What we have done here is compile a list of 7 of the best guide dog breeds for the blind. But that then opens up the question of which breeds are indeed the best.
A guide dog completely transforms the life of the person they help. Suddenly, the freedom they offer to an individual who is blind makes such a difference that the dog becomes everything to the individual.
However, not every breed of dog tends to have the correct character, or even intelligence to then train as a guide dog.
Now, you will find some surprises here, but we will keep them to the end. Instead, we can begin with those breeds people tend to link to the role of a guide dog.
So, let’s get on with the list.
When you think of a guide dog, it’s most likely the Labrador Retriever that you think of. This breed excels thanks to its high intelligence, and also the loyalty it shows to its owners.
Honestly, this breed is a wonderful example of what you should expect from a potential guide dog.
Teaching a Labrador the necessary skills to help someone who is blind tends to be significantly easier compared to other breeds.
That does mean they have a tendency to work their way through the training regime far easier than other dogs.
But that’s not the only reason why they remain so popular as guide dogs.
Their natural character is quite laid-back and friendly. They also come with a strong work ethic.
The fact they have this calm demeanor about them does mean they do not tend to become stressed or sidetracked when working.
This all makes for a wonderful guide dog as they do tend to tick all the required boxes.
Next, is the Golden Retriever, and this breed remains popular as a guide dog for many of the same reasons as described above with the Labrador Retriever.
This breed loves to take control of a situation, especially when they know they have a certain job to do.
That is how they approach helping people. They see it as a clear task that needs to be completed, and they remain focused on that task.
They too have a happy outlook on life but have a tendency to come with slightly higher energy levels than other breeds.
However, the training they undertake does mean this energy is then used in the correct way.
Even though people do not immediately think of a German Shepherd as a guide dog, they do work well in this particular role.
People often see this breed as being more of a guard dog, but they love the role that comes with being a guide dog.
Remember they have high intelligence levels, and they do have an overwhelming need to learn and then please their owners.
Also, they come with good intuition, and can easily adapt to a variety of circumstances.
The only problem with a German Shepherd is the need to use up a lot of energy. They must do this before they can get to a point where they feel they can then relax.
Ultimately, this does tend to mean the German Shepherd is best with an individual who likes to move around a lot.
They will not do as well with an individual who stays at home more often than not.
Again, we find ourselves heading into another breed of dog not immediately associated with being a guide dog. However, that’s a shame.
Border Collies tend to have the reputation as the most intelligent dog breed out there. So, training them in very specific ways should never prove much of a problem.
A Border Collie has an amazing ability to fully understand their situation and surroundings.
They also tend to make the correct decision more often than not, and when you couple that with training, then it does make for a highly effective guide dog.
The only problem is their energy levels. They do need a way to use up that energy and do so in a way that makes them happy.
So, once again it’s best if the person they help loves to move around as that should make everyone happy.
When you think of the Australian Shepherd, one of the things that should come across is their intelligence and ability to learn new things.
Also, they have a fantastic nature toward their owners. Their intelligence makes it very easy to train the dog.
They also have the ability to learn a number of things at one time, so it may result in their training taking less time than it does with other breeds.
In a sense, their capability comes from the root reason for their existence, which is to herd sheep. Now, you may wonder what the link is, so let us explain.
In that environment, an Australian Shepherd needs to focus intently on what is going on. They cannot afford distractions. Also, their ability to follow commands and react immediately comes to the fore.
Those are things that you can harness and use as a guide dog. The correct training helps them to take their clear attributes, and use them wisely elsewhere.
When you think of it that way, then being a guide dog is a great thing for the breed. The breed will also not run out of energy very easily.
But they do have the ability to focus on the job at hand for extended periods of time. Their level of focus is amazing, and this does all then roll into them coming across as a wonderful guide dogs.
Admittedly a Boxer would not appear on your list if asked to name different breeds that could work as a guide dog.
However, you would then miss out on a wonderful dog with so many skills and talents that could prove highly beneficial.
This breed loves to work. They love nothing more than knowing they have a job to complete, and their loyalty to their owners means they work hard at ensuring the job is done correctly.
Also, this breed has exceptional levels of patience. They do not have a tendency to become flustered too quickly, and they work hard at forming a strong bond between themselves and their owner.
Very quickly, a Boxer will take on the mantle of protecting its owner. They pick up on areas where their owner struggles and they go out of their way to make sure their owner is safe at all times.
This remains very important to them throughout their working life, and they will quickly become rather indispensable to their owner. If you want a dog that is highly devoted, then a Boxer ticks the box.
However, a Boxer does require some additional training compared to other breeds for them to then work as a guide dog. Also, this training is something that should continue throughout their life.
That’s not to say the Boxer struggles with picking up the different skills required from the perspective of a guide dog.
They do have the intelligence to do this but prepare to spend some time in working with them.
Finally, we have the Poodle, and by extension, this does also include a number of Doodle breeds.
What you have here is a breed that wants to learn, and is also very eager to please its owner. This breed is very intelligent, and that bodes well for their ability to learn the different skills required from a guide dog.
However, a Poodle needs to be taught to ignore everything that is going on around them. This does mean they must have the correct training to ignore people who come up to them.
The problem here is people do not link a Poodle with the concept of being a working dog. They will start talking to the dog unaware that they have a job to do.
Because of that, the Poodle must have specific skills to effectively blank out what is going on, and do the job at hand.
The seven different dog breeds listed above can all function exceptionally well as a guide dog. However, the key is in the training they receive to then have the ability to perform the different actions expected of a guide dog.
Of course, most people will opt for one of the Retriever dogs, but that is not the only option you have.
In all honesty, any dog known for its intelligence and ability to stay calm under pressure can work as a guide dog.
Those are the key attributes to look for with a guide dog. You want to know the dog can cope with distractions, and keep the individual as safe as possible.
So, don’t automatically assume that only a Labrador or Golden Retriever has the ability to be a guide dog. Instead, look at other breeds, and they may surprise you with their amazing abilities.