IX, a living rough collie at their football games. These employed canines get the better end of the mascot deal, considering human mascots earn mere thousands to parade around in a sweaty costume for hours on end.

Next: A Ground Zero hero

9. Search and rescue

Trakr search and rescue dog lays with his owner

Trakr helped rescue the last human survivor after the attacks on September 11. | Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Another tailor-made dog job is search and rescue. These canines use their unmatched hunting, scenting, and tracking abilities to rescue humans from avalanches, dangerous water, debris piles, and even roaring fires. Perhaps the most notable SAR dog is a German shepherd named Trakr, who was honored for searching through 30 feet of rubble to rescue the last human survivor of the 9/11 attacks.

Next: A dog making money using a unique ability

10. Hypnotist

Princess the Hypnotist dog

The tiny black dog even managed to hypnotize Simon Cowell. | Krystyna Lennon and Hypnodog via Facebook

Of all the wacky dog professions out there, dog hypnotists have to be the craziest. But the owner of a German spitz claims her canine can put humans in a trance using her hypnotic stare. They say her ability to perform hypnosis stems from a natural canine ability to prey. Princess tours all over the U.K. putting full crowds under her persuasion. Even Simon Cowell was hypnotized by the pooch on his reality show Britain’s Got Talent.

Next: A job only a dog would love

11. Poop-sniffing canine

A conservation canine sniffs out whale feces in a boat

Tucker helps keep the orca population in check. | Conservation Canines via Facebook

Other dogs, like Tucker, live a life slightly less glamorous. This labrador retriever spends his days as a conservation canine, tracking orcas in Canada. He’s one of 17 dogs in the program inspired by drug-detection programs to sniff out whale feces for their human counterparts. This smelly job allows the researchers to locate and gather samples that aid in conservation for multiple endangered species.

Next: One of the most beneficial jobs for dogs

12. Service dog

Service Dog

They’re specially trained to help people. | David Osberg/iStock/Getty Images

Some breeds are tailor-made to become service dogs. These human companions are recognized by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to train and guide those with a disability. The pups attend a rigorous 18-month program that begins when they’re just days old and go through multiple personality tests to ensure they can handle the demands required of a service dog. Those who pass the program are matched with families in need of mobility assistance, seizure alerts, autism assistance, and hearing and guide help.

Next: These pups really work it

13. Model

Menswear dog

He is paid $15,000 per month. | Menswear Dog via Instagram

Just as agencies scour social feeds for cute dogs, clients also seek photogenic animals to model the latest fashion trends. Bodhi, a handsome shiba inu, is a prime example of a successful dog model. He is constantly booked to shoot campaigns for Purina, Coach, Brooks Brothers, American Apparel, and many more. The dog’s owners quit their full-time jobs to launch Menswear Dog, Inc., which earns them $15,000 per month according to Fast Company.

Next: Do show dogs earn a salary?

14. Show dog

A boxer competes in the Westminster Dog Show

The top prize is great, but it’s pricey. | Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Unless a dog is competing for the $50,000 AKC National Championship prize, most show dogs do not earn money while on the circuit. In fact, showing dogs full-time is actually quite expensive when considering travel and supplies owners must fund themselves. But winning these shows do earn perfect pups the opportunity for paid TV appearances and top-dog status among his or her peers, which may make strutting their stuff for all to see worth it in the end.

Next: A job perfect for affectionate pups

15. Therapy dog

Dog Visiting Young Happy Female Patient In Hospital

It’s more about cuddles than anything else. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Though commonly confused with service dogs, therapy dogs are trained to be much friendlier than their assistance counterparts. Yes, they go through obedience training, but they usually work on a volunteer basis to provide comfort and companionship for those in need — like military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. These cuddly dogs are also found making rounds in hospitals, nursing homes, airports, and schools.

Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!