Guide dogs have a natural calmness of mind and will ignore distractions from passers-by while not attacking them. And when it comes to guide dogs, our first breed in mind is Labrador. So why is Labrador the most competent and commonly employed guide dog?
Labrador retriever dogs
The Labrador, also known as the Labrador Retriever, is a medium-sized dog breed named for its origin in the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is one of the top three non-aggressive dogs, along with the Siberian Sled and the Golden Retriever. Labrador’s IQ is the sixth highest among all the dog breeds in the world. Its iconic personality includes loyalty, gentility, cheerfulness and friendliness.
Labrador Retrievers always are born in four colors: black, yellow, chocolate, and beige, with black and yellow as the most commonly seen. The Labrador is by far the most registered breed in the American Kennel Club, and is especially friendly to children and clingy to their owners.
5 Reasons why Labradors stand as the best guide dogs:
1. Moderate body size
The Labrador is a medium-sized dog, with a height of 22 to 24 inches and a weight of 55 to 75 pounds upon maturity. The size is neither too big nor too small, and the length of the limbs is also perfectly matched to its body, unlike those large or small dogs that can easily trip people up. So the Labrador is more suitable for blind people to pull and control.
2. Good memory
One of the most vital skills of a guide dog is the memorizing ability, because it sometimes needs to guide its owner and remember the route clearly in order for a safe journey to the destination. And Labradors’ outstanding sense of memory makes them stand out as the most ideal candidate of being the "eyes" of the blind. Such capabilities can be proven by numerous examples when dog owners find it much easier and less time-consuming to train Labradors with some commands.
3. Mild temperament
The Labrador is among the least aggressive dog breeds to humans, which is a crucial factor for its suitability as a guide dog. Its gentility and calmness enables itself to be less easily affected by external stimuli, and it will not leave its owner alone, nor will it signal aggressiveness to people. Even if you step on its tail accidentally, the Labrador will just move to another place and will never try to show hostility to you, let alone to attack you.
4. Powerful self-control
Labradors have strong self-control, a characteristic that allows them to remain calm throughout the guide process and avoid external distractions. But even an extremely composed dog cannot resist the temptation of food, so when you meet a guide dog, please try not to lure it with food to avoid unnecessary distress to the adorable guide pup and the blind.
5. Hassle-free care
There has been a standpoint that Golden Retrievers could replace Labradors as guide dogs, because they share the same level of temperament, intelligence, and obedience as Labradors. But in fact, Golden Retrievers’ hair is too long and they do shed a lot! The Labrador, on the other hand, is a short-haired dog so it is way easier to take care of.
The Labrador Retriever is indeed the top-notch dog breed as guiding the blind in darkness, both physically and mentally. Be that as it may, Labradors are also susceptible to a number of diseases including hip dysplasia, vision problems, heart illnesses, and epilepsy. This also requires the owner to take extra care of Labradors. They have devoted wholeheartedly to becoming our best friends and guide dogs with the highest sense of responsibility. We are obliged to give these “labradorable” pups our best care and love in return.