What determines a successful match?

Matching is the process we use to carefully connect guide dog owners with their guide dogs to ensure a happy and successful partnership.

Our matching process is about forming bonds that change lives. By understanding your needs, as well as those of our guide dogs, we make sure your personalities, routines, and future plans align to create lasting partnerships.

On this page

Why careful matching is important

We take our time to match you with a guide dog who's the perfect fit for your individual needs. Only through careful choices and understanding both a guide dog owner and guide dog can we create a life-changing partnership that is right for you both.

Getting to know you

When you apply for a guide dog, you start by filling out an application form. This form asks about your lifestyle, preferences, and individual needs. An assessment then takes place to help us understand your mobility, daily routines, and expectations for your future guide dog partnership. This helps us find a guide dog who is just right for you, setting the stage for a strong partnership.

Meeting the needs of our guide dogs

It's not just about getting to know you, we also need to understand our guide dogs as individuals. Every one of our guide dogs has their own distinct personality, preferences, and needs. We believe in recognising each dog's uniqueness so that we can create the ideal match. We prioritise every dog's mental and physical health and wellbeing because a happy dog means a happier and more successful partnership for both of you. Finding the perfect match is like discovering a friend who truly understands you, and we strive to make those matches.

We also discuss your willingness and ability to provide the care and attention our dogs require to thrive not only in their working lives but also as individual dogs with unique personalities, preferences, and needs. We talk about how you would manage any potential health or wellbeing issues your guide dog may face and explore how these factors could impact your daily life and what options you have available should these situations arise.

Finding your match

Once we’ve identified your needs and goals, a panel of experts will discuss potential matches in a meeting called a ‘Case Review’. The panel will be made up of many different Guide Dogs staff, including Guide Dog Mobility Specialists, who are familiar with you and your needs. During this meeting, if a potential match is identified, we can arrange a matching meeting. 

The next steps in creating your partnership

After carefully selecting your guide dog based on your needs and lifestyle, we can begin the process of forming a strong emotional and working bond between you. We will assess factors such as temperament, size, health, energy levels, and do all we can to help build a successful partnership.

Get in touch

Call our Guide Line to speak to an expert who can provide information and advice - we're here to help. We're open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday (except bank holidays).

0800 781 1444