Choosing A Service Dog Breed

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Choosing A Service Dog Breed

Choosing Service Dog Breed 

If you need a service dog, the right breed can work wonders in your life. But what’s the right breed? When it comes to finding your perfect service dog, it’s not about cute and charming. It’s all about reliable, stable and providing effective assistance.

Any breed can technically be a good service dog, but not all will work for your specific circumstances. It’s a fact that many dogs that start a service dog program won’t make it through the training. There are many reasons, from temperament to size and allergies.

To make the most of your investment of time and money, choose a dog that can provide useful support. Experts say you need to look for a dog with:

  • A temperament that fits the job you expect him to handle
  • The proper size for your situation
  • The type of coat that fits your weather
  • The strength and intelligence to dependably assist you
  • The energy to handle your level of activity

A single breed doesn’t work for every situation. To help you choose wisely, here’s a closer look at how to select the service dog breed most effective for your needs.

Make a List

Start with a list of what you need the dog to handle for you during the day. How does your disability affect your life and in what ways do you expect the dog to alleviate your challenges?

Here are some possibilities:

  • Do you want him to help you perform everyday tasks, like open the door for you or turn on the lights?
  • Do you want him to react to things that you react to? Or do you want him to be non-reactive? As an example, if you suffer anxiety in a crowd, you might want him to calm you down and serve as a buffer.
  • Do you want a dog to distract you so you don’t engage in specific types of behavior? For example, do you want a dog to wake you up when you have nightmares?

Size and Coat 

If you need your dog to keep you stable as you walk, you want a larger dog. For balance issues, experts say the average person needs a dog that is at least 50 lbs. If you are a big person, you need a bigger dog.

If you need a dog to alert you to danger and for anxiety issues, a small dog will work just as well as a big one.

It’s important to remember that big dogs take up more space. Do you have the room in your home and office? Big dogs eat more food, which can get expensive. Larger dogs usually have a shorter lifespan than smaller dogs.

Dogs with thick coats or wiry hair require more grooming than dogs with smooth, short coats. Do you have the interest and energy to brush your dog regularly? Will a dog that sheds a lot drive you crazy? Do you have the money to take your dog in regularly for haircuts?

Your Personality 

A successful service dog relationship is all about connection. Match your personality with your dog’s to ensure you get along and communicate well. Do you want a dog with an independent personality? Or do you want one that is bred more for companionship?

The whole subject of personality can get confusing. It is often hard to determine what type of dog personality you have.

Thankfully, it has been widely researched.

There are personality tests online that can help you pinpoint the type of dog you will feel most comfortable with. DogTime has an excellent Dog Matchup Quiz, and it’s free.

Another good resource is a reputable dog trainer. This person has the expertise and experience that comes with working with a wide variety of breeds.

It is also essential to match activity levels. Every dog needs to get out for a walk at least once a day. A medium-energy dog, like a Labrador Retriever, needs about an hour of exercise each day. Smaller dogs, like Pugs or Shih Tzus, need half that. High-energy dogs, like the Border Collie, require brisk exercise, like a good run, for one to two hours a day.

Take the time before you select a dog to figure out which breed will work best for you. Research the type of service dog that will meet your specific needs, whether your disability is psychological or physical or both. The closer the match, the happier you both will be.

We Support Service Dogs 

USA Service Dog Registration is committed to helping owners with service dogs. It starts with a simple registration process on our website, 3 easy steps and you’re done! It’s free, too.

We also have a wide range of articles and resources, including state laws, a list of trainers, and placement help for veterans. We also have an online store with a wide range of gear for your service dog. Check out the vests, leashes, ID tags, and more.

Visit USA Service Dog Registration today for answers to your questions, gear for your dog, and an easy, free service dog registration form.

15 Replies to “Choosing A Service Dog Breed”

  1. This is a very helpful article, thank you!
    I am looking to get a service dog for my 12 year old son.
    He is non- verbal with autism. His main area of need is with safety in the community like crossing the street.
    He has also just started having seizures 3 per year.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I recommend a golden retriever 🙂
      Try looking the golden retriever breed they are wonderful for autism as well as seizure alert.

    2. A golden retriver or lab would be good since a big dog can provide better DPT (pressure to calm them) easier and can help keep the child from eloping (running away). The dog also may need a high tolerance for touching and stuff depending on the child. An american pit bull terrier would also work well but may cause some access issues since they are an uncommon breed

  2. I am hoping that I can find a service dog that would help me in every day life. I am a veteran with disabilities resulting from my service.

  3. I was wondering what breed could help me with my PTSD, Anxiety, Depression,ADD, ADHD, Heat Sensitive, I’m sensitive to tones like the way a voice sounds like angry mainly can scare me and so can some loud noises.
    I don’t like always be alone so I’d like one that can be affectionate.What would you recommend for me?

    1. Labrador, Golden Retriever, Poodle, Corgi, Yorkie, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Pomeranian, Pit Bull Terriers, Amstaffs, German Shepherds

    2. poodles are a really good breed of dog for psychiatric service, especially because the have such great focus and that helps them focus specifically on their owner. they also are larger dogs so if you are going into a large crowd and you train your dog to prevent you from going into said large crowd then he will block your way, or you could train him to cause a disruption that would force you to leave if you’re getting too anxious and he would have fun and get rewarded (it would help him get some playtime on the job). i hope this helped a little bit, i know that you published it like a year ago 🙂

  4. I’m looking for a service dog because I have high anxiety around people and in crowds and I have a panic attack every time someone touch’s me.

    1. well you have to have a dog that wont have a mistrust in people other then yourself because if the dog bites someone you will have to put it down

  5. Im looking for a dog that can help with my anxiety, depression, ADD, some ADHD, and some chest pain that revolves to my heart messing up once in a while out of no where. Im in high school and cant stand the packed full hallways.

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