Service dogs are valuable companions for people with mental and physical disabilities. We often see service dogs that help blind people navigate. But they can also help with allergy detection, diabetic alerts, seizure alerts, and mobility assistance. They can help people with hearing issues, autism, and various emotional disorders. 

Not every dog makes a great service dog. A service dog must have specific characteristics that are inherent to certain service dog breeds. They must have a calm demeanor and the intelligence to carry out complex tasks. 

Characteristics of Ideal Service Dogs

The best service dog breeds will have the following characteristics:

  • Motivated to Work: Service dogs must be motivated to work. They should be happier engaging in activities than lying around the house. 
  • Calmness: A service dog must concentrate on their work. They cannot become easily distracted or disturbed by the elements of their environment. 
  • Intelligent: The best therapy dogs must be intelligent enough to realize what their owner requires and to determine how to best fulfill their needs. 
  • Friendly: A service dog should be friendly towards people and other animals. They should not be aggressive or easily provoked. 
  • Loving: The best service dogs will form an emotional bond with their owner that makes them want to protect them and serve their needs. 

Choosing the Right Breed

The most trainable dog breeds will have the required service dog characteristics. New owners must choose the dog that’s best for them based on their physical and mental needs. Do some research before adoption to get an idea of the most suitable breeds. 

New owners can then visit shelters that specialize in service dogs. The shelter can recommend dog and owner matches. Owners can also meet with the dogs and get to know them before they decide which they will take home. 

@disorganized.religion What breed is best for a #servicedog ? #servicedogintraining #moreyouknow #husky #pitbull #labrador #dogsoftiktok #goldenretriever #collie ♬ Electro-Indie V2 – Lynn Standafer

Top 5 Service Dog Breeds

Several breeds make good service dogs. Here are a few to choose from: 

Labrador Retriever

Labradors are intelligent and eager to please, so they are highly trainable. Their short hair means they are a low-maintenance choice for people with disabilities. They are friendly and approachable. 

The breed is a popular choice for the seeing impaired.  Its keen sense of alertness also qualifies it for military duty, drug detection, and search and rescue. Labradors make good service dogs because they have excellent medical detection skills and can alert owners about impending seizures, low blood sugar, and other health emergencies. 

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are exceptionally loyal. They will sit with their owners for long periods and tend to their needs. Their loving, friendly nature allows them to adapt to different social situations and environments without becoming aggressive or upset. As natural hunting dogs, they are quick to learn new skills. 

This dog breed can help owners navigate various disabilities. However, their keen sense of alertness makes them excellent guide dogs. Their ability to learn commands makes them ideal for mobility assistance. They also make excellent therapy dogs thanks to their protective, friendly, and comforting disposition. 


Boxers are one of the most common service dog breeds due to their friendly nature. Their protectiveness and patience make them ideal for families with young children. However, they are also highly trainable, powerful hunters. 

The breed is versatile enough to handle various service dog responsibilities. Their sturdy build makes them ideal for mobility assistance. They also offer comfort to people dealing with emotional disorders. 


Don’t let a poodle’s appearance fool you. Their coats may look flamboyant, but they are highly intelligent and easy to train. They are also loyal, alert, and energetic. 

A poodle service dog is a great choice for disabled people. Their low shedding, hypoallergenic coats make them ideal for people with allergies. They have also ranked as one of the dog breeds with the best hearing. They can learn the voices of every family member and watch over them. They are also ideal for hearing-impaired owners. 

German Shepherd

German Shepherds may seem standoffish, but they are anything but. They bond well with their owners. They are obedient, hard-working, courageous, confident and loyal. 

A German Shepherd’s large size and sturdy build make it an excellent mobility dog. It also has an instinct to protect its owner and look out for their wellbeing. This personality trait makes it an ideal companion for people with emotional issues. 


Service dogs help people with mental and physical disorders. However, it’s essential to find good dogs breeds with personality traits that are suitable for varying needs. Different dogs can be suited for different conditions, but dogs that are motivated, calm, intelligent, friendly, and loving will be ideal for various service dog roles. 

Justice Speaks wants to make life easier for disabled people and their service dog companions. We educate people to become service animal advocates by teaching them about ADA laws and proper service dog etiquette. We offer an engaging platform that covers disability awareness, data collection and analysis, guidance, and resources. 

Our nonprofit organization offers school-aged education, workplace compliance, and advocacy. Get in touch to learn how we can help your community become a more accepting environment.

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