service dog statistics

Service Dog Statistics

 

GENERAL STATISTICS

  There are an estimated 500,000 service dogs working in the US . (Share America)  

  An estimated 70% of service dogs in training don’t graduate due to behavioral issues. (Healthypets)  

  “Hereditary diseases and behavioral problems are the most common reasons for a dog to be released from a training program” Selecting Quality Service Dogs Part 1: Morphological and Health Considerations.  Lindsay Parenti, Matthew Wilson, Anne M. Foreman, Oliver Wirth, and B. Jean Meade. APDT Chron Dog. 2016. (National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine)       “All in all the cost of service dog training can vary from $7000, which includes training them to perform basic tasks, to $20,000 for more intensive training. As an example the average cost of training a dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind runs about $30,000 – fortunately their clients are not charged this full amount. Cost is dependent on the needs of the individual who requires the dog.” (Speak Dog Tri-Cities)  

   “Training may be completed by yourself, a friend, family member or professional trainer or training organization. It takes about six months to a year (120+ hours) to properly train a Service or Assistance Dog.” (Anything Pawsable)  

   Overall, the average service dog has been estimated to cost $10,000. (Speak Dog Tri-Cities)  

  Service dog supply is outweighed by demand, making three year wait-times “not uncommon”. Selecting Quality Service Dogs Part 1: Morphological and Health Considerations.  Lindsay Parenti, Matthew Wilson, Anne M. Foreman, Oliver Wirth, and B. Jean Meade. APDT Chron Dog. 2016. (National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine)  

  Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Saint Bernards, Collies, and Cocker Spaniels have been identified as the most commonly used breeds for service dog work. Selecting Quality Service Dogs Part 1: Morphological and Health Considerations.  Lindsay Parenti, Matthew Wilson, Anne M. Foreman, Oliver Wirth, and B. Jean Meade. APDT Chron Dog. 2016. (National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine)     In 2018, Members of Assistance Dogs International reported the following placements for assistant dogs in North America and Oceania:  
Dog Placement Number %
Guide Dogs 8030 48%
Hearing Dogs 1003 6%
Service Dogs 7733 46%
Total 16766
  In 2018, Members of Assistance Dogs International reported the following placements for service dogs in North America and Oceania:  
Service Dog Type Percent
Mobility 48%
Autism 23%
PTSD Veterans 19%
Diabetic Alert 4%
Seizure 2.5%
Psychiatric 1.5%
Medical Alert <1%
(CiteSeerX)  

   In North America and Oceania: “As of 12/31/18, there are 8,547 dogs/puppies in training with ADI Accredited Member programs with a wait list of 4,040 potential clients.” (Assistance Dogs International)  

  In North America and Oceania: “In 2018, ADI accredited members placed 2,864 new assistance dog teams in the North America and Oceania regional chapters.” (Assistance Dogs International)  

  “In total, there were 16,766 assistant dogs in 2018 in the ADI Oceania Region, ADI North America Region, and Non-Regions, whereas in the ADEU Region there were 10,845 assistant dogs.” (Assistance Dogs International)  

  At least 23 states have laws to address fake service dogs. (Propertyware)  

  “The penalties for violating these laws vary. In California, for instance, it is a misdemeanor to falsely and knowingly claim that you are the owner or trainer of a service animal. The crime is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. In New Jersey, you can be fined from $100 to $500 for putting your dog in a guide dog harness to falsely pass it off as a guide dog. In Texas, outfitting your dog as a service animal (when it is not) is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $300 and 30 hours of community service.” (Nolo)  

  HABRI’s 2016 survey revealed that 54% of pet owners reported physical health improvements from pet ownership (The Human Animal Bond Research Institute)  

  “This l-year prospective study suggests that pet ownership influences the physician utilization behavior of the elderly When sex, age, race, education, income, employment status, social network involvement, and chronic health problems were controlled for, respondents with pets reported fewer doctor contacts during the year than those without pets.” (Doping Kontroll)  

THERAPY/SUPPORT DOGS

  There are an estimated 50,000 therapy dogs in the US, and are becoming more popular in countries from Norway to Brazil. (National Geographic)  

  For therapy dogs, poodles, Labradors, and St. Bernards are more commonly used, along with breeds like Pomeranians.  (Verywell Mind)  

  A 2019 study analyzed 222 AAT (Animal-assisted therapy) and 219 control therapy sessions. In AAT sessions, patients displayed a significantly higher amount of social behaviour and had increased positive emotions, verbal and non-verbal communication, mood, treatment motivation and satisfaction in the presence of an animal. Effects of animal-assisted therapy on social behaviour in patients with acquired brain injury: a randomised controlled trial. Karin Hediger, Stefan Thommen, Cora Wagner, Jens Gaab & Margret Hund-Georgiadis. Scientific Reports, 2019. (Nature)  

  “A clinical trial from 2019 analyzed the effects animal-assisted therapy had on improving pain awareness in polymedicated geriatric patients suffering from chronic joint pain.  The trial, which included 52 patients (90.4% were women and the average age was 77.50), found that animal-assisted therapy helped reduce the awareness of pain, as well as pain-induced insomnia.” Trial: Animal-Assisted Intervention Improves Pain Perception in Polymedicated Geriatric Patients with Chronic Joint Pain: A Clinical Trial. Maylos Rodrigo-Claverol, Carles Casanova-Gonzalvo, Belén Malla-Clua, Esther Rodrigo-Claverol, Júlia Jové-Naval, and Marta Ortega-Bravo. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019. (Petpedia) (National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine)  

  “93% of pet owners agree the government should provide service animals to veterans with PTSD” (The Human Animal Bond Research Institute)  

   Among 24 children with leukemia, “ significant improvement was observed in the pain levels (p = 0.046, d = –0.894), irritation (p = 0.041, d = –0.917), and stress (p = 0.005, d = –1.404), and a tendency towards a decrease was observed for depressive symptoms (p = 0.069; d = –0.801) with large or very large effect sizes.” (Public Library of Science)  

  74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership: 83% of Baby Boomers, 82% of Greatest/Silent Generations, 62% of Millenials, and 72% of Generation X. (The Human Animal Bond Research Institute)  

 

GUIDE DOGS

  There are under 10,000 guide dogs actively working in the U.S., of an estimated 22,000 dogs worldwide. 
Country Number of Active Guide Dogs
Worldwide Around 22,000
Britain Less than 5,000
France More than 1,000
Germany Around 600 
United States Less than 10,000
(The Nippon Communications Foundation)        According to the Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind, nearly 2,000 Californians use guide dogs and almost 20% of all guide dog handlers live in California. (Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind)  

  “Approximately 12 million people 40 years and over in the United States have vision impairment, including 1 million who are blind, 3 million who have vision impairment after correction, and 8 million who have vision impairment due to uncorrected refractive error.”  (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)  

  “The first systematic attempt to train dogs to aid blind people came around 1780 at ‘Les Quinze-Vingts’ hospital for the blind in Paris and, shortly afterwards, in 1788, Josef Riesinger, a blind sieve-maker from Vienna, trained a Spitz so well that people often questioned whether he was blind.” (International Guide Dog Federation)  

 

HEARING DOGS

51 recipients of assistance dogs from the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People organization participated in a longitudinal study, published in 2006. Participants reported significantly improved responses to environmental sounds, reduced amounts of tension, anxiety and depression, and improved social involvement and independence. (Oxford University Press)  

  “Training a hearing dog in basic obedience, public behavior, and sound work can take from 6 months to 1 year. Most programs do not start formal training until the dog is at least 6 months old.” (Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons)  

 

Resources

Share America Healthypets National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine Speak Dog Tri-Cities Anything Pawsable Speak Dog Tri-Cities National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine CiteSeerX Assistance Dogs International Assistance Dogs International Assistance Dogs International Propertyware Nolo The Human Animal Bond Research Institute Doping Kontroll National Geographic Verywell Mind Nature Petpedia National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine The Human Animal Bond Research Institute Public Library of Science The Human Animal Bond Research Institute The Nippon Communications Foundation Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind Centers for Disease Control and Prevention International Guide Dog Federation Oxford University Press Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons