DOG BREEDS

The Top 20 Dog Breeds for Service Animals- Newsweek

Service dogs are superheroes among our four-legged friends, since they assist humans with physical or mental limitations in living more independently.

These canines are then taught to work and do specific jobs until they understand when to assist and when not to.

Good service dogs, according to Dr. Mary Burch, Director of the American Kennel Club's (AKC) Family Dog Program, can come in many shapes and sizes.

"A dog's size can be helpful depending on what they are being trained to perform services for," she told Newsweek.

"For example, for those who want mobility aid, a larger breed is a better choice than a smaller one.

"Smaller breeds like the tiny poodle can be excellent hearing alert dogs."

While certain breeds are better suited to certain roles, she says they should all be "trainable, motivated, willing to work with their owner [and] reliable."

"Many breeds can be utilised as support dogs," she noted. Only a small percentage of owners will train their current pet to serve as a service dog.

"In some circumstances, a service dog that has been intentionally bred to work as a service dog is acquired.

"Because they are highly trainable and biddable, certain breeds are more typically utilised as assistance dogs.

"Even if a breed is regarded for being appropriate for service dog work, not every dog within that breed is a perfect candidate for a service dog.

 

"While there are exceptions, not every breed is a natural fit for service dog work."

Newsweek counts down the breeds most suited to life as a service dog.

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are popular as family pets for the same reasons they are great service dogs. Ilona Shorokhova/Ilona Shorokhova/Ilona Shor

Labrador Retrievers are popular as family pets for the same reasons they are great service dogs.

Not only are Labs friendly and good-natured, they are also able to bond well with people and enjoy having a job to do.

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

When it comes to selecting a service dog, Golden Retrievers are a popular choice. Tatyana Consaul is a Russian actress.

Golden Retrievers, a breed that is similar to Labradors, are also a popular choice for service dogs.

In addition to possessing a set and gentle demeanor, which can put anxious people at ease, they are also large enough to assist people to walk.

3. German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd in field

German Shepherds boast many of the qualities necessary when picking a great service dog 

German Shepherds offer many of the attributes needed in an excellent service dog, including intelligence, well-behavedness, and ease of training.

And this breed commonly associated with guarding possesses sufficient size and strength to help mobility-impaired people get around.

4. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

Hakas, a Doberman Pinscher that is both energetic and bright, excels as a service dog.

Rottweilers, Black and Tan Terriers, and German Pinschers are among the breeds that Doberman Pinschers are said to be a combination of.

And these exceptionally energetic and intelligent hounds perform superbly as service dogs, in particular due to their acute sensitivity and affectionate natures

5. Poodle

Standard Poodle

Look beyond their prissy stereotype and Poodles are extremely smart and capable service dogs TopDigiPro/Getty Images

Look beyond their prissy stereotype and Poodles are extremely smart and capable dogs who adore performing a role.

This breed has the correct demeanor for service work and these dogs are very easy to train, although are not that capable of performing particularly physical roles.

6. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs embody the most sought-after character traits you could wish for in a service dog Bigandt_Photography/Getty Images

Bernese Mountain Dogs embody the most sought-after character traits you could wish for in a service dog, such as friendly demeanor, impressive intelligence and a good work ethic.

This breed is also big and sufficiently powerful to perform physical jobs, while they are clever enough to perform complex tasks to help their human.

7. Great Dane

Great Dane

Great Danes have the perfect stature and power to make excellent service dogs Earl-Wilkerson/Getty Images

Great Danes are fondly known as the "gentle giants" of large dogs, meaning they have the perfect stature and power to physically assist their charge.

This breed is also believed to be one of the best-natured dogs, which when matched with their intelligence and trainability, results in an excellent candidate to be a service dog.

8. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard breed has long been associated with helping people N8tureGrl/Getty Images

The Saint Bernard breed has long been associated with helping people, typically as a rescuer from the desolate snowy peaks of the Alps.

These large and muscular canines are these days more commonly used as service dogs, in particular, due to their kind, gentle, intelligent and affable natures.

9. Pomeranian

Pomeranian

Pomeranians are the perfect pint-sized service dogs Anna Bizon / EyeEm/Getty Images

While many service dogs are plus size, the Pomeranian is a smaller breed more than capable of helping in service-related activities.

Although unable to assist in physical roles, Poms are extremely attentive to their owners and can be carried wherever they are needed for support.

10. American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

The majority of American Staffordshire Terriers (also known as Pitbulls) are loving, gentle dogs intelligent enough to be easy to train as service dogs sanjagrujic/Getty Images

While these dogs often are excellent service dogs, owners may have to be prepared to deal with the mistaken negative public perception of the breed.

The majority of American Staffordshire Terriers (also known as Pitbulls) are loving, gentle dogs intelligent enough to be easy to train as service dogs.

11. Boxer

Boxer Dog

While underused in service dog work, Boxers exhibit many of the traits preferred in the role Mary Swift/Getty Images

While underused in service dog work, Boxers exhibit many of the traits preferred for such an important task.

This breed is powerful enough to perform physical tasks, enjoy human company and have sufficiently high energy levels needed for such an all-consuming role.

12. Border Collie

A border collie dog

Few can dispute Border Collies make wonderful service dogs iStock

Widely considered the world's most intelligent breed, few can dispute Border Collies make wonderful service dogs.

But while Collies are also highly easy to train and enjoy having tasks to accomplish, they can be a little naughty if under stimulated; so ensure they have plenty of opportunities to exercise and brain-stimulating interactive toys to hand.

13. Bloodhound

Bloodhound

Bloodhounds are considered calm, loyal, intelligent and affectionate, making them an ideal breed as service dog companions sean nalaboff/Getty Images

Bloodhounds are considered calm, loyal, intelligent and affectionate, making them an ideal breed as service dog companions.

These canines also have a very particularly powerful strong sense of smell, meaning they can detect potentially problematic blood sugar levels for diabetics with ease.

14. Havanese

Havanese

The Havanese is popular for its affectionate disposition and highly trainable personality vauvau/Getty Images

This pint-sized family pooch is popular for its affectionate disposition and highly trainable personality.

Their friendly and outgoing nature makes them popular with all who encounter them and Havaneses are often the breed of choice for those who are affected by depression.

15. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer Stanley

Miniature Schnauzers like Stanley can make for excellent service dogs Newsweek

Miniature Schnauzers are a loving and cheerful breed that is eager to be part of a human family.

Their positive personality makes them a quality companion, while their petite proportions make them a perfect sidekick for adults and children alike.

16. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Although Cavaliers come in a small package, their plus-size personality and even bigger hearts make them great service dogs Nigel Wiggins/Getty Images

Although Cavaliers come in a small package, they have a plus-size personality and even bigger hearts.

In addition to their regal good looks, this breed is highly prized for its exceptionally sweet and loving nature seemingly always receptive to a calming cuddle.

17. Labradoodle

Labradoodle

Labradoodles are a cross between Poodles and Labrador Retrievers, two of the top breeds with the characteristics of a reliable service dog EvgeniiAnd/Getty Images

While rarely recognized as a service dog breed, Labradoodles are a cross between Poodles and Labrador Retrievers, two of the top breeds with the characteristics of a reliable assistance companion.

Possessing the intelligence of the former and the adaptability of the latter, Labradoodles are great candidates to be service dogs for people of all ages.

18. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso

Provided this breed has been well trained as a psychiatric service dog, Lhasa Apso's cheerful demeanor can be an invaluable asset to those suffering from PTSD, depression and bipolar disorder xyom/Getty Images

While these alert and personable little dogs may be wary of strangers, the Lhasa Apso is tremendously loyal to those closest to them.

Provided this breed has been well-trained as a psychiatric service dog, Lhasa Apso's cheerful demeanor can be an invaluable asset to those suffering from PTSD, depression and bipolar disorder.

19. Beagle

Sleeping Dog

Mobile and friendly, the much-loved Beagle makes a great service dog alkir/Getty

Mobile and friendly, the much-loved Beagle makes a great service dog, especially in larger households and where there is a concentration of children.

However, be aware the Beagle breed possesses an independent streak and some may refuse to accept training well enough to make the grade as a service dog.

20. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are excellent service dogs as they are highly intuitive, saulgranda/Getty Images

Brave and curious, little Yorkies can be eager to try anything, meaning they can be an excellent choice for a service dog where physicality is not required.

This intelligent breed loves to serve a purpose, so Yorkshire Terriers are useful in getting medications in emergencies or pushing an alert button if they intuit something is very wrong.

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