Not every dog is suited to be a service dog, but there are some breeds that are chosen by trainers more often than others. Theoretically, any canine can be a service dog, but potential candidates undergo extensive physical training and they have a high degree of intelligence. Service dogs must also be emotionally and psychologically suited for their jobs.
Service Dog Breeds
The most common canine breeds chosen for training as service dogs are golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and German shepherds. Those breeds are highly intelligent, friendly and easy-going, and relish having a job to perform. However, there are other breeds that make excellent service dogs of which people aren’t aware.
- American Stafford terriers are often trained to help those with mobility issues, but they’re equally capable for tasks ranging from fetching multiple items to providing psychiatric support.
- Bernese mountain dogs are excellent for helping those with mobility issues, fetching and carrying items, and can even pull a wheelchair that gets stuck.
- Boxers are often trained as guide dogs for the blind, deaf and autistic, as alert dogs for those with epilepsy and diabetes, and those with PTSD and psychiatric conditions.
- Collies are excellent for working with people that have PTSD, anxiety, autism and psychiatric disorders, along with diabetes, hearing problems, epilepsy and dementia.
- Great Danes are often trained to help those with mobility issues and for psychiatric support, especially children.
- Pomeranians are perhaps one of the biggest surprises in terms of a service animal. They’re typically trained for those with asthma, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, along with those with mental disabilities and hearing impairments.
- Standard size poodles are excellent at detecting allergens and assisting people with mobility issues.
Depending upon the need, service dogs may be called upon to bring an individual their medication, alert them when glucose levels fall too low, when a seizure is imminent, calm anxiety or a PTSD response, and accomplish highly complex tasks. There are service dogs for veterans, the blind and deaf, mobility assistance, autism and psychiatric services, to name a few.
Service dogs must be energetic but possess a calm temperament. They’re able to focus on their task while ignoring outside influences. Service dogs enjoy being with people and don’t have negative reactions to strangers, children or unfamiliar circumstances and play an integral part in the lives of millions of people.
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