Although every dog has the capacity to love his owner and be a faithful companion, it takes a special breed to be a service dog. Lucky for us humans, some dogs have the right combination of traits and characteristics to make them helpful to people with special needs. People with vision impairments, seizure disorders, and other conditions greatly benefit from the help of a service dog. Let’s look at the Top 6 Dog Breeds That Make The Best Service Dogs to see what makes these dogs so well-suited for the job.
6. Bernese Mountain Dogs
This large-breed dog is big and strong enough to provide stability and bracing while working as a service dog. An extremely intelligent dog breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog can be trained to anticipate dangers, open doors, and fetch medication or other emergency items. This breed is naturally patient, calm, loyal, and clever. A well-trained Bernese Mountain Dog will have very few behavioral problems. The large size of the dog can be a real benefit. The Bernese Mountain Dog can form strong bonds with their person and, together, they can be a great team.
Poodles and Labrador Retrievers are among the most intelligent dog breeds, so the hybrid Labradoodle gets its smarts from both parents. Labradoodles are social dogs, but they are not excitable and easily distracted. In fact, their high level of concentration and focus combined with their willingness to help can make them great service dogs. There is an added bonus to using a Labradoodle as a service dog—Poodles have hypoallergenic fur. Labradoodle owners experience fewer dog dander allergies.
The use of Collies as service dogs has increased in recent years. More and more service dog trainers are noticing the traits common to the Collie breed, such as loyalty and intelligence, that can make Collies ideal helpers. Collies are amiable and unflappable…much more than just a pretty face. Collies also have the ability to detect subtle chemical changes in humans when a seizure is starting. The dogs can be trained to tell their human, or another person, when they sense impending seizures. For this reason, Collies are known as a seizure alert dog.
3. German Shepherds
When the service dog programs started in earnest after World War I, the German Shepherd was the natural choice. Bred for hard work, German Shepherds were readily available post-war, but also because the dogs were easy to train. German Shepherds can stay alert all day long and are great problem solvers. They can quickly adjust to unfamiliar situations. In the 1980s, German Shepherds acquired an unfounded reputation for being one of the most dangerous dog breeds. Ironically, this negative association may have come about from the German Shepherd’s use as a police dog and from negative Hollywood portrayals. Service dog trainers are rediscovering the German Shepherd for all the wonderful qualities the breed has always had—intelligence, loyalty, trainability.
2. Golden Retriever
The number one goal of the Golden Retriever is to please his owner. One of the most popular breeds in the United States, Golden Retrievers have a lot to offer. They are incredibly smart, friendly, loving, obedient, and loyal. Goldens can be easily trained and can perform many more tasks for their human than just guiding them. They love to stay busy and appreciate solving the problems and challenges that come their way. Golden Retrievers have a way of instinctively understanding their humans and taking steps to help.
1. Labrador Retrievers
Labs are the go-to breed for service dog trainers. Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed in the country, so it is easy to see that the qualities that can make Labs great family dogs are also what can make them excellent service dogs. Friendly and sociable, Labs are quick learners and used to working long hours. Labs have big hearts and love their humans unconditionally. They can be playful and curious, but when they are on duty, they are focused, protective, and patient. They willingly follow commands. Labs can be trained to do other tasks for their human beyond acting as a guide, including: retrieving items, providing stability for people with mobility challenges, and alerting their human to ringing phones or doorbells.
The special bond between humans and dogs sets up a great working arrangement with trained guide dogs lending their talents to humans who need a little extra help. A good service dog must be easily trained, willing to follow commands, intelligent, friendly, and eager to help. Top 6 Dog Breeds That Make The Best Service Dogs are known for having these qualities and more.