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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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