Sponsor a Puppy FAQs

Simply visit Sponsor a Puppy and choose one or more of the guide dog puppies available to sponsor and complete your details online! You'll then be helping to fund the training of a guide dog puppy, until he/she is matched with a future owner.

We want to make your guide dog puppy sponsorship a worthwhile experience. We'll send you regular photos and updates, which we call Pupdates, on how your guide dog puppy is progressing.

You will receive six Pupdates about your dog in total - one every four months usually in February, June, and October - together with a photo showing how your guide dog puppy has grown.

Plus, when you join, you'll also receive a special photo card of your puppy, a photo album, a fridge magnet and a certificate in your name as well as an exclusive calendar every year. 

24 months. You will follow your puppy’s journey from their puppy walker’s home to their early puppy training and advanced training, with a final Pupdate introducing you to your dog’s new owner!

However, the good news is that the story doesn't need to stop there! That's because in your final Pupdate, we will introduce you to another puppy and give you the option to continue following a journey with this new pup.

All your donations will help provide independence and freedom for people who are blind or partially sighted. Right now, we'll put your money to use where it is needed most - from paying for puppy food through to funding training and covering veterinary bills. You can be certain that it'll make a big difference and be very gratefully received. We rely on donations to continue our life-changing work. Every pound raised makes a difference to people in the UK living with sight loss.

It costs £44,600 to train a guide dog partnership. This covers the first two years – from birth to graduation. After then, it costs £12,200 to support the working partnership.

If you choose to donate through direct debit, your donations will be taken on a monthly basis. When your puppy is happily matched and settled in with his or her guide dog owner, we'll write to see whether you'd like to sponsor another puppy through training. You can, of course, cancel your sponsorship at any time by writing or calling 0800 953 0113 to let us know.

Follow this link to see how your money is helping!

If you would like to update your address or contact preferences please contact our Supporter Care team at sapenquiries@guidedogs.org.uk or 0800 953 0113. They are available Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and are always happy to help with any queries! 

Please be aware that once we have amended your record it can take up to 6 weeks for mail and 30 days for phone and email changes to take full effect.

You can make your gifts go further, at no cost to you, through the Gift Aid scheme.

As long as you are a UK taxpayer, Guide Dogs can reclaim 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate.

For us to reclaim the tax, you must be a UK taxpayer and have paid enough income or capital gains tax in the financial year to cover the amount we’ll reclaim. If you’re retired or don’t work, you are likely to pay some form of tax on your savings or pension, so you may still be eligible. A declaration can cover the last four years’ donations and any future donations, until further notice.

To download a copy of our Gift Aid declaration form please follow this link. Further information about Gift Aid can be found by visiting Gift Aid Frequently Asked Questions.

It costs a great deal of money to train a guide dog puppy, so we wouldn't expect you to fund the total cost by yourself. That's why we operate a co-sponsorship scheme, giving you and other people the opportunity to fund this guide dog puppy's training as well as further areas of our vital work. It's a bit like the puppy having an extended family!

Unfortunately, no. It's important that each guide dog puppy concentrates fully on its training with minimal distractions. However, please remember that you'll be kept in touch every step of the way with some great photos and fascinating Pupdates.

  • 0 to 6 weeks - your tiny puppy is living with its mum and siblings in a Guide Dogs volunteer’s home. As well as playing, exploring and napping, the puppy will go to our state of the art breeding centre at six weeks for health checks and immunisations.
  • 6 weeks to 4 months - your puppy has now moved to its Puppy Walker’s home. During these crucial months, the dog will start puppy training, learning good manners and basic commands, such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’ – as well as how to walk on the lead.
  • 4 to 14 months - your puppy is starting to get used to the area it lives in. It will learn how to negotiate flights of stairs, busy shopping areas and various means of transport. It will also get used to being around people and other dogs.
  • 14 to 17 months - it’s time for guide dog training school. A professional guide dog trainer will introduce your puppy to a special brown training harness. It’s also time to start learning guiding skills such as dealing with kerbs and avoiding obstacles.
  • 17 to 20 months - at this stage, a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will start to pull all your puppy’s training together, so that it learns to use guiding skills in everyday situations. They will also start the matching process, finding a person with sight loss whose personality and lifestyle is just right for your puppy.
  • 20 to 22 months - congratulations – you are the sponsor of a fully trained guide dog! He or she will now be matched with a person with sight loss so they can get to know each other and start their partnership training.
  • 22 to 24 months - your guide dog has changed the life of a person who is blind or partially sighted, forever! It has now settled into its new home and is practising its regular routes. A Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will keep visiting to check how it’s all going. Your puppy will be partnered with their new owner for approximately six to eight years before retiring.

Don't worry. Training to become a guide dog is very hard work, so it's perfectly natural for some dogs not to meet our high standards. We take the decision to withdraw a dog from training very seriously as we must keep the welfare and safety of people with sight loss and the dogs we train at the heart of everything we do. However, our success rate is one of the highest in the world and around seven out of ten trainee puppies do successfully become guide dogs.

If your puppy doesn't graduate, and isn't suitable to become a working dog for another charity or organisation, it will be rehomed with a loving family. Your sponsorship will then move onto another puppy at a similar stage so that you can continue to finish the journey.

Follow this link to go to the re-homing page on our website

No. When out of harness, your guide dog puppy will behave like a regular pet dog. After approximately six to eight years it will then be retired to a loving new home or stay with their guide dog owner as a pet.

Follow this link to go to the re-homing page on our website

No. We use the following breeds and crosses for guide dogs, which is determined by how successful each breed is at passing training:

50 per cent golden retriever crosses (with Labradors or German shepherds)

34 per cent Labradors

10 per cent golden retrievers

4 per cent German shepherds

2 per cent other breeds, such as poodle or curly coat retriever crosses

Please follow this link to go to the breeding page on our website.

As you can imagine, we've worked with a great many puppies over the years. To avoid confusion, we name them alphabetically according to litter eg puppies from the first litter of the year are given names starting with the letter 'A' eg Aaron, Alvin, Amy, Annie etc.

Yes. If you make a donation or raise (with your friends and family) £5,000 or more you can give one of our guide dog puppies a name. Please call 0800 953 0113 for further information or visit our Name a Puppy pages.