At the Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs, we breed all of our future assistance dogs, to ensure we can track health, behavior, family history, and more traits that are each taken into accounting in our breeding program - Ensuring we are placing the BEST dogs with our clients. Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Standard Poodles make up our breeding colonies. We also have a percentage of Golden Retrievers and Lab/Golden crosses as well. These breeds display a wonderful temperament, food motivation and a desire to work. Our breeder dogs live as family pets in volunteer homes located within driving distance of our Smithtown, New York campus. We are always looking for dedicated volunteer to help us by becoming Breeder Caretakers and Breeder Sitters. See below for more information...

Breeder Caretaker 

Individuals or families care for an adult breeder dog in their home. They provide a safe and loving home where the dog will maintain housebreaking, obedience, excellent house manners, and maintain the dog in proper body condition. Veterinary care is provided by the Foundation, and caretakers are responsible for the cost of food, treats, bedding and any other creature comforts. 

Hours of Volunteering:

 Breeding dogs are required to attend mandatory health clinics.  Caretakers must attend regular obedience classes with the dog throughout the dog’s active breeding career. Females may be in the program 6-7 years and males may be in the program for up to 10 years. 


- All those interested in becoming a breeder caretaker MUST have a securely fenced yard with at least a 5 foot high fence
- There are occasional MANDATORY attendance at health clinics and regular obedience classes
- All those interested must fill out a breeder caretaker application, attend an orientation, and have a home check by a representative of the Foundation
- Some availability during normal business hours, M-F, may be required
- Homes with personal dogs in residence will be required to have an in-person home check to assess the dog’s interactions with other dogs
- Applicants will be required to have an in-person training session to learn GDF-approved dog handling skills by a GDF staff member or senior volunteer

Breeder Sitter

This is a specialized home that hosts breeding dogs for a short period of time. Breeder sitters may not have the time to commit to housing a breeder long-term, but still want to be involved in the breeding program. Breeder sitters will attend orientation and can attend breeder obedience classes as an observer to learn some of the things the breeding dogs are working on with their caretakers. Sitters will be given all the necessary supplies & special instructions (if required) needed to care for the breeding dog. 

Breeder sitters may house intact males, intact females, pregnant females, potentially pregnant females, females who have recently weaned a litter, or females that are in season. When placing breeding dogs in sitter homes, the sitter’s current dogs will be taken into consideration to match reproductive status and gender of the dogs. Some sitters may not be able to act as sitters for breeding dogs based on the dog’s reproductive status. 

Hours of volunteering: 
Most stays with breeder sitters will be two weeks or less. Longer stays will be considered on a case by case basis. 


Breeder sitters must have a fenced yard OR be willing to exercise and “busy” the breeding dog on lead only
- Breeding dogs are NEVER allowed to be off leash in an unfenced area
- Breeding dogs are never allowed to visit dog parks for free running opportunities
- Sitters must attend either a Breeder Caretaker Orientation or a Temp Home Orientation, and have an assessment of dog handling skills done by GDF staff or senior volunteers
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Questions? Email us!