Service dogs come in all sizes and colors, but there are some breeds that are better suited to being service dogs than others. If you would like to buy a dog with the intention of turning it into a service dog, you absolutely need to keep breed in mind. Here are four breeds that tend to make excellent service dogs due to their temperaments and trainability.
With their long, golden coats and pleasant temperaments, golden retrievers are hard not to love. They are very common as pets in the United States, but they also make great service dogs and assistance dogs. You do not have to worry about their temperament around strangers -- they are as kind to others as they are to members of your family. Golden retrievers are large enough to support some of your weight if you need to lean on them at times. They are easy to train to a wide range of commands in a short period of time, and they enjoy being challenged, so you will wake up every morning to a dog who is happy to do its job.
Golden retrievers can be prone to arthritis, especially as they age, so this is something to think about if you need a dog who remains agile and strong. Some also develop cataracts, which may get in the way if you rely on the dog's vision for service commands.
Labradors are also known for their kind, accepting personalities. They come in golden, black, and chocolate colors, and they also vary in size. You can find some smaller labs that are around 50 pounds and larger ones closer to 100 pounds. So whether you live in an apartment or in a larger home, a lab is an option.
Labs become very attached to their owners and will quickly form a bond with the person whom they serve. However, they do not tend to be defensive -- you don't have to worry about them growling or harming those who may approach you. They are highly intuitive, so they make excellent seizure detection dogs and seeing eye dogs.
Border collies are a bit higher-energy than labs and golden retrievers, so they are a good choice if you need a service dog that will run and find someone when you're injured or keep up with an energetic child. They are very easy to train, but they do need a place where they can exercise when they are not working. If you live in an apartment, a border collie would not be the right service dog for you -- though they work wonderfully for people with big yards.
Border collies are kind and gentle with children and make excellent emotional support dogs. Some people also use them as seizure detection dogs and diabetes alert dogs.
The Irish setter is not a very popular breed in the United States, but if you can manage to find a well-bred one, there is a good chance it will make an excellent service dog. They are patient, obedient, and they aim to please. They are also agile with high stamina, so they can work all day without tiring. Most are large enough to support your weight from time to time if needed.
Irish setters do mature more slowly than the other dogs on this list, so you will need to be patient if you get a puppy. They do require regular brushing to keep their longer coats tangle-free.
All of the breeds above make excellent personal service dogs. However, temperaments vary widely even between members of the same breed, so make sure you get to know each puppy you're considering before making the decision.
For more information about making your dog a service dog, contact companies like USA Service Dogs.