Fact file

Our guide dogs

  • The average working life of a guide dog is six to seven years. 
  • At the end of 2015, there were 4,994 guide dog owners in the UK.
  • We are responsible for around 8,000 dogs at any one time – active working guide dogs and those enjoying their retirement.
  • We breed in the region of 1,300 guide dog puppies each year.
  • We matched more than 843 people with a guide dog in 2015.

Our money

  • We rely on donations to continue our life-changing work. Every pound raised makes a difference to people in the UK living with sight loss.
  • It costs just under £55,000 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement.

Our work beyond guide dogs

  • Not everyone with sight loss wants or is suited to having a guide dog. Our innovative service, My Guide, equips volunteers with the skills to become a sighted guide to help people get out of their homes and back into the community.
  • We provide a number of services to support children and young people at all stages in their lives – from the challenges of getting an initial diagnosis, to finding the educational support that’s right for them, to finding the most appropriate technology that enables them to study and play – right through their journey into adulthood.
  • We campaign to end discrimination against people with sight loss. We are campaigning to stop people with guide dogs being refused access to services, places and vehicles; for audio visual announcements to be compulsory on new buses; and to end pavement parking.
  • We fund important research programmes, gathering evidence in fields from dog behaviour, psycho-social research to the built environment, that help us to develop services that will have the most positive impact on the lives of people living with sight loss.



The key facts and figures, all in one place

Below are PDFs of our key messages and related documents:

Changing Lives
Cost of a guide dog
Guide dog journey
How we raised and spent income
My Guide
Our dogs and breeds
Our staff
Our volunteers