Dogs are capable of helping humans in a wide variety of ways. One of the ways service dogs can help people is by assisting with mobility and balance issues. While many dogs love being helpful, not all dogs are suited for being mobility service dogs. They require possessing certain traits, including adequate size and calm and attentive temperaments.
Not one specific dog breed is guaranteed to produce successful mobility service dogs consistently. However, there are some that can have qualities and traits that increase their chances of success. Here are some common prospective dog breeds that are often sought for mobility service dog work.
The 10 Best Mobility Service Dogs
1. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is an extremely popular dog for general service dog work, and with good reason. These dogs have a good amount of strength and stamina, and they’re well-known for their attentive and loving personalities. They’re also highly intelligent, eager to please, and have relatively stable temperaments.
Labrador Retrievers also generally have good social skills, and they’re not known to have aggressive personalities. So, they adapt well to different settings and can stay focused on their job at hand.
Newfoundlands are some of the largest and sturdiest dog breeds, so they’re a viable option for taller individuals that are looking for balance support. They have a rich history as working dogs and have been bred to have endurance and stamina. They’re also quite calm, even under pressure, so they’re usually employed as therapy dogs and search and rescue dogs.
Newfoundlands are known to be gentle giants and are relatively trainable. They’re known to be fairly patient with children, so they’re often a good match with families with young children.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are excellent working dogs that have a good amount of energy and stamina. They’re also social and love being around people. So, they can be quite active and enjoy working alongside their favorite humans while also being known as some of the best couch potato companions.
Though relatively large, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their sweet and gentle temperaments. They’re diligent workers, but this breed is known to have significant health issues later in life and have relatively short lifespans.
4. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is another popular dog breed that can be found working in a variety of settings. These dogs are invaluable helpers. They have a lot of strength and energy, and they’re highly intelligent and intuitive.
German Shepherds do require firm and fair training, and they tend to have strong loyalty tendencies. So, it’s important to start socialization as early as possible to get them used to various social situations. An improperly trained German Shepherd can quickly become destructive and a public safety liability.
5. Standard Poodle
The Standard Poodle is one of the most intelligent dog breeds. These dogs are relatively easy to train because of their intelligence and eagerness to please. They’re also a considerable option for people with dog allergies because of their low-shedding coats. However, their coats tangle very easily and are prone to matting. So, you can expect to spend a significant amount of time on grooming. You may be able to cut some time by keeping your Poodle’s coat cut short.
6. Saint Bernard
Saint Bernards are another gentle giant dog breed. They have noble roots in being search and rescue dogs in Switzerland’s Hospice Saint Bernard. As large dogs, Saint Bernards are another excellent choice for taller individuals. They also have a lot of strength and stamina and enjoy being around people all day. However, it’s important to note that these dogs are prone to heat exhaustion and heat strokes. So, it’s important to monitor their activity levels and ensure they’re not overworking themselves, especially if you live in warmer climates.
Mastiffs are descendants of some of the oldest dog breeds, and they’ve been living alongside people and helping them for thousands of years. They have wonderful and courageous personalities. While confident, they’re not aggressive, and they’re quite patient with children in the family.
Like Saint Bernards, Mastiffs tend to overheat easily. They can also develop joint issues as they age. So, it’s important to stay on top of their diet and nutrition and consider adding supplements to their diets as they get older.
8. Great Dane
The Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds. They’re known to be calm and gentle, but they can be a bit challenging to train in the beginning stages due to their tendency to be strong-willed. Fortunately, Great Danes do have a part of themselves that’s eager to please. So, if you’re consistent with training, your Great Dane can become a successful mobility service dog.
Just keep in mind that, like Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes are known to have shorter lifespans. So, their years of working as mobility service dogs tend to be much shorter than other dog breeds.
9. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a friendly and social dog that loves being helpful. These dogs enjoy having a job to do and take their responsibilities seriously. They’re also intelligent and eager to please, making them an easy breed to train.
As a part of the sporting group, Golden Retrievers require a good amount of daily exercise. They’re playful, fun-loving dogs, yet they were bred to have stable temperaments. With all these qualities, it’s no surprise that Golden Retrievers are popular candidates for service dog work.
Rottweilers are strong and sturdy dogs. So, they can certainly help with balance and mobility. They’re also extremely loyal and protective, and they provide an extra feeling of safety for their handlers.
Rottweilers are also very intelligent and can learn new concepts and commands relatively quickly. However, they can be a bit more challenging to train and typically require a firm and fair training method. When training a Rottweiler, it’s important to keep their protective instincts in check. They must learn not to become overprotective and aggressive and benefit greatly from early socialization and getting used to a variety of new environments and situations.
Some dog breeds tend to be more suitable for service dog work than other breeds. However, rather than just selecting dogs based on their breed, it’s important to consider each individual dog’s temperament. Along with being large enough sizes, mobility service dogs must be calm, highly intelligent, and attentive to people’s needs. Knowing a dog breed’s general temperament can help you start your search, but it’s equally important to get to know the dog’s personality to ensure he can successfully become a mobility service dog.
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