The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association ("Guide Dogs") is one of the UK's best-known, and best-loved, charities. Guide dogs have been bringing independence and mobility to blind and partially-sighted people for over 80 years, and today there are more than 4,700 guide dog partnerships in the UK.
Each year Guide Dogs breeds more than 1,300 puppies, which spend their first year in the homes of volunteers, before working with specialist trainers who teach them the skills needed to guide a visually-impaired person. This takes about six months, including several weeks' training with the new owner. A guide dog has a working life of around five to six years, and it's not unusual for someone to have five or more dogs over their lifetime.
While the guide dog service is at the core of our activities, there are other key aspects to our work:
- Campaigning on issues that affect the quality of life of visually-impaired people and restrict their freedom and independence - such as access, mobility and the availability of rehabilitation services.
- Educating the public about protecting their eyes, and funding research into different eye diseases with the aim of preventing sight loss; particularly among those who are visually-impaired but have some residual vision.
- Working with local authorities to provide mobility services for adults and children who are blind and partially sighted.
- Undertaking quality canine, ophthalmic, psychosocial and technological research that informs our services, policies and campaigning activities.
We have four Dog Training Schools in Redbridge, Leamington, Atherton and Forfar, a Breeding Centre near Leamington, and 20 district teams across the UK. We employ over 1,000 professional staff, but rely equally on the support and dedication of more than 10,000 volunteers.
Guide Dogs is a registered charity and our Head Office is based near Reading in Berkshire.
Please note that Guide Dogs are unable to work with affiliates that are based outside of the United Kingdom and apologise for any disappointment that this may cause.