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Top Breeds of Service Dogs for Persons with Disabilities

German shepherd service dog
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | November 16, 2022 (Last update: November 16, 2022)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website:

We may choose to have a pet dog for many reasons. If we just want a pet we can choose any breed that looks cute to us. But, if someone needs to own a dog for medical purposes or for assistance in daily life they cannot randomly choose any dog breed. Though all breeds of dogs are known for their loyalty towards their master, different breeds exhibit several other differing characteristics. In this article, we will be talking about some top breeds of service dogs and their usability for persons with disabilities or chronic medical conditions.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular service dogs because of its versatile nature. They can be trained for doing a variety of tasks and thus they are a suitable service animal for most of the persons with disabilities. However, they are considered best for persons with mobility impairment. These pups were originally bred to be the hunting dogs and hence they are very patient and perceptive. They are strong and large enough to carry simple items around and hence can be helpful to persons with disabilities who need assistance in carrying out daily chores. They are also very adaptable and can easily adjust to a flexible lifestyle.

labrador retriever service dog

German Shepherd

Most of us see German Shepherd as police dogs but they are one of the best service dogs too. These dogs are intelligent and well-behaved by nature. They can also be trained easily. They are one of the strongest breeds of dogs and are fairly large in size. Hence, they can be a good guide dog for persons with visual impairment. They have a great balance and so are ideal for those who need help in maintaining their body balance while walking.

German shepherd service dog

Golden Retriever

A close cousin to Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever breed dogs too are versatile in nature. They are intelligent, gentle and very lovable breeds. One of the best qualities of golden retrievers is that they love to make their owners happy and so they are perfect for those who need emotional support. In addition to being a very good therapy animal, this dog breed can be very helpful to persons with mobility issues due to their size, strength and stature. This hardworking breed has a very soft bite and can carry simple items from one place to the other.

Standard Poodle

Many of the readers will be amazed to see this fancy water dog in the list of service dogs. This delicate-looking dog breed might not be as versatile as retrievers but they do have some qualities to be called a service dog. They are one of the most trainable and obedient dog breeds. The Standard Poodle is very friendly and can be a great emotional support animal. Moreover, they have an acute sense of smell and can detect food allergens very quickly. So this dog breed can be a very good service animal for those with life-threatening food allergies.

standard poodle service dog


Don’t let their small size misguide you. These teeny tiny balls of furs may not be an idle guide dog but they can be a very useful service dog for people with various medical conditions like diabetes, asthma and heart diseases. These dogs are great medical alert dogs. They can detect an oncoming asthma attack or heart attack. They can also detect a dangerous increase or decrease in blood sugar levels. With their excellent hearing ability, they can be trained to be a service dog for a deaf or hard-of-hearing person. They can alert their master for any alarm or sound that needs their attention.


Dogs of this breed are instinctively protective of their owner. Once they build a bond with a person they make sure that the person is provided full safety and security. When we say safety we do not only mean safety from physical harm. Doberman provides emotional support and security to their master. They are mostly used to tackle post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and panic attacks in emotionally vulnerable persons.


They are a good service dog for varieties of disabilities. They are strong, sturdy and very friendly dogs. These dogs adjust well with people of all ages and stay calm even in crowded and noisy places. They are very intelligent and can be trained to perform a variety of tasks. They can also be a good psychiatric service dog. However, these energetic dogs need lots of exercises to remain healthy and hence are not a good choice for those who don’t have proper space or enough mobility to be active with their dog.

boxer service dog

Great Dane

With its large size and immense strength, the Great Dane is an ideal service dog for those who need help in standing or maintaining their body balance. These huge dogs are always helpful and dutiful towards their owner. Normally, they friendly to almost everyone they meet but when they are trained as a service dog they never get distracted and pays full attention to their owner. With their friendly, calm and reassuring nature, they can also be used as an emotional support animal. However, they may not be the best choice for everyone as they drool quite a bit.

Border Collie

Mostly bred as a farm dog, Border Collie is considered the smartest dog breed in the world. They are very easy to train and they love to work. They are physically as well as mentally strong dogs and hence need constant mental stimulation and physical strength. They can be trained to perform complex tasks. They are very dutiful towards the task allotted to them. Although they are mostly friendly in nature but being a herding dog they are not a very good choice for houses with toddlers and young kids.


The name Bloodhound sounds a little scary… isn’t it? But, dogs of this breed are actually calm, loyal and affectionate. The only downside of this breed of dog is that they are a little lazy. However, with their other qualities, they can be a very good service dog for those with a not-so-active lifestyle. Being a hound, they have a very good sense of smell. This means they can detect issues like increase or decrease in blood pressure or blood sugar levels. People with food allergies too can opt for bloodhound as their service dog.

These are our top picks but there are many more options available for you to choose a service dog as per your need and the environment you can provide your service animal. The trained service dogs know their duties and they only expect lots of love in return for their service.

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