Service dogs help their owners in multiple diverse ways. There are several types of service dogs for diverse needs too. For example, a diabetic alert dog. These dogs help watch their owners blood sugar levels.
Service dogs are trained to perform specific and essential tasks for their owner. The training may take an extended amount of time and money, which is why you want a dog best fit for the job.
There are certain traits a dog must have to be an accomplished service dog. Here is a list of these traits.
1. Calm Temperament
Your service dog must be able to remain calm to ensure they do not cause destructions in public. It is important that they remain professional and avoid other animals that may distract them.
Service dogs need to be able to pull off complex tasks, so they should be much more intelligent than the average pet dog. They need to be very smart which is why you should be mindful of which dog breed you choose to be your service dog.
You want to be sure that your service dog can be friendly and comfortable around strangers and other animals, especially in public places. Some dog breeds are very protective and can become vicious or unkind around strangers, these dogs are better to be guard dogs rather than service dogs.
4. Good Focus
Your dog must be able to remain focused, while training for example, and want to learn more! Your dog should have a strong work drive and always be on best behavior. This means they should be able to ignore tempting distractions and continue to work their best for their owner.
5. Strong Bond
Your service dog should have a strong bond with you, after all you do depend on your service dog, so it is especially important that there is love and connection between you and your pooch. This will cause everything to work better between you!
The Best Breeds for Service Dogs
It is important that your service dog has all these traits. That is why we have created a list of dogs best fit for service dog training!
1. Golden Retriever
These dogs are an excellent breed for service dogs as they are intelligent, easy to train, trustworthy and loyal to their owners. They are also known to be quite sensitive to people in pain or people who need help. They are very comforting animals and extremely loving.
They are excellent support dogs and are great for reducing anxiety, for example for people with PTSD. They are also brilliant at physical work and are easy to train different tasks to.
Golden retrievers tend to shed a lot, so keep this in mind when deciding to get one. It is common for people to want a tidy service dog to prevent unnecessary conflict.
2. Labrador Retriever
Labradors are remarkably similar to golden retrievers, so it is obvious they will also be an excellent choice for a service dog. Being one of the most popular dog breeds to have as a pet, they have all of the traits a service dog needs.
These dogs are known to bond very strongly with their owners, they are incredibly friendly and loving, and they love having a job to do.
Labradors are most suited for helping people retrieve items, the mobility-impaired for example. Labs are known for their ‘soft mouths’ which means they will grab items lightly and not damage them.
Although they aren’t often used for service dog work, they have all of the traits necessary for the work. They are the perfect size dog for a service dog too, not too big and not too small.
They have high energy levels, as do Golden Retrievers and Labradors, which means they should get exercise regularly to calm them down. They are very friendly dogs which get on excellent with adults and children. They are also suitable for any size home.
Boxers are often used as guide dogs for the blind, and alert dogs for diabetics or people with epilepsy.
Poodles have a reputation to be fancy dogs with crazy haircuts, but they are actually very intelligent and love having jobs to do!
If you need a service dog for more physical work, it is recommended that you get a standard poodle, which is larger and stronger. However, if you don’t need a service dog for physical work, a smaller one may be easier to take to public places.
These dogs are very easy to train and make great service dogs for those with mental, visual, and hearing impairments.
5. German Shepherds
German Shepherds have every trait you want in a service dog. They are easy to train, they are intelligent, well-behaved, and have great focus. They also bond really well with their owners.
These dogs are usually used as guard dogs or police dogs, but they make excellent service dogs due to their kind nature and wanting to help people. They provide balance, stability and physical support to their owners, due to their size. They also have an excellent sense of smell which makes them amazing alert dogs for diabetics to detect blood sugar levels.
6. Border Collie
These dogs are often considered the smartest breed in the world, so of course they are excellent service dogs. Collies are often used for herding sheep, but they may also herd children which could potentially cause them to knock over small kids. They may not be the best breed if you are often around unfamiliar kids, but they are pretty good with children.
They are very easy to train and love having a job to do. They also have high energy levels, so be sure to get them plenty of exercise and interactive toys to keep them occupied when not working.
7. Great Dane
Great Danes are great service dogs due to their large size and amazing strength. They are suited for individuals who have severe balance and immobility limitations, but they are also excellent for people in need of emotional support due to how calm and comforting they are.
Most Great Danes are able to keep calm in public situations, which is a key service dog trait. They are also low-maintenance dogs, although they drool quite a bit and shed, so they may not be ideal for most people.
8. Pit Bull
A lot of people tend to fear Pit Bulls, but there is simply no need. They are actually one of the friendliest dog breeds out there.
They are big and strong enough to help people with mobility issues, for example, they are strong enough to pull a wheelchair.
These dogs have a strong work drive and are quite easy to train.
Although they are on the smaller side, Pomeranians are very attentive and make excellent service dogs.
They may not be able to help people walk but they are suitable for people who are unable to own a large dog, such as a Great Dane. These pups love having a job today and are very friendly dogs.
10. Bernese Mountain Dog
These dogs have the most important traits for a service dog, for example, they are extremely intelligent, friendly and have a strong work ethic. They are excellent for both physical and emotional support work. They are very good listeners and easy to train, therefore they are capable of doing more complex tasks.
These are quite large dogs and they tend to shed quite a bit, so they may not be suitable for everyone. They are also energetic dogs so they need time for exercise. Please keep this in mind before deciding to get one.