Breeding Stock Hosts FAQs

Breeding Host Home Facts

Host Home

How are Leader Dog moms and dads selected?

Leader Dog moms and dads are selected to parent future Leader Dogs due to their superior characteristics:

  • High potential to be an excellent guide dog
  • High desire to work as a guide dog
  • Temperament
  • Size
  • Health
  • Absence of common hereditary conditions

Where do Leader Dog moms and dads live?

Leader Dog moms and dads live in the homes of volunteer host families and are treated as indoor family pets.

Leader Dog dads must live within four hours of Leader Dog's Rochester Hills, MI campus; Leader Dog moms may live up to eight hours away.

Who provides veterinary care for Leader Dog moms and dads?

Veterinary care and occasional boarding for Leader Dog moms and dads are provided at the Leader Dog Rochester Hills, Michigan campus.

Where do Leader Dog moms give birth?

Leader Dog moms birth (whelp) their puppies in host homes. Host homes are given the necessary supplies for whelping. The puppies stay in the host homes from birth to about six weeks of age when they are brought to Leader Dogs for the Blind by the breeding host.

How long can a dog be a Leader Dog mom or dad?

Most Leader Dog moms are retired after two years of breeding while Leader Dog dads retire when they are about 10 years of age. Upon retirement, the host family may adopt the dog.

How often does Leader Dog need host homes for Leader Dog moms and dads?

Leader Dogs for the Blind is always looking for volunteer host homes—especially for Leader Dog moms.

Breeding Program

Which dog breeds are the best for Leader Dogs?

80 percent of the dogs bred at Leader Dogs for the Blind are Labrador retrievers. Labs work well as Leader Dogs due to their:

  • Size: small, easy fit in vehicles
  • Coat: easy care, double-coated for cold and heat protection
  • Relaxed temperament, eagerness to learn and work

10 percent of the dogs bred at Leader Dog are golden retrievers. Golden retrievers work well as Leader Dogs due to their:

  • Size: small, easy fit in vehicles
  • Coat: requires minimal grooming, double-coated for protection
  • Loving and eager personality

Less than 5 percent of the dogs bred at Leader Dog are German shepherds. German shepherds work well as Leader Dogs due to their:

  • Size: medium build, capable of long strides
  • Coat: easy care, double-coated for protection
  • Strong work ethic, alertness and eagerness to learn

About 5 percent of the dogs bred at Leader Dog are Labrador/golden retriever crosses.

Where do breeding stock dogs live?

Breeding stock dogs are housed by volunteers in their homes.

How are breeding stock dogs selected?

Breeding stock dogs are selected based on their lineage, history, health and temperament. We select dogs that have the potential to be excellent Leader Dogs themselves.

Where are the puppies born?

Puppies are born in the volunteer homes that host the female “mom dog.” Host families will care for the litter of puppies for six weeks before coming to Leader Dog to be examined by veterinarians and placed with a volunteer puppy raiser.

Who oversees the breeding process?

Leader Dog’s breeding program is overseen by a committee comprised of six staff members including veterinarians, puppy development, a breeding manager and guide dog instructor. This committee also consults with geneticists, breeders and reproductive specialists.

Breeding Host Application