Dogs with Jobs: The Best Service Dog Breeds

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service dog breeds gorlden retriever puppy doing service dog training

Service dogs are dogs who have been trained to carry out specific tasks to help make daily life easier for those who are suffering from a disability. While just about every breed could potentially produce a good service dog, there are a few in particular that are more likely to make the “best service dog breeds” list!


Service Dogs Have Important Jobs to Do! They Save Lives Every Day!

Just like emotional support animals and therapy animals, service animals have a very important job to do! For those who have a disability and cannot function independently, life can be incredibly challenging. Not only do service dogs assist with general day-to-day activities, but they can also perform a number of life-saving tasks.

For example, failing to hear a fire alarm could be fatal to those who are hearing impaired, but a service dog would be able to alert their owner to this.

Allergies can also be life-threatening, with many people suffering from allergies so severe that just one mouthful of the wrong ingredient could send them rushing to the hospital. By detecting even the smallest amounts of specific allergens in foods, and then alerting their owner to this, service dogs are once again saving lives.

From preventing a child with autism from wandering off into danger to treating depression in newly-returned veterans, service dogs are literally saving lives every day.

Different Types of Dogs Help with Different Disabilities!

Each service dog out there will have undergone unique training to learn how to help someone with a specific disability.

Different types of dog are able to help with different disabilities, such as:

  • Hearing Dogs – these help people who have a hearing impairment. They alert their owner to certain sounds, whether this may be an alarm, a doorbell, or even a crying baby.
  • Diabetic Alert Dogs – by being able to sense a change in their owner’s blood sugar levels, a diabetic alert dog will be able to let their owner know when blood levels are becoming dangerous.
  • Seizure Alert Dogs – these dogs can be trained to perform a variety of tasks to help someone who suffers from seizures. This may be pressing an emergency alarm button, retrieving medication or even alerting their owner that a seizure is on the way.
  • Mobility Support Dogs – trained to help those who have mobility problems, these dogs could do everything from retrieving items around the house to providing a physical brace for someone who is having a hard time standing. Some dogs are even trained to pull wheelchairs.
  • Guide Dogs – the most well-known of service dog types, guide dogs help people with visual impairments to navigate.

From allergy-detection dogs to PTSD dogs, there are so many other types of service dogs out there, with each one having the potential to really change a life.

Certain Dog Types Are Naturals at Emotional Support!

It’s no secret that just about every dog out there has so much love to give. While this means that every dog could potentially have the right qualities to provide emotional support, certain types of dogs are natural emotional support dogs!

Ideally, when it comes to picking a dog for emotional support, you want a dog who is extremely affectionate and sweet-natured. A high level of intelligence will mean that they will soon learn how to tell when their owner needs emotional support. It also means that they can easily be trained to perform other tasks too.

Playful and athletic dogs can also be advantageous. Although many may think that a couch potato dog would be better for emotional support, having a dog that encourages their owner to spend more time outdoors is incredibly beneficial for mental health.

types of service dogs chihuahua wearing a service dog vest

Any Kinds of Dogs Can Be ESAs! They Just Need an ESA Letter!

As you can see from the traits mentioned above, just about any breed of dog could qualify as an emotional support dog.

Already have a dog that you think would be well-suited to being an ESA? All you need to make this official is an ESA letter!

The quickest way to get one is by going through a reputable ESA website, such as Certapet. Here, you will be able to complete a five-minute online pre-screening, before a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) grants you your ESA letter (so long as you qualify!).

Many people receive their letters in as little as 48 hours, making this the most efficient way to acquire ESA status for your pooch.

What Makes the Best Service Dog Breeds Stand Out Above the Rest!

Every dog breed has specific traits and characteristics that are unique to that breed.

While dogs from every breed have the potential to be fantastic service dogs, there are certain breeds that are known for being better at this than others.

What makes the best service dog breeds stand out so much?

It all comes down to certain characteristics…

Easy to Train and Eager to Learn

One of the most important qualities that a service dog should have is that they should be eager to learn. This means that the dog will genuinely enjoy the vigorous training processes involved, as they will always want to be learning more.

In order to be easy to train, a dog needs to have a certain level of intelligence. This means that they will pick up on new commands in no time at all, and will also naturally have a certain level of initiative.

Large and Sturdy

While there are many small dog breeds that make great service dogs, the very best breeds tend to be larger in size. This gives them the ability to perform more tasks, such as providing mobility assistance.

Larger dogs are also important when it comes to police and military jobs because, again, they are able to use their size to their advantage when performing physical tasks.

Gentle, Focused and Calm

A hyperactive, easily-excitable dog does not usually make a good service dog.


Because a service dog needs to be calm enough to not only follow every single command given but to also use their own initiative. Being easily distracted and over-excited means that a dog won’t be able to properly do this.

Gentleness is also an important trait. Being too rough around someone who has a physical disability could be catastrophic.

Here are Some of the Most Popular Types of Dog Breeds That Make Doggie Heros

As mentioned above, different breeds have their own unique qualities. This means that certain breeds tend to be more popular when it comes to training to be a service dog.

Which are the most popular service dog breeds?

Here are the top five:

Winner of the Medium Dog Breeds: The Cocker Spaniel

service animal black cocker spaniel standing next to person with rainbow socks

Happy, positive and fun to be around. It is not at all surprising that the Cocker Spaniel is considered by many to be the best medium-sized service dog breed.

These dogs were originally bred to work, meaning that they have plenty of stamina and focus. They are also extremely affectionate. They love to play, and enjoy a long cuddle, making them a great all-rounder.

The Ever Watchful German Shepherd

german shepherd wearing service animal vest

Highly intelligent, easy to train, brave and observant. It is no surprise that German Shepherds aka Alsations are not only one of the most popular dog breeds in general in the USA, but also one of the best service dog breeds.

Being natural herders, they make for great assistance dogs, and their large size and strength helps with this too.

Thanks to these well-balanced characteristics, German Shepherds are also frequently used by the military and law enforcement agencies for a number of different tasks.


The Loving and Loyal Labrador Retriever

four young labrador retriever colors

Originally bred as hunting dogs, Labrador Retrievers are one of the most intelligent breeds out there, and have such an eagerness to please.

It is hardly surprising that Labs are one of the most popular service dog breeds! They naturally love to carry items around and bring these back to their owner. Retrieving is a great skill for a service dog to have.

They are also natural problem-solvers. They can be trained to perform such a wide variety of tasks that require a dog to have a strong sense of initiative.

The Eager to Please Golden Retriever

girl in wheelchair petting golden retriever

Gentle, loving and loyal, Golden Retrievers make for truly dependable service dogs.

They are quick to learn new commands and are naturally obedient, making them such a trustworthy breed.

Just like Labrador Retrievers, Goldens are naturally inclined to carry items around, even if these may be heavier objects.

The Rough Collie aka Lassie Dog

service dogs rough collie wearing a service dog vest

Rough Collies are one of the best service dog breeds! These dogs love to work and have the determination and stamina required to do this over long periods of time. They are able to stay consistently alert, making it easy for their owners to really count on them when it comes to the tasks that they were trained to do.

They are also determined, obedient and easy to train. Collies thrive when given plenty of both physical and mental stimulation.

Rescue Dogs Have as Much to Offer as Any Other Dogs! If Not More!

When it comes to finding a new dog, whether this may be a service dog or a pet, many people often overlook rescue dogs, believing that these dogs won’t have the qualities that they are looking for.

However, if you take some time to actually meet some of the rescue dogs out there, you will likely find that they will surprise you…


Many people don’t realize just how much rescue dogs have to offer.

Their sense of appreciation at being given another chance at life can definitely be felt. Knowing that you have given a home to a dog who really needs one will give you such a rewarding feeling.

Adopt! Don’t Shop! Shelters are Overflowing with Different Breeds of Dogs That Will Make excellent ESAs or Service Dogs!

rescue dog in a shelter waiting for adotion

Think that rescue dogs don’t make good service dog breeds?

Think again!

There are so many rescue dogs out there that meet all the requirements mentioned earlier for what makes a good service dog.

There is also so much variety due to the extensive number of animal shelters out there. Not only when it comes to breeds, but also in terms of each dog’s personality.

It can often be advantageous to take on an adult rather than a puppy too. Puppies require much more training! They can be a lot of hard work for the first couple of years at least.

An adult dog will be more mature and calmer, and will likely already know the basics in obedience training. This means you can quickly move on to training a rescue dog in the specific tasks needed for service dog status.

While certain breeds may be more popular, every dog breed out there has the potential to be a loyal, trustworthy and affectionate service dog. The key is to study each dog’s individual characteristics. Every dog is truly unique and will have their own personality.

Already found your furever friend and want to make them an ESA so that you can always be together? Simply take CertaPet’s pre-screening, and you could have your ESA letter in as little as 48 hrs!

Common Questions the Best Service Dog Breeds

What do service dogs help with?

How do I know if a specific dog would be good at emotional support?

How can my dog become an emotional support animal?

Which breeds make the best service dogs?

Can a rescue dog be trained to be a service dog?

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