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Different Types of Service Dogs - Kinds of Service Dogs in 2022

Big Dog in a park wearing a black service dog vest

Service dogs are a special category of working dogs that show immense courage and skill on a daily basis.

They're specially trained to assist people with all kinds of disabilities, providing vital and often lifesaving support to those who need it most.

But what are the different types of service dogs and their jobs?

People are often surprised to learn that there are many different types of service dogs. These include guide dogs, autism service dogs, hearing dogs, diabetic alert dogs, seizure response dogs, medical alert dogs, allergy detection dogs, and PTSD dogs.

In this post we'll highlight the following service dogs and explain the vital roles they play:

1) Autism Service Dogs

2) Hearing Dogs

3) Diabetic Alert Dogs

4) Seizure Response Dogs

5) Guide Dogs

6) Allergy Detection Dogs

7) Mobility Assistance Dogs

8) PTSD Service Dogs

Ready to find out more about these hardworking types of service dogs? Let's take a look at their important jobs in more detail.

Types of Service Dogs

Autism Service Dogs

Golden retriever panting on a white table in a house

Autism service dogs are specially trained to assist people with autism by helping them gain independence and perform daily tasks. These courageous service dogs go through rigorous training in much the same way as guide dogs until they're ready to carry out their important role.

Children and adults on the autistic spectrum benefit from the daily efforts of autism service dogs. They are trained to perform a wide variety of important tasks including alerting the parents of an autistic child to a dangerous situation, interrupting harmful behavior, and alerting their handler to important noises.

Hearing Dogs

Black Cocker Spaniel laying on a wood floor next to a basket

Hearing dogs are selected and trained to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing. They act as the ears of their handler, alerting them to important sounds like smoke alarms, doorbells, alarm clocks, and ringing phones.

Breeds like golden retrievers, poodles, and cocker spaniels are often chosen for the role of hearing dogs because of their reliability and responsiveness to obedience training. Like guide dogs, hearing dogs are allowed access to anywhere the public is permitted in the US.

Diabetic Alert Dogs

For people with Diabetes, diabetic alert dogs provide a vital lifeline. Their amazing noses help them to detect changes in blood glucose levels in saliva and alert their handlers to dangerously high or low blood sugar levels.

This allows their handlers to take measures to control the situation – like taking insulin or consuming sugary foods. Many diabetic alert dogs are trained to alert others of a potentially dangerous medical situation or set off an alarm to assist their handler if they are in need of medical attention.

Seizure Response Dogs

Yellow Lab panting excitedly in a grass field on a sunny day

Seizure response dogs, also known as SRDs, assist during or immediately after their handler has a seizure. These service dogs are indispensable for people with epilepsy or those who are prone to other types of seizures.

Some of the many important tasks they are trained to perform include activating an emergency response alarm, retrieving a phone or medication, fetching someone to help in the event of a seizure, and physically removing a patient from a dangerous situation.

Guide Dogs

Seeing eye lab with a guide dog harness laying on a floor with well dressed people all around

Guide dogs are perhaps the best known of all types of service dogs. They are specially trained to help blind and visually impaired people navigate obstacles and get from one place to another.

References to guide dogs date back to the 16th century, but they became widespread in the US in the 1920s. Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds are often selected as guide dogs because of their calm temperaments and general trainability.

Allergy Detection Dogs

Allergy detection dogs are used by people with severe allergies that can cause them to go into anaphylactic shock just by touching tiny amounts of the substance they are allergic to.

These incredible service dogs are trained to sniff out the tiniest traces of allergens in the environment including peanuts, milk, eggs, and wheat. Allergy detection dogs are often paired with children with severe allergies to keep them out of danger and provide them with a sense of independence.

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Mobility Assistance Dogs

German Shepherd wearing a black service dog vest

Mobility assistance dogs are trained to assist people with mobility issues such as those who are wheelchair-dependent. They can perform a wide variety of tasks including pulling wheelchairs, opening and closing doors, bringing objects to people, and operating light switches.

Mobility assistance dogs have a huge impact on the lives of the people they help, increasing their confidence and allowing them to gain a greater sense of independence. Larger breeds are often well-suited to the role of mobility dogs as they are strong enough to support the weight of a person and help provide balance and stability.

PTSD Service Dogs

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can affect people who have been through a traumatic event. A specially trained PTSD dog can help its handler remain calm and deal with difficult emotional states. PTSD dogs can also interrupt destructive behavior and even remind their handlers to take medication.

People with PTSD may feel extremely paranoid and threatened on a daily basis, but the tireless work of these service dogs can provide them with a sense of security and help them regain confidence and rebuild their lives.

Got a story about how an amazing service dog has changed your life? We'd love to hear it. Drop us a note and tell us all about it in the comments section below.


What types of service dogs are there?

There are 8 types of service dogs. Autism Service Dogs, Hearing Dogs, Diabetic Alert Dogs, Seizure Response Dogs, Guide Dogs, Allergy Detection Dogs, Mobility Assistance Dogs, and PTSD Service Dogs.

What are service dogs used for?

The main task of the service dog is to help its owner in overcoming the difficulties caused by his illness. This can be PTSD, mobility impairment, also for blind people and for people who have hearing problems and others.

Which service dog types is right for you?

When choosing a service dog, you should be guided by which breed will better cope with the difficulties that are caused by your illness. Make a list of what you can’t cope with and see which dogs do better with their tasks.

What are the benefits of support dogs?

The benefits of service dogs are that they are well trained to help you with difficulties. Also, most people who were helped by service dogs were less susceptible to stress and depression.

How to understand that I need a support dog?

If you have psychological health problems, as well as problems with the sensory organs, problems such as autism, diabetes, and problems with movement, then you need a support dog. He will help you cope with difficulties.

Who can train my dog to become a service dog?

There are many professionals who will be able to properly train your dog so that it becomes a support dog. It can be difficult to train a dog yourself, so it’s worth entrusting it to a professional.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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