Selection and monitoring of Breeding Stock

Crucial to the success of any breeding programme is the quality of the stock brought in to replace stock that retire or are removed. It is Guide Dogs aim to ensure the selection process is rigorous and comprehensive, such that only the very best dogs are added to the programme, in terms of both health and temperament. To this end we have dedicated staff whose role it is to supervise this thorough process throughout each stage of assessment.

Mum having ultrasound scan

All new (and existing) breeding stock require regular monitoring on an ongoing basis and a formalised process is used to facilitate such monitoring in an efficient and effective way. A Breed Review meeting takes place monthly to review all our breeding stock, their progeny and ancestors.

This enables us, in a formal context, to discuss issues and make decisions relating to all our stock, whilst in possession of all the necessary and relevant information, ensuring we establish sensible and pragmatic management of the programme. It is attended by experienced and specialist staff and advisors including the Head of Breeding, Head of Canine Services and Chief Veterinary Consultant.


It costs around £50,000 to breed, train and support a guide dog throughout its working life. The guide dog service receives no government funding, so we're completely reliant on the generosity of the public to support this life-changing work.

Retired Breeding Stock – next steps

Where we need to make the decision to retire a breeding male or female from the breeding programme, there is a careful process of assessment that follows in order to determine the best path for each individual dog. This takes into account the health and welfare of the dog and is in collaboration with professional staff/advisors and the volunteers involved in their care. In the first instance, where possible from a health, temperament and age perspective, we will seek to place the dog back into training, making excellent use of a precious canine resource or consider its use as a potential Buddy Dog. If this is not possible, we may consider liaising with other Assistance Dog Charities to determine if the dog may offer qualities that will be useful to that organisation and provide a valuable service to someone in need. If the dog is unsuitable for any of these options, we may rehome the dog to previous volunteer carers if that is what they would like or find an alternative pet home from a carefully vetted list of potential rehomers.


Puppy Walker Video

In this video Vicky, a volunteer puppy walker, explains some of the tasks that our puppy walkers perform. To view larger clip, click on the 'fullscreen' icon in the window.