More and more volunteers help to train guide dogs worldwide

The total number of trained guide dogs worldwide does not yet reach the pre-Covid pandemic level, this is the reason why the applicants have to wait longer for guide dogs. However, it is encouraging that more and more guide dogs are being trained and a record number of volunteers are taking up work at the training organizations – announced the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) in its statement. There was no decline at the Baráthegyi Guide Dog School, we continue to train 15 guide dogs every year, so the waiting list hasn’t become longer. We are glad that the number of volunteers at our foundation is also constantly increasing.

The international federation summarized the most important statistical data for 2023 based on the data provided by its 97 member organizations. We publish our article on April 24, on the occasion of International Guide Dog Day. The Baráthegyi Guide Dog School, as a member of the international federation, would like as many guide dogs would be trained in the world as possible since guide dogs increase the independence of visually impaired people. On International Guide Dog Day, we celebrate these wonderful companions who help their owners get around safely, and integrate into society giving lots of love at the same time.

Guide dog students

The number of guide dogs is the highest among assistance dogs

According to the data from the international federation, there are more guide dogs in the world than any other assistance dog.

The number of guide dogs has decreased worldwide

19,557 guide dogs were working worldwide in 2023. Their number decreased slightly compared to the number of 20,281 in 2022. The reason for the decline is the Covid pandemic, the number of trained guide dogs has decreased since then. According to our experience, there was no such decrease in Hungary, the work of the Baráthegyi Guide Dog School was also hampered by the pandemic, however, we continued to provide 15 guide dogs to our visually impaired applicants each year.

The most important task is to grow to the pre-Covid level

The Covid pandemic had a severe impact on the members of the international federation, however, thanks to their professional knowledge and creativity, they continued to provide their services.

Member organizations trained 2,598 guide dogs in 2023, which is an increase compared to previous years, but further work is needed to return to the pre-pandemic level when 3,000 guide dogs were trained annually

– wrote the International Guide Dog Federation in its statement.

More and more people are working for guide dogs

7,007 people were employed full-time or part-time by IGDF organizations around the world in 2023. Their dedication and expertise ensure safe transportation for thousands of visually impaired people. To provide and support training, our foundation currently employs 15 full-time employees.

Our trainers practice with their guide dog students

38,348 individual volunteers donated their time and experience to help the federation’s member organizations last year. This is a significant increase compared to the 34,033 individual volunteers registered in 2022, which clearly shows the strength of the support for our cause. At our foundation, the number of volunteers helping to train guide dogs is constantly increasing, last year we had 260 volunteers.

The waiting lists have grown, but the number of dogs to be trained has increased

The member organizations started training 9,312 guide dog students in 2023. This is a significant increase compared to the 2022 number of 7,462.

The Covid pandemic has seriously affected the training of guide dogs, and waiting lists have grown worldwide

– wrote the IGDF. The waiting list at our foundation hasn’t become longer, we continuously have 30-40 applicants.

The good news is that the number of dogs to be trained increased worldwide last year, so hopefully visually impaired applicants will not have to wait so long. In recent years, our foundation’s breeding program has successfully met its goal of 30 puppies per year. These puppies will be the future guide dogs.

Éva and her guide dog, Unka

About IGDF

The International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) is a charity organization that sets international standards for the training of guide dogs. This work ensures the quality of services and provides safety for visually impaired applicants.

The IGDF was founded in 1987. It has grown significantly over the years and currently has 97 member organizations from 34 different countries. Thanks to its operation, more than 20,000 visually impaired people enjoy the benefits of safe, independent transport with their guide dog. The development is justified, as the World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 250 million visually impaired people worldwide.

Éva and Unka are on their way home from the run in Esztergom

Opening picture: Milka and her owner, Szindi