Dogs have always been known as “man’s best friend” and serve people in immeasurable ways. However, not every dog is the right fit for every person. Each breed of dog comes with its own set of physical characteristics and personalities, which, if not correctly matched, can lead to disastrous pairings of owners and pets.
Dogs have also been widely used to help support those in need. The elderly like the company, devotion, and responsibility that come with dog ownership. Equally as important is ownership for the disabled, providing the same set of benefits as well as providing vital assistance throughout the day.
In such cases, choosing the right dog breed is extremely important to ensure that the fit is right and that the dog fulfills all duties expected of it.
Below is a list of the best dog breeds for the disabled and blind, based on each breed’s ability to perform, its temperament, and ease of care:
1. Labrador Retrievers
Known for outgoing and friendly personalities, Labradors, or labs, are used quite frequently as service dogs, given their intelligence, loyalty, and strength. According to JustDogBreeds.com, labs can assist people in wheelchairs by opening doors, grabbing items for them, and basically get to the things their owner could not.
However, owners must take into account these dogs need their fair share of activity and exercise, so this must be taken into consideration when choosing this breed. Taking them out on your own or hiring a dog walker is highly recommended to keep your partner fit, happy, and ready to serve.
2. Golden Retrievers
With a personality and intelligence that matches that of a lab, the Golden Retriever has a temperament that is calmer. This works especially well for the disabled, who need assistance from a pet whose deep desire is to please their owner. Grooming is more in this breed, due to its longer hair length, a factor to keep strongly in mind.
However the strong friendship and loyalty that can be established with this breed make it ideal for those who can handle a bit more maintenance.
3. German Shepherds
Loyalty and intelligence are the hallmark of this breed, which are complemented by other strong traits. Often used in the military, this breed of dog trains easily and serves faithfully as a seeing eye dog for so many who need this assistance.
They also serve well as service dogs to those in wheelchairs, having keen intelligence, size, and power to perform tasks for their owner. Training can be customized to precisely fit the needs of the disabled person in question, teaching the dog to perform tasks specific to the owner’s needs.
4. Terriers Mixed with Small Dogs
For those who need a Hearing Dog, Terriers mixed with other smaller breeds serve well. Hearing dog programs have traditionally used dogs from shelters, as well as from breeders, making use of mixed breed commonplace. They come in all shapes and sizes, but most owners request smaller to medium-sized dogs for ease of care.
Because smaller dogs are quick to react, they serve well as “listeners” for the hearing-impaired. These dogs must be friendly and love people, making the Terrier combo with Poodles, Cockers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and Chihuahuas a popular choice.