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AstroChuck's avatar

Why are guide dogs almost always German Shepherds or Yellow Labs?

Asked by AstroChuck (37438points) June 27th, 2009

At least that’s how it seems. And why not black Labs as well? I can only recall seeing yellow Labrador Retrievers (and the occasional Labradoodle).

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25 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Noticed the same thing and now I am curious.

asmonet's avatar

Funny, I always see black dogs around here.

The only two I can remember the breed of offhand is a Golden Retriever, rode the same bus as me. And a Black Lab one of my teachers had.

loser's avatar

Actually, they quit using German Shepherds. They now use a mix of Labrador Retreivers and Golder Retreivers because they seem to work out the best.

loser's avatar

It’s basically trainability. They found that the German Shephers were too reactive in public. I live within a mile of their headquarters and they are so hurting for funds right now. It’s sad…

casheroo's avatar

Well, I’ve had a couple beagles in my life. I know they make great drug and food sniffing dogs at the airport. But I imagine if left with a blind person, and with the ability to open the fridge, all the blind persons food would be gone.

AstroChuck's avatar

Plus a Beagle would be too small.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with @loser about trainability – although, last week I saw a Great Dane as a service dog for a blind gentleman.

casheroo's avatar

We had a very large beagle. Why would size matter?

casheroo's avatar

@cprevite I’ve seen great danes as well. And another dog that was so huge I don’t even know what it was. It came into a restaurant I worked at and was at least 3.5 feet tall and just gigantic.

AstroChuck's avatar

@casheroo- Why would size matter?
I suppose it wouldn’t if you were 3’ 10” tall.. Bring on the Chihuahuas.

casheroo's avatar

@AstroChuck Do blind people not use leashes? I have a min pin, I’m not 2’.

jrpowell's avatar

A word of advice.. Never pet a guide dog. I found this out the hard way. I was at a bus stop after getting off work and petted one. The owner freaked and was like, “Do you want my dog to drag me into traffic if someone looks like they will pet him?”

I felt pretty bad about that. But I had never considered it.

Sorry about the derail.

asmonet's avatar

@AstroChuck: What if it was a really tiny blind person?
Never mind, Fluther is updating slow for me.

casheroo's avatar

@johnpowell so true! I’ve seen dogs with signs on them to not touch them. And people still try to talk to the dogs, which isn’t a good thing either.

rooeytoo's avatar

The important point to note is that they almost exclusively use dogs they breed from their own chosen bloodlines. The average golden or lab or shepherd you see walking down the street would not meet their criteria.

Service dogs are basically pets who have completed obedience and temperament testing.

cookieman's avatar

@casheroo: yeah, this Great Dane was MASSIVE.

AstroChuck's avatar

@casheroo- You don’t use a leash with a guide dog. The blind person isn’t taking the dog for a walk. The dog is there to guide them so they hold on to a handle that’s attached to the harness.

asmonet's avatar

And what the hell is a bling person? ;)

casheroo's avatar

@asmonet shut up! lol

@astrochuck Oh, when I think guide dog, the ones I’ve seen, they have these harnesses on and sort of like a hard rein going around their back. like most of the dogs in these pictures

cookieman's avatar

Right. A hard leather harness, similar to a saddle.

loser's avatar

I actually wondered at one point why they don’t use Greyhounds but then the image of a dog running off and dragging this poor blind person came to mind…

sandystrachan's avatar

Cause dogs like the Labrador are clever , brainy and fast and good at learning . They are also rather good at looking out for people .

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