Dual Purpose Dogs

A dual purpose dog is trained to perform more than one role for a person with additional disabilities.

Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs have been working together collaboratively since 2003, when we established the first dual purpose partnership in the UK. Angela, who has a dual sensory sight and hearing loss, was trained with her dual purpose dog Roddy. As well as assisting with her mobility and helping her to get out and about, Roddy can alert Angela to sounds in her home such as the smoke alarm, doorbell, oven timer and alarm clock. Despite the challenges she faced, Angela is now able to live independently, and it's all thanks to Roddy.

Dual purpose dogs are specifically trained to meet the needs of people who have a significant hearing impairment and are blind or partially sighted. If you have difficulty getting around due to your sight, and you have moderate to profound hearing loss that prevents you hearing everyday sounds in your home, then you could benefit from a dual purpose dog.

Once dual purpose dogs complete their training, they must learn how to work with their new owner over the course of several weeks. Those who have trained with a dual purpose dog say that the training process requires a lot of commitment and patience, but if you succeed, it can make a real difference to your life.

If you are interested in our dual purpose dogs service, we can arrange a no-obligation visit to explain the service in more detail and answer any questions you may have.  We want to communicate with you in the best way possible and can do this alongside your preferred interpreter, communication support worker or other language service professional. Alternatively we can arrange for a suitably qualified interpreter to support during any visits. This will help us to assess your individual needs and see if a dual purpose dog would be right for you and your lifestyle.

Guide Dogs has also trained other dual purpose dog partnerships in collaboration with other Assistance Dogs UK Charities. If you would like to know more about this work, please contact your local Guide Dogs Mobility Team.

If you would like to read the above information in PDF format, please use the link below:

Dual Dog Leaflet PDF (404KB)

Enquire about dual dogs

You, or someone on your behalf, can request more information by contacting either Guide Dogs or Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

To apply, call Guide Dogs on 0345 1430229

Calls to our Mobility teams will cost 3 pence per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge.

Alternatively, call Hearing Dogs on 01844 348111 (voice and minicom) or email: applications@hearingdogs.org.uk.

More information is also available at the Hearing Dogs website.

Guide Dogs offer dual guide dog training to under 18's through guide dogs for children and young people service.


There are currently 25 dual dog partnerships in the UK (end of 2013), and we receive around 30 enquiries every year from people who have a dual sensory loss.


Enquire about a Dual Dog

Phone either Guide Dogs 0345 1430229 or Hearing Dogs 01844 348111 (voice and minicom. Email guidedogs@
or applications@

Calls to our Mobility teams will cost 3 pence per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge.


Angela with her dual purpose dog Roddy

Order a DVD

We can also send you a DVD, produced with an audio soundtrack as well as British Sign Language and subtitles, which explains the benefits of working with a dual purpose dog. The information on this DVD is also available in print, large print or Braille, and can be sent via e-mail if you prefer. Contact your local Guide Dogs Mobility Team for a copy.