What Breed to Get?

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.


Member Since
Barked: Thu Jul 24, '14 6:15pm PST 
I'm planning on getting a psychiatric service dog for issues with severe anxiety and such. red face

However, I don't know what breed to get!

I've narrowed it down to :
A sheltie
A smooth collie
An australian sheperd
A dalmatian
A labrador

I live in Miami so don't know how these dogs will react in the heat,the pressure of being a service dog, my other dogs, or my small animals in the house.

If anyone has any knowledge on these dogs or another medium sized breed with a medium energy level (no more than 65 lbs) please tell me!

P.S: Does anyone have any experience with Paws of Mind ? I think it looks real, but wanted to make sure.

hamster dancehamster danceshrugsnoopy

Edited by author Thu Jul 24, '14 6:37pm PST


Member Since
Barked: Thu Jul 24, '14 9:30pm PST 
hey, i'm in the same boat looking for a PSD for anxiety and depression. i'm from GA and have been wondering about paws of mind too! you could also check out Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs in FL and Canine Assistants in GA.

sorry i don't have much to say to help with the breed thing. i'm going to be looking for a medium-large breed, so i'd appreciate being let in on whatever you find!


Edited by author Thu Jul 24, '14 9:31pm PST


Member Since
Barked: Sun Jul 27, '14 5:20pm PST 

I haven't heard of those organizations before, i'll be sure to look them up happy dance

and i hope you have good luck in finding a good service dog too smile

Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Thu Aug 7, '14 4:04pm PST 
I feel sick every time I hear someone thinking to get a dog from a breeder. Because every time I come on here or on face book I see another post about a beautiful dog being killed. Because someone decided it was too old or they were moving or something worse. They just did not want it anymore. Dogs from shelters are just as good if not sometimes better then a dog from a breeder.
It is not always a breed that makes the dog it is the love you put in to the dog that makes the dog.
That is my feeling about it all...
Griffin - SD CGC

I love everyone!
Barked: Wed Aug 13, '14 11:59pm PST 
All of the breeds you mentioned, except for smooth collie (which I would consider med.-high), are high energy.

Shelties and aussies are going to be a bit harder to keep cool in Miami weather, as double coated breeds like these should never be shaved. They would be even hotter if you ever shaved them down. I would suggest looking into english labradors. They are typically much healthier and much smaller (50-65lbs when at a healthly weight, breeders keep their show dogs fat. I've seen some even smaller females) than the 80lb+ american labs. I train english labs for a program, and they make fantastic service dogs.

Personally, I use a collie. I breed and show them as well, and am very familiar with the breed. Mine is a small male at about 70lbs. Females tend to be quite a bit smaller than males averaging at 65lbs. Collies may be a bit bigger than you want, but they are the most relaxed dogs and are real couch potatoes. They tend to not need a lot of food and are picky eaters. Mine only eats about 3-3.5 cups of food a day, he refuses any more than that. They love to help (sometimes to the point of getting in the way lol) and follow you around like puppies.

Member Since
Barked: Sun Aug 17, '14 11:55pm PST 
Of those breeds I agree a smooth collie would be best. I would also look at Standard Poodles. A bit more maintenance to keep the coat nice, but you can easily learn to do a basic pet trim at home. They are very intelligent and easy to train, shed a lot less then most breeds, and are generally very healthy, making them ideal for service dog work.
Queen- Belladonna- PSD

I'm a Queen who- works like a- pesant
Barked: Sat Aug 23, '14 9:01pm PST 
You might look into a lab mix. My husband and I both have SDiTs they are brother and sister German Shepherd Lab mixes. Last year when they were vaccinated they were 68 pounds for Tank the male and 58 pounds for Bella the female. I know that sounds a bit big but they are hard working dogs and love to work.
Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Sat Sep 13, '14 7:31pm PST 
Dalmations have a tendency to have health issues as well as a couple others you mentioned. As I said I have issues with people who do not consider a shelter dog first. Labs have temperment as well a couple others you listed. Collie and the other breed any with long hair will have problems in the heat of Fl. I have a Bully breed dog (bull mastiff X with Amer.Staffy )She is wonderful but the black gets her in trouble with summer heat. I am telling people who are starting out that getting a pup form the shelter not only gives you a greatful dog but a good start with witch if you get it a lil older will have the basics already covered. Most shelters now have volenteer trainers who come and work with the dogs. They can tell you how well they are with their basics. If I can I will be going to the shelter for my next dog.
Breezy- CGC-PAT- Program SD

I'm not a dog! I- am a 50lb cat!
Barked: Tue Oct 7, '14 6:58pm PST 
I know nobody has posted in here for a while but....Breezy is a fantastic Service Dog and one of the laziest I have ever seen she literally sleeps all day while I am in my college classes. I would recommend a Siberian Husky, They do shed ALOT, but they max out at about 50-60lbs and I live in AZ. Breezy is slightly more tired in the heat but it is not like I leave her outside. When I go in she goes in; so heat really isn't a factor. In fact I know quite a few people who are training ones that they rescued from shelters to be a SD.shocklaugh out loud
Brigantia - CGC CGCA

The Baby Bear
Barked: Tue Oct 7, '14 7:28pm PST 
In my opinion your best bet would be a Labrador. They're easy to train, generally sweet tempered around everything, and pretty low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Like someone else suggested a Spoodle would be worth looking into too. smile

Get a dog from wherever you feel most comfortable. For some it's a breeder, others prefer rescue. Frankly it's hard enough to get a good fit for Service work even when going with a dog from an excellent breeder, let alone when it comes to the russian roulette of picking from a shelter. Not that it can't be done, but I personally have just found it doesn't stack the odds in my favor.

Sadie, you've touched on a sore spot for me. To be blunt, you are wrong. Some dogs simply are not cut out to be SDs, no matter how much love you put into them they will never be comfortable working in public, and it is not only unkind to them but dangerous for the handler to do so. Breed DOES play a huge factor in temperament, yes, there are outliers, but each breed has a distinct personality. My Newfie will never have a burning urge to herd sheep. My hound will never feel the need to be velcroed to my hip. It's characteristics of their breeds. A good breeder not only will have outstanding examples of their breed, tested and cleared for genetic health concerns, but will be able to match the person with the puppy that will best work for their needs. A dog from a good breeder will never end up in a shelter, because the breeder is always there to take it back.

Furthermore, while shelter trainers and volunteers do their best to know the dogs in their care it's an overwhelming task. I was told that Holly did will with dogs, cats and children. She chases cats and has ongoing issues with dog reactivity. There are many issues that simply are not apparent when a dog is in the stressful shelter environment. As I said before, it isn't that there are no good candidates in shelters, but for myself, having both rescued and gotten from a breeder, I find the latter is my preference. Far less of a guessing game. Either way, rescue or breeder, do lots of research!

Best of luck with finding your candidate! They are such lifesavers and well worth all the time and effort!