Dogs are the oldest domesticated species and have accompanied us since the stone age, making the partnership between dogs and humans unique. The relationship between guide dogs and blind or partially sighted people epitomises the depth and strength of this bond.
In this talk Tom Lewis examines what attributes and characteristics Guide Dogs look for in our dogs, and how these are affected by nature (genetics) and nurture (training) – both being critical elements to becoming successful guides. How we attempt to influence the nature or genetics through selective breeding, in order to improve the health and happiness of future generations of guide dogs will be explored.
NOTE: Please leave your own pups at home as the only dogs permitted to the event are working or assistance dogs. Thank you!
Tom Lewis has spent over 15 years working in canine genetics, including as a post-doctoral researcher at the Animal Health Trust, where his research included the genetics of hip and elbow dysplasia, and at the Kennel Club, where he conducted investigations into the genetic diversity and common disorders of pedigree dog breeds. He joined Guide Dogs in January 2021, becoming the head of the breeding programme in February 2023, where he leads the application of genetic research in the management of the breeding population.