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Service Dog Registration Of America

Is There a Size Limit for Service Dogs?

2019-12-31

If you suffer from a disability and require assistance with daily tasks you may qualify for a service dog per the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

You're probably wondering whether or not your dog meets the requirements for this. In particular, you may be curious if there is a size limit or any other criteria for service dogs. Here is everything you need to know about size limits and service dogs. 

Is There a Minimum Requirement? 

There are very few requirements for service animals under the ADA. There is no dog breed or size requirement whatsoever. Any breed or size of dog can register as a service dog. Miniature horses are considered can also fall under this category.

The only requirement is that he or she is trained to assist you. Most often, these service dogs help with health issues, such as diabetes or epilepsy alert. They can also be trained to help you with disability-related daily tasks. 

There are more requirements that you need to meet. You will need to demonstrate that you have difficulty performing at least one life-task without assistance from your service animal.  

You will need to include your disability on the Qualifying List of Disabilities as listed on the ADA. Examples are: 

- Balance problems
- Cancer
- Blindness / Partial blindness
- Multiple sclerosis
- Epilepsy
- Speech problems

Is There an Upper Limit? 

There is no upper limit regarding the size of your service dog. No matter how large he or she is, they will still be allowed to accompany you to various public places. You can take them into stores, businesses, and even on airplanes.  

However, most airlines do request that you notify them in advance if you plan to travel with your service animal. This allows the airline to make the necessary arrangements to accommodate the animal. It is recommended that you notify the airline a minimum of a week before you are due to fly. However, it is always best to do so at the time of your booking just to be safe. 

Why Are There No Rules? 

The only rule is that your service dog is effectively trained, either by you or by a professional. Their training should allow them to assist you in overcoming or living with your disability or health issue. 

If a tiny Chihuahua or a massive Great Dane can fulfill this purpose and enhance your quality of life, there is no reason why he or she should not be allowed to do so. The fact that the animal is capable of assisting you is what matters most. 

What Are the Typical Breeds of Dogs That End up Being Service Dogs and What Size Are They? 

There are many different types of service dogs including: 

- Guide dogs for the visually impaired
- Hearing dogs
- Diabetic alert dogs
- Seizure response dogs
- Mobility assistance dogs
- Allergy detection dogs
- Autism support dogs 

Any dog regardless of breed or size can be registered as a service dog. However, certain breeds of dogs are more common choices for service animals. It is also true that certain dog breeds excel as different types of service dogs. Common choices for service dogs include:  

- Golden Retrievers: (max height: 2 feet; max weight: 75lbs). Goldens are recognized as being one of the most adept guide dogs for the visually impaired or auditory impaired. They are celebrated for the calm disposition as well as for their natural attention to detail and alertness.
- German Shepherds: (max-height: 2 feet 1 inch; max weight: 88lbs). Although commonly employed as guard dogs, German Shepherds make for magnificent guide dogs, too. This dog breed is particularly intelligent, observant, and courageous.
- Labrador Retrievers: (max-height: 2 feet; max weight: 79lbs). Labs are arguably the best-known service dog breed. They are usually the go-to choice for people in search of guide dogs. They have a loving nature and are extremely intelligent. They are an excellent choice as diabetic alert and seizure response dogs. 
- Bernese Mountain Dogs: (max-height: 2 feet 2 inches; max weight: 121lbs). These dogs are large in stature. Their stature makes them a popular choice for people living with a physical disability or mobility issues. They can assist with wheelchairs since they were initially bred to pull carts. They also can act as a brace for their owners should they accidentally fall over. Their size also makes it possible for them to reach items on higher surfaces or to turn light switches on and off as required.
- American Staffordshire Terriers: (max-height: 1 foot 6 inches; max weight: 88lbs). Terriers are hailed for being some of the most amazing autism support animals. This is due to their affectionate nature, loyalty, and inherent confidence. This confidence makes them particularly great with strangers - something which their owner struggles within day-to-day life. 
- Pomeranians: (max-height: 7 inches; max weight: 8lbs). Pomeranians are incredible service dogs when physical strength or size is not required to assist the owner. They are wonderful breeds as guides for the hearing impaired and as seizure response and diabetic alert dogs. They are also great emotional support animals. They can help to alleviate anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders. 
- Poodles: (max-height: 1 foot 8 inches; max weight: 70lbs). Poodles are natural service animals. They are especially popular among the hearing impaired and those who struggle with mobility. Due to their exceptional level of intelligence and precision, they can fetch and carry various items to and from their owners. They are another common selection for autism support dogs, too. 

Conclusion

There are very few limitations for sizes or breeds when it comes to owning and registering a service dog. You can start the process of registering your animal as a service dog by filling the form that you will find available for download on our homepage. Upon registering, you will be automatically added to our email database. This will grant you access to regular updates on important information, such as any legal changes you need to know about, dog training programs, and useful tips.