The International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) was formed in 1989, following meetings over several years of Guide Dog organisations around the World. The history of the federation is covered in the section History.

The IGDF is comprised of 99 member organisations, whose purpose is to serve people who are blind or have low vision around the world, by training and providing Guide Dogs. It has a growing and thriving membership with a small executive office based in Reading, UK. Details about membership are covered in the section Membership Information.

What does belonging to the IGDF mean to its members?

First and foremost, membership of the IGDF enables Guide Dog organisations around the world to join a community dedicated to serving people with vision impairment. The IGDF facilitates a sharing of knowledge, experience, highest quality standards, methodologies and help for new or existing schools wanting to improve the quality of their operations. All of this is focused on improving the safe independent mobility of people who are blind or have low vision throughout the world.

Membership provides..

  • An Accreditation and Assessment process which ensures that operational standards are maintained and improved in relation to the world benchmark high quality standard
  • A biennial seminar to facilitate exchange of information
  • The IGDF office acts as a communication hub, which keeps members informed, manages the website, facilitates links to areas of expertise
  • A quarterly International professional journal
  • The ability to get advice about breeding, Guide Dog Instructor or dog training, facility set up and management, access, marketing, fundraising and operational management
  • The sharing of ideas and experiences
  • Possible exchange of puppies, dogs or genetic material
  • The opportunity for personal development of members’ staff by being an Assessor or member of the Board or through staff exchange secondments
  • The use of the IGDF logo – a symbol of highest quality
  • Legitimacy for lobbying on access issues, etc

This website is one of the key ways that members can communicate with each other and the IGDF office.  This is your website so please email any comments or suggestions for improvement to enquiries@igdf.org.uk

A man on a walk with his guide dog

Our Vision

A world where people who are blind or have low vision can access quality guide dogs and associated services so that they can live life on their terms.

A man being sniffed by a guide dog

Our Mission

The International Guide Dog Federation supports its members in their efforts to encourage and advance the provision of guide dogs as a safe means of independent mobility for people who are blind or partially sighted.

Objectives

The Federation’s objectives are to:

  1. Promote to new and existing member schools via:
    • The instruction of people with vision disabilities in the use of Guide Dogs;
    • The concept of breeding, development, care and training of dogs as safe and efficient guides for people with vision disabilities.
  2. Set and promote standards for:
    • Breeding and selection of Guide Dogs
    • Selection and education of staff
    • Instruction of people with vision disabilities in the use of Guide Dogs
  3. Advise all those who express interest in establishing a Guide Dog organisation.
  4. Accredit Guide Dog organisations which achieve IGDF standards and continue to monitor their eligibility.
  5. Advance the exchange of knowledge and understanding between organisations.
  6. Raise awareness of the benefits of Guide Dog mobility with the relevant statutory agencies and public and private organisations to achieve understanding and financial support of its work.
  7. Encourage Guide Dog organisations to support access (quarantine, public places, transport) for Guide Dog organisation graduates.
  8. Collaborate with other relevant organisations of and for people who are blind or have low vision.

Organisational Structure

The International Guide Dog Federation’s membership elects a Board to represent them, under the terms of the Articles of Association. Currently, the Board comprises seven representatives from different countries, and their biographies and details can be found on the Board of Directors page. The Board meets monthly via video conference. The Board is responsible for making all key decisions in relation to strategy, governance, finance and appointments. You can find the list of current members of these respective committees by clicking here.

The following Committees support the Board:

Accreditation Committee (AC)

AC has five technical-expert committee members from around the world, including a Chair. They are appointed by the Board. This committee is responsible for establishing and monitoring the technical standards of member organisations around the world and utilises around thirty highly skilled and experienced Guide Dog instructors as assessors to conduct regular assessments to accredit organisations.. The AC meets monthly via video conference. A full list of the assessors is included on this website.

Development Committee (DC)

DC currently comprises five experienced professionals from a variety of specialisms within the guide dog sector. The DC works to support new and emerging guide dog organisations to develop their services and work towards meeting the IGDF Standards and membership. Each DC member acts as mentor to a number of organisations and works with them to develop all aspects of their service provision. The DC meets monthly via video conference.

Finance Committee (FC)

Finance Committee develops policies and reviews the areas of finance, annual budgets, monthly accounts, the annual report and audits of the Federation’s activities and controlling its expenditure. This committee comprises three Directors.

Communication Committee (CC)

CC leads on all aspects of IGDF’s communications. This includes the production of Visionary, the IGDF professional journal, this website, and the production of webinars. The CC is made up of three Directors and meets monthly via video conference.

Education Committee (EC)

EC is responsible for facilitating the training and ongoing professional development of guide dog professionals through the development of high-quality training materials. EC also reviews and maintains the curriculum for Guide Dog Mobility Instructors (GDMIs) for use by IGDF organisations. EC is made up of five members and meets monthly via video conference.