A Golden Retriever supports a woman with blindness in her daily activities and is known for being one of the top guide dog breeds.

5 Assistance and Guide Dog Breeds with Pics


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Dogs are humans’ best buds. To this end, some paw pals even support people with disabilities by being their eyes, ears or hands. Which guide, service and assistance dog breeds are the best for these jobs? Let’s find out!

We already know that different dog breeds have a predisposition for certain highly specialised jobs. For example, Collies and Shepherds are agile and have a natural propensity for herding while Gundogs and Retrievers can help bring back or chase down the hunt.

In this article we’re looking at which dog breeds have the knack for supporting disability.

Firstly, what is a service, guide or assistance dog?

There are many types of disabilities, from cognitive to psychological to physical and more. Even then, there is a wide range of diverse disabilities in each of these areas where support may be needed.

If for example, you have low vision or blindness, this requires different support to someone with PTSD. Likewise, a person with Autism will require different support than someone who uses a wheelchair.

  • Umbrella term. With the right training, dog breeds that’ve been found to have an easier disposition to support any of these disabilities can be called service dogs or assistance dogs. These are general umbrella terms that can be used to describe any dog that helps make navigating the day easier for someone living with disability. Service dogs also perform jobs like working with police and search and rescue.
  • Specialised job title. Once a dog is assigned to help their human then there are specific titles you can call them based on the job they do. For example, a guide dog works with a person with vision impairment, while an Autism assistance dog is trained to specifically support someone with Autism.

Now that you know the difference, read about some of the dog breeds that are most suited to becoming guide, service and assistance dogs.

A woman with limited mobility rides a mobility bike alongside her Labrador Assistance dog (one of the most sought out assistance or service dog breeds).

#1. Labrador Retriever (favourite guide dog breed)

Labs are widely regarded as one of the best guide, assistance or service dog breeds thanks to their intelligence. These dogs have a calm but friendly nature and are extremely adaptable. They easily get on well with pets and people both big and little.

It’s no coincidence that the Labrador Retriever also happens to be Australia’s favourite dog breed!

a Golden retriever helps his person as a guide dog

#2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers possess similar qualities to Labradors, making them a firm favourite among guide, service and assistance dog breeds. They’re also one of the nation’s top dogs!

Both breeds have versatile and easy-going natures paired with high intelligence, making them great helpers across a broad range of disability, including mobility assistance. Importantly, both Labs and Golden Retrievers are big enough to perform physical support roles.

this German shepherd is not only one of the top guide and assistance but also service dog breeds

#3. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are super smart, highly trainable and lovingly loyal dogs. They make excellent service, assistance and guide dog breeds for all types of disability including mobility assistance. In addition to being good dog breeds for guide and assistance dog work they’re also a top breed for search and rescue and police work.

Read more about the German Shepherd dog breed.

A poodle sits with its owner's bags on travels

#4. Poodle

Poodles come in big and small sized. The Standard, Miniature and Toy Poodles can all perform supportive roles in disability. The standard poodle is big and strong enough to support people with limited mobility while the littler guys can do jobs that don’t require the same brawn.

Poodles are interesting because they cause fewer allergies thanks to having hair, not fur, that produces less moulting and less dander. That puts them on the list of hypoallergenic dogs.

In addition to producing fewer allergens, Poodles can also sniff out life threatening allergens to protect their peeps. As you can see all varietals of Poodle can make great service, guide or assistance dogs in their niche.

A man hugs his Border Collie best bud

#5. Border Collie

Border Collies are famous for having above average intelligence, making them highly trainable. They also have endurance and a huge helping of agility, which means they’re able to work tirelessly and swiftly.

In particular, Collies are great psychiatric dogs and can even be trained to recognise the onset of seizures in those with epilepsy. Border Collies are most famous for their role as working dogs doing herding and search and rescue.

The Border Collie sits at #5 on Australia’s list of favourite dog breeds.

Best guide dog breeds vs therapy animals

While there are several mental and physical benefits to pet ownership, there’s one whopping big difference between assistance, guide and service dogs vs therapy animals and pets and that’s public access rights.

Yep, dog breeds that are trained up and certified as guide, assistance and service dogs are allowed in most public spaces. This includes places that therapy animals and pets can’t go. Like shopping malls, buses, trains and aeroplanes, for example.

Read more about dog public access tests and, speaking of travel, read our Guide to Travelling with Pets.

Award winning pet insurance for your dog

Now that you know some of the best assistance, guide and service dog breeds, here’s a thought… These dog breeds are known to add value and protection to their people’s lives. And there’s a way you can do the same for your cat or dog via pet insurance.

PD Insurance gives you one or more months of FREE pet insurance when you buy a plan online. That’s no strings attached – namely, no lock-in contracts or cancellation fees. Choose between three furbulous affordable levels of cover for cats or dogs that offer a broad range of quality protection for pets and pockets.

Click below to start your quote.

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