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A working animal is an animal , usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be close members of the family , such as guide dogs or other assistance dogs, or they may be animals trained to provide tractive force , such as draft horses or logging elephants . The latter types of animals are called draft animals (draught animals ) or beasts of burden. Most working animals are either service animals or draft animals . They may also be used for milking or herding , jobs that require human training to encourage the animal to cooperate. Some, at the end of their working lives, may also be used for meat or other products such as leather . The history of working animals may predate agriculture , with dogs used by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Around the world , millions of animals work in relationship with their owners. Domesticated species are often bred for different uses and conditions, especially horses and working dogs. Working animals are usually raised on farms, though some are still captured from the wild, such as dolphins and some Asian elephants .