The history of Guide Dogs

Fact!

The first known example of a special relationship between a dog and a blind person was depicted in a first-century AD mural in the ruins of Roman Herculaneum.

The Guide Dogs story started in 1931 with two amazing British pioneers, Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond. These remarkable women organised the training of the first four British guide dogs from a humble lock up garage in Wallasey, Merseyside.

We’ve come a very long way since those early days. Today Guide Dogs is the world's largest breeder and trainer of working dogs. And thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers – and your vital donations – we’ve helped over 29,000 people to achieve life-changing independence.

Want to dig deeper? We’ve got a fascinating history of dogs used as guides for blind people that covers Roman times to the present day.

The next 80 years and beyond

We may have a long and fascinating history, but our story is always evolving. Over the coming years we’re looking to increase the number of guide dog partnerships, but we’re also developing a broader range of services that will help more people who are blind and partially sighted to get out and about on their own terms. 

If you want to find out more about our vision for the future, the Guide Dogs Strategy 2018-2023 is the place to start. If you think you’d like to help us achieve our goals, you’ll find plenty of options in our 'How you can help' section.

Derek Freeman 1925 -1991
Derek Freeman 1925 -1991

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Want to find out more? Read the history of Guide Dogs Read the history of Guide Dogs