It’s International Assistance Dog Week, and we’re celebrating the Assistance Dogs, Guide Dogs and other Service Dogs that make things easier for people living with disabilities. Although any dog with the right disposition can be an amazing enabler for improved daily living, there are some that are considered the best Guide Dog breeds and Assistance Dog breeds.
With that said, potential Service Dogs of a preferred breed may still not make the cut to being an Assistance or Guide Dog after their required two years of training. In fact, only half of all puppies that start the rigorous training will eventually qualify.
Ideally, Service Dogs are obedient, easy to train canines with an even temperament and good physical health.
Before you read about some of the best Guide Dog breeds and Assistance Dog breeds this International Assistance Dog Week, check out this wonderful video from Assistance Dogs Australia. It shows a Lab helping its human to put on socks – just one of the countless tasks she can do.
How do these dogs help?
People are probably most familiar with Guide Dogs. They help visually impaired or blind people safely navigate the physical world by very cleverly acting as their eyes. But all kinds of dogs can perform all sorts of tasks for people living with physical and mental disabilities.
Assistance Dogs have aided those with limited mobility, PTSD, autism, paralysis, deafness and more. They can perform tasks like pressing buttons on lifts, washing machines, remote controls, opening and closing doors, navigating their surroundings and much more. Some pups can recognise the signs of an anxiety attack and help calm their human before it gets worse. And the list goes on…
In recognition of International Assistance Dog Week, below we’ve listed just some of the best breeds of Assistance Dogs that help their humans live better lives.
It’s no wonder we associate the Labrador Retriever with being an Assistance Dog – they’re the most common among the best Service Dog breeds.
Retrievers were bred for hunting, specifically to bring back – or ‘retrieve’ – birds or other animals that had been shot by the hunters. They have soft mouths and thus cause minimal damage to what they’re carrying.
Labs make excellent service dogs due to their good natures and calm and helpful attitudes. By nature, they’re eager to please, gentle, loyal, friendly, highly trainable, and exceptionally intelligent.
As we’ve mentioned, the Retriever dog type is known for making a good Assistance Dog, and the Golden Retriever is no exception.
Goldies can quickly learn commands and enjoy bringing things back to their owners. They’re ideally sized to open doors, move objects, and provide physical support to their human. They’re known to be sweethearts just like the Labs, too.
Highly intelligent, loyal, and lovable, the German Shepherd makes one of the best Guide Dogs. Well trained German Shepherds thrive on being of service and having a task to direct their energy into.
Like the Retriever, the German Shepherd is large enough to offer physical assistance as well as perform other tasks. They’re eager to please and have a strong work ethic. A well trained German Shepherd is both a good family dog and trained working dog.
The standard large-sized Poodle is a highly intelligent breed that makes a great Service Dog. Big and strong enough to perform mobility tasks, its devoted, trainable and calm.
Poodles have something called “poodle focus” – where they’re able to hyperfocus on something so intently that almost nothing can take their attention off of it. This makes them very attentive to their handler’s needs and able to ignore any distraction going on around them.
Poodles have the added benefit of having hypoallergenic fur – meaning its coat won’t irritate those with allergies.
Insurance for Assistance and Guide Dogs
These best Service Dog breeds – just like any pup – sometimes get ill or have accidents. We understand they make the world of difference to daily functioning so they need quick, quality medical care to get back on their paws. Without their handler having to worry about the finances involved. Time is especially precious when you rely on these dogs.
Nobody wants to question if they can afford to take their sick or injured guide dog to the vet. With one of our three pet insurance plans you won’t need to, plus we’re currently offering 25% off assistance dogs insurance. Why not take the time this International Assistance Dog Week to look into your options.
Have a companion pet rather than a pet partner? Any animal can change our lives for the better, so why not protect them? Find out about our 15% discounted pet insurance for disability parking permit holders.