Which Animals Are Recognized As Service Animals?

Definition of "Which animals are recognized as service animals?"

Dalia  Mordekai real estate agent

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Keller Williams Realty Landmark

They always say that dogs are a human's best friend, which is true! Dogs are such amazing animals. They can comfort you when you're having a bad day, celebrate your success with you, or help you when in need. An animal can spruce up your life from the moment you own them and give them its own unique name till the very last moment.


Maybe you have seen people being led by their dogs, or perhaps you saw a little dog bringing a smile to a kid in a hospital, and you didn't know the purposes of these dogs. Check below and learn what a service animal is, what types of animals can be approved as service animals, and what the differences are between service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs.


What is a service animal?

A service or assistance animal is one trained to help and assist a person with a disability. They are trained by specialized associations or institutions and must have a certification of their training. 


Defined by Title II and Title III of ADA, a service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to perform a job or task on behalf of a person with a disability, including a physical, sensory, mental, intellectual, or other mental disability.


As for the limitations or restrictions for service animals, they have no impediment when using public areas.

Animals that are recognized as service animals

Any breed of dog can serve as a service dog. As of March 15, 2011, the only animals recognized as service animals are dogs because they are intelligent and can be trained. Even if the training is tough, sometimes teaching a service dog may be equivalent to training a dog in the army. 


Now that we know that only dogs can be service animals, what are the most common breeds for this task? First, we have the labradors and golden retrievers, the most common breed for this task. They are recognized as guide dogs because their size can prevent people with vision impairments from getting into danger.


Service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs

As we indicated before, only dogs can have the recognized title of service animals. In that case, what are the differences between service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs? Check down below to learn the differences.


Service dogs are the only type of animals recognized as service animals because of their intelligent nature and quick ability to learn things. They need to be registered with such titles. Meanwhile, an emotional support animal can be any type of animal that can bring comfort to those people who are struggling with mental illness. There is no limit in this case. Do you have a fish or a cat that brings you joy, comfort and makes you feel better? That's what an emotional support animal does! The difference between the other category mentioned before, besides the species, is that emotional support animals don't need special training.


On the other hand, the last category is the therapy dog. So what's the difference between a therapy dog and a service dog? Someone would say they are the same thing, but not at all.

A therapy dog is a dog that goes with its owner to schools, hospitals, and foster care facilities. These dogs can help children learn how to read and visit seniors in nursing homes. Usually, therapy dogs work with their owners as a team to improve other people's lives.


Therapy dogs can get the Therapy Dog title, but they don't have the same special access as service dogs.

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