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14 Best Service Dog Breeds, Big & Small (With Pictures)

Emma Braby Profile Picture

By Emma Braby

Service Dog Lab

A service dog has been specially trained to perform tasks that assist a disabled person. This can be any task that helps those suffering from physical, mental, sensory, intellectual, or other disabilities. They allow their master to live and travel independently and with dignity, all while giving the best cuddles, too!

The first record of humans utilizing service dogs is 74 CE, where a blind man in Pompeii is depicted walking around with a dog by his side. And day by day, we are still coming to realize how amazing dogs are in assisting us.

Here we have 14 of the best service dog breeds, all with pictures (because that’s why you’re here, right?). From guide dogs to hearing dogs and mobility assistance dogs. And autism support dogs to psychiatric service dogs, we found some of the best service dog breeds. And, in no particular order, here they are, including the best small service dog breeds and the best big service dog breeds.

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The 14 Best Service Dog Breeds

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Image By: Pxhere

The Labrador Retriever is the first dog breed that people usually think of when talking about service dog breeds, and is one of the original guide dogs. Not only is it America’s family favorite, but is also intelligent and eager to please their master. He is a versatile service dog who has been trained in almost every service role you can think of. Because he is good-natured and sturdy, he can also help to steady his master on their feet.

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever standing on the ground
Image By: Melanie Mai, Pixabay

The Golden Retriever is another popular service dog choice in almost every service field. He is super friendly, and because everyone knows how sweet he is, he makes a great service therapy dog for children in hospitals. Again, these guys are super intelligent and loyal to their masters. He loves to retrieve objects for those with mobility limitations. He is happy to chill with you wherever you need to be.

3. Poodle

Image credit:Pxhere

The Poodle is very intelligent and eager to please, and he is always looking for a new challenge or skill to conquer. Because of his hypoallergenic traits, he makes a fantastic service dog option for disabled people with slight dog allergies. The Poodle is usually mixed with other dog breeds for those that want another dog breed, but with the hypoallergenic doodle coat. Such as the Labradoodle or the Goldendoodle. The standard-sized Poodle is sturdier than the toy or miniature, but if you don’t need him for his strength, any size will do.

4. German Shepherd

black and red german shepherd
Image credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock

The German Shepherd is more commonly seen in law enforcement roles, but he also makes a great service dog. He can work in any service field, but he makes an excellent option for those with mental disabilities such as PTSD or anxiety. If you’re looking for good psychiatric service dog breeds, you may want to look into a German Shepherd. This is because of the strong one-man bond that he develops with his master, making them feel super special and loved. He is very bright and he picks up commands quickly.

5. American Pitbull Terrier

American Pitbull Terrier
Image credit: Pxhere

The American Pitbull Terrier is a controversial service dog, but for those that know the breed, know that he makes one of the best ones. This guy is another pooch that could work in most service fields. He particularly excels as an emotional therapy dog soothing anxiety or panic attacks in his master. He is super loyal, smart, and loving. The only concern is the negative and unfair prejudice this guy faces.

6. Border Collie

Border Collie
Image credit: Pxhere

The Border Collie is often linked to the world of herding. But as he is the most intelligent dog breed in the world, it isn’t surprising that it is now more common for him to be used as a service dog. The Collie is known to be aloof with strangers but forms a close bond with his master, which is why he makes an excellent therapy dog. Because of his herding behavior, he is not the best therapy dog for small or unfamiliar children.

7. Great Dane

Great Dane
Image credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

Great Danes are one of the tallest breeds in the canine kingdom, and he is sturdy, too. Meaning that he makes an excellent guide dog, or useful for owners who need a gentle help standing. Because of his likeness to Scooby-Doo, he is a big hit with children and makes a great therapy dog in hospitals. Great Danes are known to drool a lot, so this might not be the best match for those who aren’t a fan of drooly dogs.

8. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog
Image credit: Pxhere

The Bernese Mountain Dog was traditionally used as a cart puller, so if you need a wheelchair puller, this could be the breed for you. He is powerful and loves to be worked, and he enjoys being put to good use. He is a big softie too, and because he is eager to please his master, he loves to do whatever you need him to. He is intelligent and picks up commands quickly, and it helps that he is super cute.

9. Chihuahua

Image credit: Pxhere

Yes, you read that right, the Chihuahua. Although he is known to be a little stubborn, if you start his training early, you could be in with the chance of transforming him into a fantastic service dog. He is small enough to sit on your lap, and an excellent service pooch alternative if you don’t have the room for a bigger dog. If you need the best small service dog breeds, look no further. The Chihuahua currently holds the Guinness world record for being the smallest police dog in the world. So, he has already proven he is worthy of great things!

10. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher
Image credit: Pxhere

This is another pooch that has earned an unfair reputation over the years. But again, for those that know the Doberman Pinscher breed, he is another big softie who is sickly sweet and affectionate. He will form a tight bond with his master, which is why he excels at being an emotional support dog. Thanks to his sturdy stature, he can also assist those who need a helping hand moving about.

11. Bloodhound

Image credit: Pxhere

The Bloodhound has one of the best canine noses in the world. Despite our technological advances, we have yet to create a scenting device as accurate as his nose. He can detect a change in his master’s pheromones, be that an incoming panic attack or a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels. Meaning he makes a fantastic service dog for those who need advance warning of their health concerns. He is also super calm and laidback and calms his owner down while they wait for it all to pass.

12. Newfoundland

Image credit: Pandas, Shutterstock

The Newfoundland is a gentle giant who makes another fantastic therapy dog. He is a big cuddly canine bear who loves to be around children and other humans. He needs a lot of grooming and washing, but because he doesn’t need too much exercise, he is generally an easy-going dog. He can offer stable body support as well as assist with jobs around the home, such as opening doors and fridges, and even the laundry!

13. Samoyed

Image credit: Pxhere

This fluffy ground cloud is one of the newest additions to the world of service dogs. The Samoyed’s intelligence and willingness to learn are proving to be a big hit with those who need a smaller pooch. The Samoyed is eager to assist with chores in the home where he can and loves to snuggle up close with his human making them feel at ease. The only issue you might face is that everyone will want to pet him, so be sure to get him a service dog jacket.

14. English Bull Terrier

English Bull Terrier
Image By: Bundit Yuwannasiri, Shutterstock

Just like the American Pitbull Terrier, the English Bull Terrier is an underdog who has acquired a very unfair reputation. But the reality is, is that when trained well, this guy is one of the biggest softies in the world, and he loves to be around humans. He always has a smile on his long face, and he is very comical, bringing joy to all that meet him. He is intelligent, and his stubbornness can be overcome by thorough early training.

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The Wrap Up

Ultimately, any dog breed who is intelligent and eager to please his master can become a service dog and excel at it. The dog breeds in this list are by far some of the most popular. But there are many more out there.

So, whether you are on the lookout for your own service dog, or you are wondering whether your four-legged best bud could become one, we hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article.

Remember readers, that no matter how cute service dogs are and how much you want to stroke them, they are in the middle of a very important job. So please don’t disturb them unless you have their owner’s permission.

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Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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