A survey conducted by EGDF in 2013 revealed 14,299 guide dogs and 4,105 other types of assistance dogs in Europe.  This information helps us in planning and lobbying for appropriate services for guide dog users and allows best practice to be shared to those countries with new and emerging guide dog organisations.  

We know that numbers are increasing regularly and update the data as new information becomes available and plan to carry out a complete survey every three years.  Although there are fewer of other types of assistance dogs, their numbers are increasing at a faster rate.  

The map below shows the number of guide dogs per million of population throughout Europe. This report is supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity - PROGRESS (2007-2013),  implemented by the European Commission.

To download the complete report click here

map of Europe with countries colour-coded to indicate number of guide dogs per million of population

a black labrador lies on the floor with his new EU pet passport

The European Veterinary Association and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinarian Associations have compiled an information sheet about the new pet passport and everything you need to know about travelling with your dog,  Guide dog and other assistance dog owners know that trained service dogs have rights in law not offered to pet dogs and  rightly  do not want them referred to as pets.   Although the rules for travelling in an aircraft distinguish assistance dogs from pet dogs, the rules surrounding the EU pet passport apply equally to ALL cats, ferrets and dogs, whether assistance dogs or pets.  In the abstract below we refer only to dogs.

A new format for pet passports started on 29 December 2014.  All new passports will be in the new format to improve security, but the old format is still valid.  To get a pet passport you should contact a veterinarian in your home country.  This passport applies to all dogs, cats and ferrets, whether pets or assistance dogs.  There is no fixed fee for a passport; the price depends on the country and the veterinarian issuing it.

The following article was published in the October 2014 issue of the Journal of the British Veterinary Association and cites work in the EGDF 2012 Mobility Research Report

Open Access

Gary EnglandTim Gebbels, Chantelle Whelan and Sarah Freeman


Veterinary surgeons provide an important service to blind and partially sighted guide dog owners. By adopting basic disability awareness and visual impairment training, practices can ensure that the assistance needs of those clients are met, facilitating access to veterinary care.

Gary England is dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham, where he is professor of comparative veterinary reproduction. He serves as chief veterinary consultant to Guide Dogs and has worked with their breeding stock and owners for more than 20 years.

EGDF combined with the European Blind Union to build on the work of the World Health Organisation concept for improving cities for older people by organising focus groups to take into account the special needs of blind people and guide dog users. This partnership project, with assistance from Age Platform Europe, produced a report entitled A Tale of Three Cities. This looks at the experiences of a cross section of blind and partially sighted elderly people in three European cities, Tullamore in Ireland, Salzburg in Austria and Marseille in France. The report uses specific criteria to examine the experiences of older people in adapting to poor vision whilst endeavouring to continue accessing the communities in which they live.
Download the report here in .docx .txt and .pdf formats.


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