History of Tollgate

Guide Dogs bought its New outdoor dog kennels at the National Breeding Centrefirst brood bitch, a German Shepherd called Reiner, in 1959 and its breeding programme was founded a year later, in 1960, by the late Derek Freeman.

The breeding programme was founded at Tollgate House, just outside Leamington Spa in the Warwickshire countryside. Over the years kennels and dog care blocks have been built around the house, as well as special dog runs and play areas where breed stock dogs relax.

Our base of supportive volunteers who care for our breeding stock in their homes and volunteers has also grown to around 350. And, of course, the programme itself has grown and today Guide Dogs is the worlds largest breeder and trainer of working dogs.