While almost all dog breeds can be trained as service animals, some have built in traits that are better suited for service work. Temperament, physique, learnability, and innate skills are all factors that you have to consider. Humans use service dogs for a variety of reasons and not all breeds have the durability, stamina, strength, and poise to adequately get the job done.
When choosing the right breed, it’s important to consider exactly what specific tasks you need your dog to aid you with. For instance, people with disabilities may need to rely on their dog to provide life-saving skills — this may require the breed to have an instinctual curiosity and a knack for problem solving.
Additionally, a calm temperament is key for public situations. Guide dogs for example, cannot be easily distracted by environmental stimuli or it may put their owner in danger. These are the three best service dog breeds!
There are several reasons a person may need help, and Golden Retrievers are great for that because of their tremendous versatility. Physically, they have an ideal size and strength for providing physical support, especially when it comes to carrying large, heavy objects. As indicated by their name, they were specifically bred to retrieve for hunters. If frequent walks in the rain are necessary, a water repellant coat helps keep them dry.
Their temperament lends itself well across most situations. Unlike some dogs, they’re not overly protective of their owner and aren’t known for being alarmed by strangers in public. They don’t have dominant tendencies — they’re very sociable with children and other dogs.
Easily trained, these intelligent canines can learn a variety of tasks and commands in a short time frame. They are naturally curious and get satisfaction from solving problems. A sensible level of energy and affection makes them very suitable and dedicated service dogs.
Originally a working water dog, the Labrador Retriever is a very durable and resilient breed. They’re the most popular guide dogs for the blind due to their stable temperament and focused attention. Labradors are great assets in urgent situations because they are quick thinkers and problem-solvers by nature. Rather than showing aggression or over-protectiveness, their personality shines through loyalty and friendliness.
They’re very well behaved in public and always stick close by. High sociability in dogs means the ability to stay cool across a variety of situations, and Labs are one of the best at that.
Physically, their build is sturdy and muscular — made for picking up and carrying heavy objects. If they need to venture outside on a regular basis, their short water-repellent coat is well insulated, making them very comfortable in the elements.
Although they’re best known for working in law enforcement, their extremely high intelligence, courage, trainability and strength make German Shepherds incredible service dogs. They’ve been reliable guide dogs for the blind as far back as the 1930’s.
They are ranked as third most intelligent dog breed in the world. It’s not just intelligence that makes a good service animal though — work ethic and obedience play a huge role. German Shepherds are known for their ability to understand various commands and accomplishing complex tasks. Historically, they are herders, so their leadership mentality lends itself well to assisting humans.
However, unlike retrievers, they have a protective instinct; aggression towards others may occur if they perceive a threat. Although they can be trained to overcome this tendency, it is recommended that they are matched with a strong willed, authoritative owner. Rather than consistent play time, they typically enjoy mental or task oriented stimulation to stay happy — making them the perfect fit for a daily service job.
These days a variety of different dog breeds are being used as service animals, but the overall benefits that Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds provide are crucial to consider. They are known for being task-oriented, physically powerful, and having stable temperaments.
Most service dogs are relied upon for critical and sometime life-supporting situations. Choosing a breed with well rounded traits across a variety of situations is important. But more important is making sure the dog you choose has the mental and physical strengths to meet your specific needs.