Big Jobs for Small Service Dogs


Although there is discrimination for the small working dog, the ADA does not allow for service dog weight restrictions whether the dog is 4 pounds or 200 pounds. In this article you will learn some of what these little super heroes are capable of!

When you think of a service dog, the first thing that may come to mind is a Labrador, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd’s and other large breed dogs.

Over the years smaller breeds have proven to be just as effective as traditionally sized service animals. Not only have they proved to be invaluable to thousands of people with disabilities, there are also a great many benefits to their smaller stature.

Small service dogs can be easier to travel with. Petite service dogs can fit easier in the confined seating area available on all mass transportation. A perfect example of that is flying on an airplane, a larger service dog must be seated on the floor at your feet and must fit between you and the seat in front of you. That can be uncomfortable for not only you but also for your dog. Smaller dogs on the other hand fit more easily in that small space and may also be allowed to sit on your lap. Dogs that are smaller in size can also be crated during travel, as with all carriers it is required to be airline approved and fit under the seat in front of you.

For a person on SSD or a strict financial budget a consideration in choosing a service animal may be the cost of feeding their dog. An ASPCA study has shown smaller breed dogs on average cost $580.00 to feed annually while larger breed dogs cost $875.00 on average.

There are many big jobs for small service dogs! Listed below are just a few of the many different tasks small service animals can be trained to skillfully provide for a disabled person.

Hearing Dogs

People that have no hearing or diminished hearing can benefit in many ways in having a hearing service dog. A hearing dog can be trained to alert their handler when a doorbell is rung or when a fire alarm is set off, that may not only be helpful but could also be lifesaving.

Seizure Alert Dogs

Studies have shown some dogs have an innate ability to respond and/or alert a person at the onset of a seizure providing them to take a few perhaps life saving measures, such as sitting down if walking stairs, put down a child they may be holding and if given enough time pull to the side of the road if driving. As with Hearing Dogs, Seizure Alert Dogs may not only make a disabled persons life easier they may in fact save a life.

These are just a few of the tasks small dogs can accomplish just as well as the more typical sized service dog can. People are becoming more educated now more than ever and learning that a service dog of ANY size can be of invaluable assistance to a person with a disability.