We mainly breed Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and purpose-bred first crosses. Known for their intelligence and steady, friendly nature, these breeds make excellent guide dogs.
We also breed a small number of German Shepherds & Standard Poodles. The interesting thing about Standard Poodles is they may be used in a home where someone is allergic to dog hair.
Each litter is named after a letter from the alphabet and each litter follows in alphabetical order.
It takes about 18-20 months to train a guide dog from birth. At nine weeks each puppy is placed with a wonderful volunteer puppy walker. Their role is to help the pup develop confidence and introduces them to situations they might face as a guide dog. After around 12 months they return to the guide dog centre for six months of intensive training and assessment.
Guide dogs can go to most public places, including restaurants, offices, clinics, hospitals, shops, cinemas & hotels. They can also travel on public transport – including buses, planes, ferries, ships, trains, taxis and shuttles.
There are some places a guide dog can’t go; these include some animal enclosures at zoos and hospital departments such as burns units, oncology and intensive care wards.
Our puppies on the puppy development programme, our dogs in training and our breeding stock and pups in the breeding centre eat up to three tonnes of premium dog food per month!
We operate every day of every year as our dogs and pups need constant care and attention.
Guide dogs at different stages wear different coats and equipment. Guide dog puppies in training, stud dogs and brood bitches are often identified by their red coat. Working guide dogs can be recognized by their harnesses and golden medallions. All of our Handlers also carry an official ‘passport’.
Once a dog retires, they enjoy a leisurely life. Often, that’s with the people who have played an important part in the dog’s life such as the handler or Puppy Walker. Sometimes they go to a new family.