What is a utility dog?

Posted by Argos, 30 January 2015, last updated 30 June 2023.

With over 210 different breeds of pedigree dogs recognised by the Kennel Club, if you’re looking for a new dog it’s very easy to be overwhelmed by the choice available.

For a happy and rewarding relationship with your new furry friend, it’s important to choose a dog that matches both your lifestyle and your family’s way of living.  This is why it’s important to understand the different types of dogs and to be aware of each breed’s personality traits and the environment that they’re best suited to.

What are utility dogs?

Utility dogs are a combination of different breeds that generally come from a non-sporting lineage and they are often referred to as a group of breeds that are miscellaneous, as they don’t fit into other specific dog groups.

What are the characteristics of a utility dog?

As the name suggests, utility dogs were bred to be useful, as they were originally known for specialising in diverse jobs such as attracting ducks, running alongside fire engines, and more. The personality traits that utility dogs have can vary depending on their type of breed and background.

So, what are examples of utility dog breeds? Dogs such as the Poodle, Bulldog and Shih Tzu are breeds that we all know and love – and collectively demonstrate just how much of an assortment this group of dogs covers.

Utility dog breeds

There are 29 different breeds in the Kennel Club’s definitive list of utility dogs so, to help you choose the right one for your household, here is our utility dogs list full of some of our favourites:

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso

First introduced to this country in the 1920’s the Lhasa Apso’s impressive full coat of hair was developed over the years to combat the high altitudes and harsh climates of its Tibetan homeland. It’s thought that these independent dogs were originally used by monks to alert them of intruders in their monasteries. Whilst they retain this wariness of strangers, they are affectionate dogs who enjoy partaking in long walks. Read more about Lhasa Apso puppies and dogs in our breed review.


If you’re looking for a dog that you can trust with your children, who is obedient, energetic and handsome then look no further than this German terrier. Originally used as rat catchers, cattle drovers and guard dogs, they were considered to be very versatile farm dogs. Their wiry coats will need regular grooming while their gentle nature generally makes them good with young families.


Instantly recognisable to everyone, Dalmatians are incredibly agile dogs who love to run. Known during the Regency period as the ‘carriage dog’, the ‘Firehouse dog’ and also the ‘Marathon Runner’ they were often seen running alongside the carriages of the upper classes and horse-drawn fire engines. It should come as no surprise that this breed of utility dog is more at home in the countryside than in a city. Learn more about the beautiful breed in our Dalmatian breed review.

A Bulldog


With a family history that dates all the way back to England in the 16th century, Bulldogs were originally bred for their huge amount of courage, stamina and strength. Known by many as the National dog of Great Britain, these dogs may not have the most pretty of faces. However, despite their fighting and baiting past they are renowned for their good-temperament and protective nature towards children.

Canaan Dog

At the very most there are thought to be only three thousand purebred specimens of the Canaan Dog that exist today. Originally used for tracking and herding, these dogs are now loved by many for their alertness and their guard dog capabilities. Considered by many to be the national dog of Israel, this once feral animal has only recently started to become popular again in the UK.

With the large number of utility dogs available today in the UK – you are sure to find the perfect addition to your family. If you’re looking to introduce a utility dog to your family, remember to protect yourself from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our dog insurance policies today.

Argos Limited is an Appointed Representative of Home Retail Group Insurance Services Limited (HIS). HIS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 314050). Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no 04109436). HIS act as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc, who sell, administer and underwrite the policy and who are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX (registered in England and Wales, no 01007798). HIS and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.

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