What are the best service dog breeds? It’s a common misconception that only certain breeds can be service dogs and that they need to be one of these purebred breeds. However, this is not the case, as there are many mixed-breed service dogs as well. Mixed-breed service dogs are often preferred due to their not being inbred, as many purebred breeds now are – leading to many health issues. Mixed breed dogs may exhibit the desirable characteristics of both breeds.
Putnam Service Dogs believes that what matters the most is not the dog’s breed, but the head and heart of the dog. It’s critical that the dog has the right temperament and ability to be trained, a strong work ethic, is confident and focused, and is social and comfortable in many different situations. Although they might not be a labrador, golden, or shepherds, mixed-breed service dogs can provide assistance to people in the same way that a purebred dog would.
Most of the Service Dogs Schools in the US do breed their own dogs to enhance desirable traits and the health and longevity of the dogs. Even with careful, sophisticated breeding and genetics techniques used, there’s a graduation rate of only 30-40% of their dogs.
Meanwhile, there’s a huge overpopulation of dogs in the US, with 3.9 Million of them entering shelters each year. About 390,000 of them are euthanized each year. (statistics provided by ASPCA). Putnam Service Dogs trains shelter and rescue group dogs to help contribute to the solution of dog overpopulation in this country.
A Rare Type of Dog
Service Dogs are a rare type of dog, almost not a dog, as service dog trainers say. Service Dogs can’t stop and sniff anything of interest to them. They have to be confident so they’re able to walk through a crowd of strangers, encounter new situations, and not easily be startled or spooked. They have to be focused, with a strong work ethic – willing to focus on their handler to the exclusion of other dogs, nap time, and other diversions. They’re taught to pee and poop on cue, not to use it to mark territory. Dogs serving recipients with physical disabilities other than blindness have to be calm, lower energy, and very trainable.
Unfortunately, smart dogs tend to be high energy dogs, and low energy dogs tend to be not very trainable. Service dogs can not be aggressive, either with other dogs or people. They need a low prey drive. Most Service Dog Schools use labs and retrievers, and/or a mix of the 2 breeds, as they have the highest success rate of graduating as service dogs. Hearing assistance dogs tend to be smaller, and higher energy – always on alert for sounds. They’re commonly terriers.
Are Mixed Breed Service Dogs Preferred?
There are many advantages to having a mixed-breed service dog. Let’s check these out in more detail below with Putnam Service Dogs:
In many instances, mixed-breed service dogs have much better health than purebred service dogs – fewer incidents of hip dysplasia and other inbred health issues that now plague most purebred breeds. The small genetic pool of purebred dogs is a problem. If there’s 500 dogs in a breed before its book is closed – (additional registered dogs of that breed are limited to those 500 dogs’ offspring), the breed suffers from health problems. After 10 generations of breeding, which doesn’t take long, it’s like breeding siblings.
Mixed Breeds are Excellent Service Dogs
There is a common misconception that only purebred dogs can be service dogs. Putnam Service Dogs cherry picks their dogs carefully from rescue groups, rather than ending up with a whole litter of purepbred pups through breeding. Not all siblings in a litter are equal in their ability to become service dogs so service dog schools’ breeding brings many non-service dogs into the dog population.
Putnam Service Dogs is committed to training mixed breed rescue dogs. We search for healthy young dogs in shelters and rescue groups who exhibit the necessary traits; the right head and heart. Dogs selected by Putnam Service Dogs that don’t prove capable of becoming service dogs are carefully adopted out by our staff. These dogs’ attractiveness as pets is improved by the socialization and training they’ve received from volunteers and training staff at Putnam Service Dogs.
Putnam Service Dogs enhances both the lives of the shelter dogs it adopts, and their Service Dog Recipients and their families. The 2nd sentence of Putnam Service Dogs’ Mission Statement is: We champion the nurturing bond between dogs and humans.
Do you have a passion for dogs, a desire to help others, and a heart full of love? If so, you might be the perfect fit to raise a future service dog. Become a Volunteer Puppy Raiser Today