In my opinion, a "working dog" is a dog that performs actual work, it serves a function. It seems to me that the term is misused quite often. A dog that is trained to perform tasks for the sake of performing tasks in a controlled environment without an actual meaningful solution/resolution is not a working dog. This is a short list but I think you get the pattern: Police dog - working dog Military dog - working dog Fire & Rescue dog - working dog Bomb sniffing dog - working dog Service dog that performs actual vital tasks for the handler - working dog. A seeing-eye dog is just one example. Dog that herds farm animals - working dog Dog tasked with protecting territory from intruders, humans and animals alike - working dog. Dog that hunts - working dog but sort of questionable. Usually hunting is more a sport than a necessity. Dog that pulls water out of a well on your farm - working dog. All of the above dogs serve a meaningful function - they work. Dogs that are involved in various hobby competitions with their owners - weigh pulling, agility, rally, obedience, dock jumping or any other kind of sport are sport/competition dogs. I think that's awesome. It takes a lot of effort and time on the owner's behalf to be competitive. People do it because it's fun and it makes a dog operate at a higher level within that discipline. These competitive activities can be reflective of a dog's potential working ability, but I don't see how such dogs can be called "working dogs" if their activities are limited to competing in a controlled environment. Maybe my definition of the term is narrower than others', but this separation makes a lot of sense to me. I still recall being confused when I first heard the term "working dog" and the owner proceeded to tell me how they compete in sports with the dog. In reality, most owners, regardless of the breed, choose not to task their dog with work nor train their dog in sports. They just have the dog as a companion. Not too many people need a dog to pull water out of a well anymore. How people choose to use their dog is their choice.