Top 5 Service Dog Breeds Guiding the Blind
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1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
3. Goldador – Labrador Golden Retriever Mix
4. German Shepherd Dog
5. Labradoodle – Labrador Retriever Poodle Mix
Guide dogs, (also known as service animals, assistance animals or colloquially as seeing-eye dogs), are assistance dogs trained to lead blind and visually impaired people around obstacles.
Although dogs can be trained to navigate various obstacles, many are (red–green) color blind and are not capable of interpreting street signs. The human does the directing, based on skills acquired through previous mobility training. The handler might be likened to an aircraft’s navigator, who must know how to get from one place to another, and the dog is the pilot, who gets them there safely.
In several countries, guide dogs, along with most service and hearing dogs, are exempt from regulations against the presence of animals in places such as restaurants and public transportation.
Guide dog breeds are chosen for temperament and trainability. Early on, trainers began to recognize which breeds produced dogs most appropriate for guide work; today, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds are most likely to be chosen by service animals facilities, although other breeds such as Standard Poodles, Collies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Vizslas may also be selected.
Crosses such as Golden Retriever/Labrador (which combine the sensitivity of the Golden Retriever and the tolerance of the Labrador Retriever) and Labradoodles (Labrador/Poodles bred to help reduce allergens as all breeds shed but levels vary) are also common.
The most popular breed used globally today is the Labrador Retriever. This breed has a good range of size, is easily kept due to its short coat, is generally healthy and has a gentle but willing temperament.[