Best Breeds for Service Dogs

Hershey Pie

Labrador Retrievers!

Labrador Retrievers have been the #1 dog in the United States for the last 20 years. There is a good reason for this.

  1. Labs are great with adults, children and other dogs.
  2. Labs are easily trained to be tolerant of stressful situations including loud and crowded environments, emotional distress displayed by their owner and unexpected changes.
  3. Labs easily endure rigorous training and in fact enjoy working 24/7.
  4. Labs are more reliable in Public. They are not fearful or excited when working.
  5. Even highly skilled/trained Labs will retain a loving and playful attitude.
  6. Labs are compact dogs. They are sturdy enough to support a walking harness and compact enough to fit easily under a table in a restaurant.
  7. Labs are easy to bathe (and enjoy it) and to keep clean. They do not have excessive hair and can be shedded (with a Furminator) to minimize shedding.

Breeds that should not to be Service Dogs

BUT they are still GREAT DOGS for Emotional Support, Therapy work , or the perfect pet! And there are always exceptions!

  • Giant Breeds - they invade people’s spaces in Public spaces by virtue of their size. They cannot be placed under tables or desks or out of the way in small space.
    Many Giant Breeds salivate excessively. This is a health issue in areas where food is served, but a consideration issue around people in public and places that you may go.
  • Breeds with long hair that have excessive shedding - this is inconsiderate of every public area you will take your dog. You do not want a dog who leaves a trail of hair everywhere he goes. Long hair is difficult to keep clean which is also necessary for a Service Dog.
  • Hazel
  • Breeds that are intimidating to others - there are many breeds that elicit fear due to TV shows, bad experiences, dog fighting, or reputation. You do not want to scare people away from you or cause discomfort in others because you have a Service Dog.
  • Breeds that are too sensitive - these breeds make such great pets because at home they are comfortable and can be trained and loving and attentive, but they do not tolerate (or enjoy) being in new places or around new people and new dogs all of the time and can develop stress behaviors if over exposed. They can become too excited or fearful, or sometimes even aggressive.
  • Tiny Dogs - it is too easy for them to get hurt.
  • Breeds that do not tolerate heat - if you live in areas where heat is a factor.

There are exceptions to every breed category as there are exceptions to every rule, however, the Labrador Retriever remains by far the top choice for professional Service Dog and Guide Dog organizations throughout the United States.

Please read our Philosophy to understand why Service Dogs Alabama trains Assistance Dogs the way that we do.