Born to Guide is a pioneering project launched by Guide Dogs to help us better understand our dogs’ genes, to the benefit of dog breeding programmes and overall welfare.
The project involves gathering genome data from thousands of our dogs. The data will be used to create a large database which will be examined alongside extensive information we have on our dogs’ health and behaviour using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and machine learning.
The project will enable us to understand more about dog genetics, health and behaviour.
What are the benefits of Born to Guide?
The benefits from this research will apply not just to Guide Dogs here in the UK, but to organisations who use working dogs worldwide, as well as being of relevance to the wider dog population and so of interest to vets, researchers into canine behaviour, health and wellbeing, and dog owners everywhere.
Not only will Born to Guide help us in breeding happy, healthy dogs, but the AI methods created during this project could also be applied in other areas, including human genetics and health.
Thus, this project may help researchers to identify complex relationships between genes, health and behaviour, not only in dog populations but potentially within society as a whole.
The application of knowledge accrued from this project will benefit our breeding programme today and improve the health and wellbeing of generations of guide dogs to come. It could help us understand new and unanticipated diseases or behavioural patterns, too.
By sharing our results with researchers worldwide, we can support the health and welfare of dogs everywhere.
Meet the Born to Guide team
Help us improve the lives of guide dogs and those who need them
This project can bring significant and wide-ranging longer-term benefits, but the research is complex, and we need your support to help make these benefits a reality. For Guide Dogs, these benefits will be reflected in the wellbeing of our dogs and increased success rates for our dogs completing their training. This research will also help support dog welfare more widely and we will share the results of our research to do so.
We are already collecting health and behaviour information on our dogs, but we are limited in what we can do with that data – we know some conditions and behaviours have a genetic link, but we don’t yet know what those links are. An extensive genomics database would allow us to make better breeding decisions that lead to happy, healthy dogs who can better support the people who rely on them.
Ways you can support our project
Provide funds to support the project, with associated benefits relative to the level of funding.
Skills, Capability and Expertise Partner
Bring specific skills, services or knowledge to the project that would otherwise have to be procured commercially and/or which would support the scope and quality of this research.
For more information
If you would like more information about the project please contact us at: