Tuesday, September 25, 2012

National Guide Dog Month

September is National Guide Dog Month.
So I thought it might be nice to post some historic images.  If you're interested in a more detailed history, use the links at the end of the post.

The first guide dog school was established in Germany during World War I to provide mobility for blind  German soldiers.  Although people think of German Shepherds as the first guide dogs, the photo below tells a different story.  I think it's a German Pinscher.  
Typewritten note attached to the back of the above photo:  "German veteran Willy Reinstein Leipzig. The first blind man trained with a guide dog in the world in 1916.  In France.  Captain L. A. Kreimer standing in back."

If you recognize what breed Rolf might be, please post a comment.

German Shepherds were used as guide dogs soon afterwards.  In the photo below, all 15 guide dogs with blind German veterans are German Shepherds. The type written label says: "Blind veterans in 1920 from World War I in the German government Training School for Guide Dogs in Oldenburg.  The first class trained by Captain L. A. Kreimer, founder and head of the German Government [sic] from 1919 to 1929.   14 blind World War Veterans, 1 blind nurse, and 15 trainers standing [in] back, also Captain L. A. Kreimer."
Here is a close up showing some of the teams.

Morris Frank (below) was the first American to receive a guide dog, a female German Shepherd named Buddy.
Photo: Tennessee State Library and Archives

 The team was trained in Switzerland by American Dorothy Eustice, pictured below. Soon after, Frank and Eustice returned home and worked to establish the first U. S. guide dog school, The Seeing Eye, incorporated in January, 1929.

To learn more about guide dogs, you can read an article I wrote for Bark Magazine, "The Making of a Guide Dog," or go to the home page of any of these guide dog schools.


  1. Nice post as always and great pictures. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. I have a book about Guide dogs, Its actually an Alsatian German Shepard. Surprisingly Im pretty sure that's what it is