Service dogs are specifically trained to assist their owner with everyday tasks, alert to medical issues, and/or help their owner living with a disability navigate their environment more safely. Generally, a good service dog is highly trainable and intelligent, has a good temperament, and is the proper size to efficiently complete the tasks they are trained to perform. Any dog breed with these traits has the potential to be a good service dog as long as they complete the rigorous training to do so. There are some dog breeds that are commonly found working in a service capacity. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the dog breeds that make the best service dogs:
1. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are a popular dog breed for training to become a service dog. They are gentle and friendly. They are easy to train, which is an important characteristic of a service dog.
Goldens often also have a calm nature. They do not tend to get agitated easily and are not prone to barking or nipping. This dog breed is known for excelling in a service dog role and also providing great companionship.
2. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are loyal and protective of their home and family. They are also highly trainable and are notoriously popular for training to be a service dog, police dog, or military dog.
This versatile dog breed excels at performing tasks and, as a working dog, they love having a job to do. Their playful and affectionate personality makes them a great companion and their hardworking nature and focus make them a great service dog.
3. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are known for their friendly personalities. They are easy to train and are dependable dogs, which are both important traits in a service dog. Although they are energetic, especially when they are young, they have a calm nature.
This means that they don’t tend to get spooked easily or become agitated. In addition to being a service dog, Labs are often used as search and rescue dogs as well as therapy dogs.
Poodles are prized for their intelligence. Although they sometimes get a “frou-frou” reputation, these dogs are actually quite athletic, hardworking, and versatile. They are highly trainable, friendly, and eager to please their owner, which makes them a good fit for service dog training.
The Poodle also tends to excel at detecting allergens in food. They’ve also been known to be trained to pick up dropped items, open and close doors, operate lights, retrieve certain items, and more.
With their small fluffball appearance, a Pomeranian may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a service dog. But, they have become more common as a service dog because they are quite talented at medical alerts. They are so in-tune with their owners that they seem to almost have a sixth sense about them.
When serving as a medical alert dog, Pomeranians have been trained to alert their owner or others to an upcoming seizure, asthma attack, heart issue, or drop in sugar. These are just a few things dogs can smell that humans can’t, which makes a service dog a great support for owners who are diabetic, hypoglycemic, severely asthmatic, or living with a pacemaker or heart issues.
They are also a great fit for working as a guide dog for someone who is hearing impaired. Poms can be trained to alert their owner when there is a noise their owner can’t hear and needs to pay attention to like a knock on the door, the doorbell, a ringing phone, an alarm, or something else.
Collies are highly intelligent, easy to train, eager to please their owners, and friendly. All of these traits make them a great candidate for service dog training. They also tend to excel at detecting seizures in advance as well as anxiety attacks or PTSD flashbacks.
As such, they are becoming a more popular option for working as a seizure alert dog or psychiatric service dog. In addition to working as a service dog, Collies can also be found working as search and rescue dogs and therapy dogs.
7. Bernese Mountain Dog
In addition to being a popular family pet, the Bernese Mountain Dog is also a good candidate for service dog training. They are highly trainable, intelligent, gentle, and friendly. They are also large dogs that can handle the weight that can come with bracing or mobility assistance.
Berners have been trained to support their owner’s weight in order to prevent a fall, pull a wheelchair, retrieve medication, open and close doors, and get help. They tend to be patient and also have problem-solving skills that pair well with their training during a fall or other emergency situation.
These are just a few of the most popular dog breeds that make the best service dogs and this list certainly doesn’t cover them all. Most of the time trained service dogs are matched to the needs of the individual.
So, depending on the need and tasks required, other breeds may be a better fit for some owners over others. The good news is that there is a wide variety of breeds that are trained to be service dogs, which means there are more options available when you’re trying to find the right dog for the job.