Canines Called to Serve: 7 Most Popular Service Dog Breeds

A blind man and his golden retriever dog are outdoors on a sunny day. The service dog is helping his owner move around.

Many think of patient German Shepherds or easily trainable Labrador Retrievers when they picture a service dog, but almost any dog can become a service animal with the proper training. With that said, some breeds have an obvious advantage over others.  

Though service dogs come in all shapes and sizes, certain breeds with relevant breed characteristics respond well to service training. Here are seven of the most popular options for a dog with a job. 

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are calm, friendly, and very intelligent. All of these qualities add up to make a perfect service dog. 

The Golden Retriever’s size is ideal for performing more physical tasks like pushing buttons, opening doors, and supporting the weight of their owners. Golden Retrievers instinctively enjoy the challenge of learning a new skill, which makes them well suited for service training. 

These sunny-looking dogs are also well-known for their gorgeous coats, ranging from the classic honey-golden to variations like English Cream Golden Retrievers. No matter what color your dog is, they’re sure to enjoy serving you. 

German shepherds

Another highly prized service dog breed is the German Shepherd. German Shepherds were some of the first recorded service dogs in history, meaning their pedigree has hundreds of years of experience. These versatile dogs are clever, trainable, and eager to work. 

German Shepherds are highly-focused and physically strong, but these advantages also require a lot of exercise and attention from their owners

Labrador retrievers

Labs served as fishing dogs in the 19th century. This working dog background helps make Labrador Retrievers one of the most popular service dogs in the world.

Labs thrive when they have a purpose or a job. This temperament makes for an ideal service animal.

Grooming a Lab is easy for people with disabilities as their short coats make grooming simple compared to many other dog breeds. 

Bernese mountain dogs

The gentle, dutiful Bernese Mountain dog naturally excels as a service dog because they are affectionate, eager-to-please, and physically strong. 

Bernese dogs have a calm demeanor, working well with other animals and children. These lovable dogs can easily stay focused in stressful situations and busy spaces. 

Bred initially in Switzerland, Berners are incredibly strong. Some bigger Bernese pups can lift around 2000 lbs, meaning there’s no task they can’t handle. 

Doberman pinschers

Doberman Pinschers are known as some of the most trainable dog breeds available. Dobermans genuinely enjoy working with handlers and can perform very complex tasks. 

These tough-as-nails dogs are best partnered with adults because of their history as guard dogs. 

The coat of a Doberman Pinscher is easy to care for because it is short, smooth, and shiny. Dobermans also shed very little, which is a nice bonus.

Great Danes

Great Danes need less exercise and stimulation than some dog breeds to thrive. 

When you think of service dogs, these gentle giants might not immediately come to mind, but their extra-large size and kind demeanor make Great Danes the perfect candidates. 

Great Danes are strong enough to open doors, pull wheelchairs, and act as guide dogs for the blind. The Dane’s even temper makes them well suited to aid people with psychological complications 


While some people might be intimidated by a Boxer’s looks, they are some of the gentlest, kindest dogs you will ever meet. 

Boxers have historically been used as guard dogs, so they are very protective and observant. Properly trained Boxers can focus their watchdog skills to serve their owners better. 

These distinct-looking dogs are famously intelligent and loyal, which makes for an incredible guard dog. 

The final word

Any dog you can train and has the proper temperament can become a successful service dog. 

The dogs on this list are the most popular service dog breeds because of their suitable traits, but many other breeds out there can be working dogs. 


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