Best Emotional Support Dog Breeds?

These dog breeds check off all the boxes for the ultimate emotional support dogthey’re cute and cuddly and, most importantly, totally devoted to your comfort and happiness.

The dog can remind a person to take their medicine or turn on lights and do safety checks for people with post-traumatic stress disorder. When we pet a dog, it brings a smile to our faces, our blood pressure goes down, and stress and anxiety fade into the background even during a chance encounter.

A 2018 review published in BMC Psychiatry included 17 studies that featured measurable evidence relating to the ups and downs of pet ownership, how people connect with pets, the multiple ways companion animals help mental health conditions, and the psychological impact of losing a companion animal. A more recent study conducted at the University of Toledo showed people who adopted companion animals experienced reduce depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Ideally, emotional support dogs are tuned into their human and react accordingly to what their person says or does, whether thats with a celebratory dance, cuddling on the couch, or crying when theyre having a tough time.

For people who want the companionship of their emotional support dog in a metropolitan area, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a good pick for a canine friend, says Stacy Chocznski Johnson, DVM, and veterinary expert for Pumpkin Pet Insurance. This breed is super food motivated, says Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer, and Pet Lifestyle Expert with Rover. If you find stress relief in repetitive motions like hair brushing, this is the perfect breed, as they require a significant amount of grooming for their thick luxurious coat, says Dr. Choczynski Johnson.

The Great Pyrenees is also exceptionally calm and mellow, and theyre not particularly active, which makes them a good fit for someone who prefers a leisurely stroll over countless rounds of fetch. If youre looking for a silky white pint-size cuddle bug with big expressive eyes, the Maltese might be the emotional support dog for you. The Maltese is a good choice for a single adult, as they tend to have a favorite person that they attach to, says Dr. Choczynski Johnson.

Selecting a non-shedding dog that has a calm temperament will be courteous to other travelers and help to set the stage for ongoing airline industry accommodations, says Dr. Choczynski Johnson. This form of bonding and emotional support, pair with unbridled enthusiasm when arriving home makes the golden retriever a great candidate, she says. They are excited to see you, but like all dogs, also eager to stretch their legs and get some exerciseand after you take a pleasant stroll together and a few rounds of fetch, the golden will be content to hang out with you.

Theyre petite puptarts at just five to seven pounds and eight inches tallperfect for when you need a spunky and confident sidekick to help you navigate social situations that make you feel uneasy. In addition to being adorable, a mixed breed can check all your boxes, whether you want an active dog to get you out of the house or a champion napper for cozy nights in. To make it official, you must obtain a letter from a licensed mental health professional that clearly states your need for an emotional support animal.

What is the best breed for a emotional support dog?

Labrador Retriever. Labradors are known to be some of the gentlest breeds around, so they make perfect ESAs. ….Yorkshire Terrier. Yorkies are the sweetest of the sweet lap dogs. ….Beagle. ….Corgi. ….Pug. ….Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. ….Pomeranian. ….Golden Retriever.

What breed of dog is best for anxiety and depression?

CHIHUAHUA. ….PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI. ….FRENCH BULLDOG. ….COCKER SPANIEL. ….DACHSHUND. ….GOLDEN RETRIEVER. ….LABRADOR RETRIEVER. ….YORKSHIRE TERRIER (YORKIE)

What is the most empathetic breed of dog?

Labrador Retriever. The Labrador Retriever is arguably the most empathic breed of dog, with an innate skill to know how their owners are feeling. They are gentle, friendly and eager to please. 3 days ago

What is the best emotional support animal?

Cat. Cats might not have the same reputation as being high energy and lovable like dogs, but their low key and affectionate nature makes them great emotional support companions.

In separate studies recently conducted by the Journal of Psychiatric Research and the Journal of Applied Developmental Science, researchers found that owning a dog not only made people suffering from mental health issues feel better, but it also made them more likely to help others. Additional research has shown that dog ownership also lowers blood pressure, elevates serotonin and dopamine in the brain, and even lowers triglycerides and cholesterol.

– Dogs are often very helpful for reducing the anxiety levels of their owners. There are a variety of reasons theyre so well-suited to provide this service, including the unconditional love and physical contact they provide.

And this isnt a one-sided interaction: As determined by a different 2012 study, your puppys oxytocin levels also rise when you are affectionate with him. Simple physical contact helps to ease anxiety (and this isnt limited to humans other animals fight stress with touch too ).

Your dog will remain firmly in your corner while you confess your darkest secrets or behave in ways youd never do in front of other humans. But come on, do you want to meditate and chant soothing words while thinking about your happy place, or do you want to scratch a dogs belly while he licks your face? Dogs that constantly bark and yip, run full speed through your house or have hyper-needy personalities may lead to more anxiety than they allay.

Few people with bad intentions will pick on a person with a dog theyll usually look for an easier target who is not accompanied by a canine. Many scary looking dogs are in fact big softies, and will do a great job at making you feel safe while not being much of a worrying threat at all. If financial challenges are exacerbating your anxiety, you should probably opt for a small dog as theyre generally cheaper to support.

These popular and large emotional support dog breeds will excel at comforting you in times of stress. Few dogs are as loving as labs, and even fewer are as gentle; they are typically wonderful with children, the elderly , handicapped individuals, and even strangers. Golden retrievers are quite similar to labs in many respects, and they are equally well-suited for eliciting smiles and soothing frazzled nerves.

Like many of the dogs on this list, they can often pass the Canine Good Citizen Test with a little training, proving just how great these four-legged furry pals can be. Described as calm, patient and smart by the AKC , Great Pyrenees are affectionate dogs who are wonderful for reducing anxiety. But you better be sure you are ready to welcome such a big critter to your family large males may stand nearly 3 feet high at the shoulder .

So, while these dogs can make great pets for some owners, people with high anxiety levels are likely better served by adopting a young greyhound puppy instead. The border collie is an understandably popular breed, given their fun-loving nature, marvelous temperament and otherworldly intelligence. So, border collies are rarely recommended for first-time owners, and they arent commonly considered ideal for people dealing with anxiety.

But anxiety comes in a million different flavors, and some people may find the border collies strong personality and ready-to-rock attitude just what they need to feel a bit better. Pugs arent everyones cup of tea, but those who give them a chance will be rewarded by ridiculous amounts of love and entertainment. The Canadian Kennel Club describes their expression as human-like, which may be part of the reason it is so easy to bond with these little lovers (but theyre big hearts certainly dont hurt).

Pomeranians are great for people who want a dog that prefers to stay by your side 24-7 while lavishing you with love (and a bit of entertainment). Most Pomeranians will gladly accompany you everywhere you go, although you may want to invest in a carrying bag of some type, as these little guys and gals have tiny legs. They are pretty sharp pups though, and they dont exhibit some of the training difficulties that some other tiny dogs do.

These little happy-go-lucky cuties are among the friendliest breeds in the world, and they usually greet everyone they encounter with a big set of puppy eyes and a wagging tail. They do require rather elaborate grooming, so youll need to build some room for regular trips to the groomer in your budget. The Pembroke Welsh corgi is one of the most affectionate and devoted pets a dog lover could want, and theyre commonly used in therapy contexts.

Theyre also smart and easy to train, and they dont even require much grooming to keep their luxurious coats looking great. However, this makes them great companions or therapy dogs for owners who want constant support, as theyll usually behave quite well while traveling by your side. Rescues often have a wide selection of mixed-breed dogs, while breeders and retailers typically offer purebred varieties.

Young puppies require much more time, effort and patience than adult dogs do, which may move your stress level in the wrong direction. Senior dogs arent as popular as puppies, but they still have boundless amounts of love to give and are often more laid back than their younger counterparts. Minimally, youll need to get a dog that demonstrates phenomenal obedience and the ability to pass the Canine Good Citizenship Test mentioned above.

Service dogs usually receive a ton of training (which may take years to complete), and they are generally allowed to go anywhere their owner goes , as they are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They can walk alongside you at a buffet, they can sleep on your hospital bed, and they can rack up miles while flying around the world with you. Because they arent expected to do anything extraordinary, therapy animals dont need the kind of ultra-specialized training service dogs do .

Therapy dogs are not covered by the ADA , they arent legally entitled to accompany you on an airplane, and landlords are not required to make special accommodations for them. However, to take your dog on a flight or force your landlord to allow him to live with you, youll need a letter from your doctor, psychologist or therapist. But, its not a bad idea to outfit your pooch with a service dog vest , as long as he doesnt mind wearing his uniform.

This may help diffuse social tensions that occasionally arise when people bring dogs to public places. Over the last few years, a number of stories have appeared in the press involving people trying to take advantage of the laws protecting emotional support dogs (and other animals ). And while most people are certainly understanding of those who legitimately need the help of a support animal, few will take kindly to those who try to skirt around the rules for no good reason.

If you want to take your dog with you on your flight and have a legitimate need for the emotional support your pet provides, youll want to obtain a note from your therapist or doctor. If you just want a pet to love you and lower your blood pressure when youre tense, just head down to the local shelter or start perusing breeder advertisements. Stick with one of the breeds above (or some combination thereof, if you go the shelter route), and youll likely find that your new pet helps you relax.

What is an emotional support dog?

Emotional support animals (ESA) provide comfort and attention and can be any species from the animal kingdom. We’re most familiar with dogs as being the primary animal to fill this role. When people care for their dog, whether feeding, grooming, or walking, it creates a sense of purpose and can distract attention away from the things causing anxiety and other mental health issues. And while dogs can’t offer advice, they are excellent listeners (or at least appear to be)—and that’s a tremendous help for those who want to talk it out without being judged. Whether they’re a cute small dog breed or a lovable large one, they all add up to the most loyal and affectionate dog breeds you could ever ask for.

Service dogs vs. emotional support dogs

The waters can get kind of muddy when determining the difference between a service and emotional support dog. The American Disabilities Act states, “A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”Service dogs are trained to do specific tasks for the person with a disability. For example, a seeing eye dog helps people who are blind or have visual impairments travel safely, and a psychiatric service dog helps people with psychiatric episodes. The dog can remind a person to take their medicine or turn on lights and do safety checks for people with post-traumatic stress disorder. A service dog is virtually allowed anywhere the public is permitted.Emotional support dogs and therapy dogs are not considered service animals under ADA because they don’t have special training to perform specific tasks that assist people with disabilities. Emotional support dogs provide their human with love and companionship. By definition, they aren’t considered pets, though they live with their human and typically live a pet’s life. Therapy dogs are usually seen in hospitals and nursing rooms. They offer a pleasant distraction by lavishing affection and cuddling service to patients and clients who could use some encouragement. When the dogs are done “working,” they go home with their handler and are treated as pets.

Emotional support dog breeds

Calm dog breeds with easy-going personalities and loyal dog breeds who will never leave your side are naturally suited for emotional support dogs. With that in mind, our experts shared some of their favorites. Note that this is by no means an exclusive list. Any breed—or mixed breed for that matter, has the potential to be an excellent emotional support dog.Page Light Studios/Getty Images

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Cavaliers were initially created to be companions dogs, so their genetics run deep as warm-hearted comforters. They are undeniably cute, well-mannered, and petite in size, making them great apartment dogs. “For people who want the companionship of their emotional support dog in a metropolitan area, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a good pick for a canine friend,” says Stacy Chocznski Johnson, DVM, and veterinary expert for Pumpkin Pet Insurance. They love adults, children, and animals and are “irresistible to pet on a city street,” says Dr. Chocznki Johnson. They could act as an ice breaker and help socially awkward situations and reassure or console you when you’re back at home.Jessica Peterson/Getty Images

Labrador retriever

As one of the most popular dog breeds in the country, it’s no shocker the loveable Labrador retriever is also a top-notch emotional support dog. As temperament goes, they’re happy, laid-back, and nothing seems to bother them much. They are trustworthy, dependable, and always there to lick your face—or your ice cream cone. “This breed is super food motivated,” says Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer, and Pet Lifestyle Expert with Rover. Because of this, it’s easy to train them and teach them helpful tasks, such as laying beside you, resting their head on you, or providing deep pressure therapy, which is used to help reduce anxiety. It can be brought about by hugging, weighted blankets, and yes, by brushing a dog or a dog laying across your body, Ellis explains.fotografixx/Getty Images

Corgi

“Corgis are happy, playful, easy-going dogs, making them a great choice for an emotional support dog,” says Dr. Chocznski Johnson. “Watching a Corgi play can bring entertainment and joy to anyone. Seeing them zip around with their short legs and rotund hind ends can easily bring a smile to your face.” And you can have your pick of two types of Corgis—the Cardigan Welsh Corgi or the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. The Cardigan is slightly larger and has a fox-like bushy tail and the Pembroke, a docked tail. They do share similar temperaments—fun-loving, playful, clever, and affectionate with a touch of boldness. After all, they are classified as herding dogs and have a strong instinct to protect their human.Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

The Great Pyrenees

“If you find stress relief in repetitive motions like hair brushing, this is the perfect breed, as they require a significant amount of grooming for their thick luxurious coat,” says Dr. Choczynski Johnson. And at around 100 pounds, there’s going to be a lot of hair. (If you’re not keen on heavy shedding and brushing, consider one of these equally cute dog breeds that don’t shed too much.) The Great Pyrenees is also exceptionally calm and mellow, and they’re not particularly active, which makes them a good fit for someone who prefers a leisurely stroll over countless rounds of fetch.ivanastar/Getty Images

Standard poodle

Of the three sizes of poodles, the standard poodle is the largest at around 50 to 60 pounds. If you’ve ever seen a poodle in the show ring, you may think they look too “foo-foo” and self-absorbed to be emotional support dogs. Not a chance—they are actually quite lovey-dovey, eager to please, and easy to be around you 24/7. When it comes to grooming, poodles have hair that grows like humans. “These non-shedding dogs are often goofy and have an uplifting personality, which will surely rub off and brighten your day. They’re also super smart and can usually read their pet parents,” says Ellis. With proper care and nutrition, they’ll be by your side for years to come because poodles are one of the dog breeds that live the longest.Aleksandr Zotov/Getty Images

Great Dane

The Great Dane makes quite an impression with its towering physique. That may be very appealing for someone who wants a four-legged bodyguard or a buffer zone when interacting with other people. The Great Dane is by no means unfriendly, but as a guard dog breed, their loyalty, protection, and affection lie with you first. They tend to be aloof with people they don’t know, yet incredibly friendly with their human. “I love Great Danes, as they truly are gentle giants. Their affection and compassion is endless, and being so large a good snuggle can help with some deep pressure therapy,” says Ellis.urbazon/Getty Images

Maltese

If you’re looking for a silky white pint-size cuddle bug with big expressive eyes, the Maltese might be the emotional support dog for you. When they’re not cozying up on your lap, they are the life of the party, even if if it’s just a party for the two of you. “The Maltese is a good choice for a single adult, as they tend to have a favorite person that they attach to,” says Dr. Choczynski Johnson. They can’t give therapeutic advice, but they’ll comfort and soothe you with a lick or muzzle snuggle. As an emotional support animal, The Maltese is probably nearby most of the time. Still, keeping them in your sights is a good thing because they’re one of the dog breeds that get stolen the most.Elva Etienne/Getty Images

Havanese

Looking for a soft and furry travel companion? The Havanese is an adaptable breed that is up for air travel or road trips alike. “Selecting a non-shedding dog that has a calm temperament will be courteous to other travelers and help to set the stage for ongoing airline industry accommodations,” says Dr. Choczynski Johnson. Havanese and other small dog breeds who fit into a carrier can still fly with you when stowed under the airplane seat. Traveling or not, the Havanese is uber friendly, and effortlessly makes friends with everyone they meet, which takes the focus off you.Capuski/Getty Images

Golden retriever

The golden retriever’s number one skill set is loyalty, Dr. Choczynski Johnson. “Their classic cuddle involves a heart-melting heavy chin on the lap and an upward gaze. This form of bonding and emotional support, pair with unbridled enthusiasm when arriving home makes the golden retriever a great candidate,” she says. A routine of feeding, walking, and grooming a dog provides stability. They are excited to see you, but like all dogs, also eager to stretch their legs and get some exercise—and after you take a pleasant stroll together and a few rounds of fetch, the golden will be content to hang out with you.Westend61/Getty Images

Yorkshire terrier

In addition to being one of the cutest lap dogs, the Yorkie is a blue-chip candidate as an emotional support dog for many reasons. For starters, Yorkies are portable. They’re petite puptarts at just five to seven pounds and eight inches tall—perfect for when you need a spunky and confident sidekick to help you navigate social situations that make you feel uneasy. At home, they’re playful, energetic, and oh-so affectionate snugglers. Yorkies aren’t intimidating guard dogs by any means, but by nature, they are very protective of their human. As such, they are first-rate watchdogs and will alert you of anything suspicious with a hearty bark.Mixmike/Getty Images

Mixed breed

There’s no getting around it. Mixed breed dogs are some of the cutest dogs on the planet and often the best of many breeds. In addition to being adorable, a mixed breed can check all your boxes, whether you want an active dog to get you out of the house or a champion napper for cozy nights in. They all have the potential to be loyal and affectionate. Plus, mixed breeds tend to be the healthiest of many breeds because they come from a wider gene pool and are less prone to hereditary issues. Adopting a dog from a shelter has surprising benefits for you too. “Rescuing a dog can sometimes have even greater meaning emotionally, as many times, after some time has passed, it may feel like they actually rescued you,” says Ellis.

Breeds to avoid

We can’t emphasize this enough—all dogs are individuals. Purebreds, mixed breeds, or rescue dogs all have the capacity to be loving, affectionate, and intuitive, emotional support dogs. That said, some breeds such as the Chow Chow, Boerboel, and Tibetan Mastiff might not be suitable for this role simply because they are naturally independent, dignified, or strong-willed. Other breeds, such as the Australian cattle dog, German Pinscher, or Bergamasco sheepdog are perpetually in “work mode” and hard-wired to be vigilant, fearless, and tenacious watchdogs or herding dogs. And some breeds with a high prey drive, such Kerry blue terrier, Saluki, or rat terrier, could be more interested in chasing a squirrel than consoling you when you’re having a hard day.

The Best Emotional Support Dog Breeds

It’s been proven by science — dogs are good for your mental health.In separate studies recently conducted by the Journal of Psychiatric Research and the Journal of Applied Developmental Science, researchers found that owning a dog not only made people suffering from mental health issues feel better, but it also made them more likely to help others. Additional research has shown that dog ownership also lowers blood pressure, elevates serotonin and dopamine in the brain, and even lowers triglycerides and cholesterol.If you’re already a dog owner, some of these things may already be a given. You know what it means to have a dog and how it’s impacted your life. But if you’re still on the fence about dog ownership and are also experiencing mental health issues, dogs offer companionship and comfort and can help ease loneliness, depression and anxiety. Check out our list of the best purebred and hybrid emotional support dog breeds. These loving friends will surely brighten your day.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is on practically everyone’s list as a great support dog because of its rep as a “cuddlebug.” These super affectionate pups are true companion dogs and are quick to learn and eager to please.Loving and gentle, the King Charles was a top dog in royal circles back in the day, but they don’t have the attitude of a monarch; they’re happy just to be in your presence, whether you’re on a long walk or snuggling on a couch. They are excellent companions for those with depression or PTSD.

Pug

The “clowns” of the dog world, pugs delight nearly everyone they come across with their human-like facial expressions and friendly, fun demeanor. Pugs are extremely sociable and make great emotional support animals for almost any affliction.These small, charming companions are well mannered, even tempered and do especially well with children.

Standard Poodle

These medium-sized, regal dogs are not just for show — they’re smart, obedient, easy to train and are valued as a wonderful mental health companion. Standard poodles are working dogs that love a good challenge, physical activity and that thrive in any environment.They are friendly and do well around humans and animal companions alike, but their top priority is their compassion and responsibility toward their owner.

Labrador Retriever

The labrador retriever is an energetic, sturdy companion dog who lives up to the name “retriever” as that’s what he was bred to do — find things, carry them and ultimately drop them at the feet of his cherished human.The lab is smart and obedient with a calm demeanor, which makes for a top-notch emotional support animal for any mental health issue. Those with ADD or autism often feel more grounded and settled in the presence of a loving lab.

Yorkshire Terrier

You’ll see many Yorkies as service or support animals and there are several reasons as to why that is. Yorkies are small enough that they fall under most rental policies and they can be taken anywhere dogs are welcome, which, as the Psychiatric Service Dog Society claims, is vital to specific mental health issues.Yorkies also rise to the occasion for lap duty, providing caregivers the opportunity to physically embrace them when needed. These tiny wonderdogs can also be taught myriad tasks, from pulling open cabinet doors to alerting their owners to specific sounds.

Border Collie

Breeds don’t come much smarter than this! The border collie is a devoted, friendly companion that is easily trainable, affectionate and a people pleaser. A herding dog by nature, the border collie will motivate and inspire you to get moving even when you don’t feel like it.This trait makes them an excellent dog for those who deal with depression. Additionally, if you suffer from anxiety, this calm, content canine will provide plenty of grounding and physical comfort.

Corgi

While their height makes them unsuited for some service dog jobs, Corgis were also bred for herding and make wonderful guide dogs. They have a strong instinct for picking up on their owners’ emotions and helping them accordingly. These energetic working dogs are smart, curious, eager and easy to train.Corgis are also known for being aware of their surroundings at all times, which makes them perfect for people who need constant emotional support.

Vizsla

The vizsla is a lesser-known breed in the U.S. but is gaining popularity as a companion pet and emotional support animal. Bred for hunting, these Hungarian pointers are joyful and people-focused. Vizslas have a ton of energy and do need outdoor exercise, so if you’re not a person that gets out much, this may not be the dog for you.Vizslas are intelligent, quick learners that carry out any task put before them, and their cheerful disposition makes them an excellent choice of support dog. Like pugs, vizslas bond with nearly everyone and do well in a home with children.

English Bulldog

The English bulldog is delightful emotional support companion that is perfect for apartment living and also for those who don’t spend much time exercising or doing other outdoor activities. They are kind, affectionate dogs that are low key and offer a sense of calm to whoever they come in contact with.If you’re interested in a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed as a companion animal, it’s best if you don’t travel by plane much. Many of them, particularly bulldogs, have been banned from flying as they can have breathing issues due to the change in air pressure.

German Shepherd

Germans shepherds have strong protective instincts, which can lead to aggression if they are not carefully trained. If you are interested in this breed, make sure you have the upper hand in your dynamic. Germans are smart, responsible and love a good challenge — all of which makes them highly trainable for a variety of jobs.They are also herders by nature and tend to lead the way, which is good for someone who needs a little motivation. The breed’s size also lends itself to strength and physical support if needed.

Golden Retriever

Goldens are one of the most popular breeds around overall and are considered one of the best mental health support dogs out there. They are energetic, loving and comforting to those who need it, and are super social with other animals and people.These intelligent, gentle giants are loyal companions that are easy to train and are willing to perform nearly any task put before them.

Bichon Frise

If socializing is imperative to your well-being, look no further than the bichon — this puffy white fluffball attracts attention wherever it goes! The bichon is loyal, affectionate and loving toward its owner and gets along well with other dogs.Bichons can live in any space and undertake nearly any activity, but they are happiest to expend energy spending time at your side or cuddling in your lap.

Havanese

The Havanese is intelligent and sociable and, like the bichon, is a wonderful lapdog that is made for cuddles and kisses. They are born entertainers that learn tricks quickly and love to show off for attention.Havanese are also known for being attuned to your moods and offer their support to make you cheery when you’re feeling down. Another bonus: The Havanese is also easy to maintain, as it does not shed.

Lhasa Apso

This little dog has a warm disposition and is excellent for those suffering from with PTSD, depression or bipolar disorder. They, too, are “mood readers” and are known to “nudge” their owners toward the right course of action in certain situations.Lhasa apsos are easily trainable, highly demonstrative and are perfect for individuals in need of uplifting companionship.

Doberman Pinscher

If you need to feel safe and secure, look no further than the ever stalwart Doberman pinscher. The Dobie is called a “velcro” dog because of its ability to bond very tightly with its human. The breed is content to remain close at hand all the time and is highly trainable and protective.However, Dobies must have extensive socialization from a very young age, so as to not perceive every interaction as a possible threat.

Pomeranian

With a maximum weight of only 7 pounds, the diminutive Pomeranian is Poms can thrive in virtually any setting, are intelligent and easily trainable and make great emotional support animals for anyone needing one.

Collie

If you remember the television show “Lassie,” you’ll remember the Collie that comes to the rescue of her family in every episode. Collies are known to make great support dogs for many mental health ailments, including PTSD, as they are highly intuitive to human feelings. They are extremely intelligent, easy to train and gentle, all of which are great qualities for an emotional support animal or psychiatric therapy dog.Collies are also very protective of their families and have a large bark to prove it. The very act of petting a dog lowers stress hormones, and the Collie, with its soft and fluffy fur, seems to have been created just for this purpose.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese loves people but admittedly needs some coaxing out of its shell — early socialization is key for the Bernese. These dogs are loyal to their owners and friendly to everyone.These qualities, combined with their great strength and work ethic, make them ideal therapy dogs.

Mini Schnauzer

While mini schnauzers may appear to have a regal air, their friendly temperament makes them a great mental health companion. They get along well with other dogs, children and strangers, and they readily accept being petted.Minis are also highly intelligent, which makes them easy to train in a caregiving role.

Boxer

Like the Bernese, the boxer must be socialized early to enjoy being around people and other animals. A properly trained boxer is a highly intelligent, strong companion animal that also offers security to those who need it.Physical and mental exercise is important for the boxer. So, if you’re a person that likes to rejuvenate in the great outdoors, this is the dog for you.

English Toy Spaniel

If you’re looking for quiet, but not necessarily alone time, the English toy spaniel is a peaceful companion who is happy to lounge in your lap or take a long stroll in contemplation.That doesn’t mean they are opposed to playtime — a game of fetch with an English toy will put a smile on anyone’s face. In other words, they strike a perfect balance for when you need quiet time or wish to socialize.

Beagle

Beagles were bred to be hunters, but that doesn’t mean they spend their lives on the prowl for game. Today’s beagles are low maintenance, loyal companion animals who greatly enjoy the company of their owners. Training is essential for the beagle, who may run at the slightest smell of prey.But this is a happy-go-lucky breed that is quick to learn and does well in every situation — from a single-person household to a family with small children. Because of its hunting skills, the beagle is especially aware and in tune with your emotional support needs.

Rottweiler

Known for its strength and guarding abilities, the rottie also makes for a great mental health support companion. A breed must have a good disposition and temperament, and be friendly, patient and at ease in all situations to be a psychiatric or emotional therapy dog. Rotties indeed fit this bill.While some people believe rotties to be vicious, that is not the case at all. They are lovable cuddlers who are fiercely loyal to their owners. You can lean on a rottie for help, both figuratively and literally.

Chihuahua

The Chihuahua proves you don’t have to be big to be a loving, responsible support animal. These small dogs win big in intelligence and loyalty and are highly alert to verbal and visual cues and commands.Like most smaller dogs, Chihuahuas can live or travel anywhere, and for those who have 24/7 emotional support and mental health needs, a Chihuahua will never need to leave your side. This breed can also live to 15 years old or longer.

French Bulldog

Frenchies are cute, friendly clowns with happy dispositions who can tackle any mental health need from anxiety to depression, stress and emotional trauma. They are both a stress reliever and a shoulder to cry on for anyone needing a friend.Frenchies are low maintenance, love people, are OK with being handled and have good manners. They are also especially loving toward kids. As with any brachycephalic breed, Frenchies don’t do well in hot weather — so be sure to keep them cool!

Dachshund

This low-to-the-ground pup is one of the most adorable emotional support animals out there, but don’t let the breed’s diminutive size fool you — it packs a punch in beating back the blues. Dachshunds are born hunters with a keen sense of smell and are emotionally intuitive. They are friendly, loyal and do exceptionally well with kids.You can also prepare to have this loyal breed around for the long haul because they live, on average, about 15 years, sometimes even up to 20 years.

Coton de Tulear

“Sweet” is the word to best describe this lesser-known breed. The Coton is known as the “royal dog of Madagascar,” but despite its lineage and dainty looks, the Coton is sturdy with muscular hind legs.Cotons love their owners to a fault — and they are easily trainable, as they will do virtually anything to please. This is also the perfect dog for the therapeutic act of petting, as its fur is almost made for this purpose — it’s abundant and feels like soft cotton.

Brussels Griffon

There is no dog that’s more expressive than the Brussels — we dare you to look at one and NOT crack a smile! This alert and inquisitive dog is extremely sensitive to human emotion and, unlike some other dogs that are bred for hunting, they are decidedly low key. Brussels love nothing more than to sit in their owner’s laps or play with kids.

Old English Sheepdog

It’s natural to feel an urge to cuddle up to an Old English sheepdog. This friendly, shaggy pup hits all the marks when it comes to emotional support, as it excels in obedience training and is highly intelligent.But it’s not all work and no play for the sheepdog — they love to interact with everyone in the family and offer a wealth of support for those in need. If you are eyeing one as a pet or emotional support animal, be aware of their grooming needs, which can require about four hours each week.

Affenpinscher

Affens or “monkey dogs” were once hunters of small animals who also lived as royal companions. While they exhibit traits of both working and toy dogs, their role today is more of a clownish entertainer and family companion. If you are looking for a dog that offers security, they are alert to their surroundings, protective and pack a lot of bravado in their tiny frames.They are highly intelligent, but their stubborn nature can make them tricky to train. So, if you’re thinking of getting an Affen for your mental health needs, make sure they take obedience classes early on.

American Pit Bull Terrier

For various reasons, pitties have gotten a bad rap over the past few decades, but they were once labeled “nanny dogs,” as they were (and still are) extremely lovable toward children. (This doesn’t mean they — or ANY dog — should be left alone with them!)Today, pitties are used in myriad ways by government and civilians alike for protection, rescue, therapy and emotional support. They are smart, loyal and friendly, but as with several dog breeds, they do need proper training from an early age.

Irish Wolfhound

If you’re looking for calm, these gentle giants have it in spades, but they do need plenty of room to breathe! Wolfhounds offer both physical and mental support and a sense of protection.They are smart, loyal, sensitive to human emotion and will put their life on the line for their families. But do be gentle with them in turn — they tend to shut down if they are treated too harshly.

Borzoi

Borzois have such a keen intellect, independent streak and protection instinct — so much so that they are one of the chosen breeds of the non-profit Operation Wolfhound. The organization places dogs with vets suffering from PTSD.Borzois can live to the ripe old age of 15, and are quiet, loyal and able to physically support a person if needed. They, like Irish wolfhounds, are gentle giants and enjoy spending time at their owner’s side. Remember, however, they need proper training and plenty of exercise to keep them well behaved and happy.

Shiba Inu

The fiercely independent Shiba can be a little tricky to train, but once you get over that hurdle, this breed’s smaller size and overall laid-back vibe makes for a playful, happy companion.The Shiba is not for the person who needs a cuddle buddy — think of them as a bit more catlike in personality. But that doesn’t necessarily make them the wrong choice for a mental health companion. The Shiba’s quiet reserve can bring down anxiety in moments of stress, especially if those moments include strangers.

Jack Russell Terrier

Highly trainable and whip-smart, Jack Russells are headstrong and need an owner who keeps them in check. They are highly curious dogs with infectious, loving personalities.If you like to engage with an equal sparring partner who’s always game, this is the dog for you. Jack Russell’s are great with kids who need to expend energy as they can easily keep up for hours.

Great Dane

The Great Dane’s larger size doesn’t stop it from believing it’s a lap dog. While the Great Dane is both massive and protective, it stands as an island of calm in times of stress.Danes are friendly, loyal and work well with any member of the family. They are wonderful at putting nearly everyone at ease — people and other animals alike. A well-trained Dane makes for a well-mannered, loving and emotional support dog.

Australian Labradoodle

This mixed breed is a popular mental and physical therapy dog. It can answer to several different mental health needs, depending on the dog‘s personality.Australian labradoodles are specifically bred for companionship and guidance. They have an even keel temperament and are loving and highly intelligent. Australians can “pick up” on human emotions and can answer your needs accordingly. They’re happy, love to play and will bring a smile to just about any face.

Yorkie Poo

You may not find a friendlier companion than the Yorkie poo. This relatively new breed of designer dog is perfect to travel just about anywhere and is comfortable — and comforting — in virtually any situation.They’ve been around less than two decades, but have made quite an impact as emotional support and mental health companions. They are smart, eager to please and love to spend time with every member of the family.

Goldendoodle

Another great mixed breed for mental health support is the goldendoodle. These dogs are bred in a variety of sizes and can live comfortably in a variety of situations, from wide open, rural spaces to small urban apartments. These smart pups are loyal, happy and easy to train.They socialize well and can focus on the person needing mental health support in busy or noisy environments. Just make sure to give them lots of love and attention, and they will reward you equally.

Best Dogs For Anxiety: Anxiety-Battling Breeds

One of the first things you’ll want to consider when trying to pick out a canine to calm you down is size. Some people may find that a big dog helps lower their anxiety, while others will find a tiny pooch fits the bill better.Obviously, neither option is inherently better than the other; you must simply pick the best-sized pup for your wants, needs, and lifestyle.However, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind when making your choice:

G

Like many of the dogs on this list, they can often pass the Canine Good Citizen Test with a little training, proving just how great these four-legged furry pals can be.Described as “calm, patient and smart” by the AKC,These are big dogs, so you must have enough space for them – females often weigh about 85 pounds, while males tip the scales at about 100 pounds.

Great Danes

Nevertheless, Danes provide a type of affection and companionship few other breeds can provide.

Greyhound

Note that retired greyhounds are often put up for adoption, but these dogs often come with emotional scars. So, while these dogs can make great pets for some owners, people with high anxiety levels are likely better served by adopting a young greyhound puppy instead.

Border Collie

TheThese traits also make these dogs a bit of a handful, as they’re full of energy and a bit mischievous.So, border collies are rarely recommended for first-time owners, and they aren’t commonly considered ideal for people dealing with anxiety. But anxiety comes in a million different flavors, and some people may find the border collie’s strong personality and ready-to-rock attitude just what they need to feel a bit better.

Pugs

The Canadian Kennel Club describes their expression as “human-like,” which may be part of the reason it is so easy to bond with these little lovers (but they’re big hearts certainly don’t hurt).Although Yorkies are on the small side, they have a rough-and-tumble personality that the AKC describes as “tomboyish.”

Pomeranian

Pomeranians are great for people who want a dog that prefers to stay by your side 24-7 while lavishing you with love (and a bit of entertainment). Most Pomeranians will gladly accompany you everywhere you go, although you may want to invest in a carrying bag of some type, as these little guys and gals have tiny legs.They are pretty sharp pups though, and they don’t exhibit some of the training difficulties that some other tiny dogs do.

Bichon Frise

If you need a few more smiles in your life, aThese little happy-go-lucky cuties are among the friendliest breeds in the world, and they usually greet everyone they encounter with a big set of puppy eyes and a wagging tail. However, they’d always rather be beside their pup parent than anywhere else.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

ThePembroke Welsh corgis (and, to a lesser extent, their larger cousins the cardigan corgis) are incredibly friendly with most people (and kids), although they can be a bit prickly with other dogs.Corgis are pretty smart and easy to train, but they are pretty energetic little pups, so they aren’t great for homebodies who live in small apartments.Weighing up to about 30 pounds, we’d consider them small dogs, but they’re certainly not small enough to carry around in a bag with you or sit in your lap the way Pomeranians or Yorkies can.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were bred to be lap dogs, and they love nothing more than relaxing in mom or dad’s lap all day. In fact, they may be the very best choice for owners who just want calm, consistent love from a pet.But this doesn’t mean their prissy –These pups make great pets for first-time dog owners, and most have never met another person or dog they didn’t like. They’re also smart and easy to train, and they don’t even require much grooming to keep their luxurious coats looking great.

Havanese

If you want a dog who is gentle and loving, yet full of energy and gumption, you’d be wise to consider theSometimes called “Velcro dogs,” thanks to their desire to stay at their owner’s side as much as possible, these dogs are great for owners who suffer from anxiety and will benefit from the endless buckets of love they have for their people.But, you’ll have to be OK with your dog-loving everyone else too, as the Havanese is a bit of a social butterfly. However, this makes them great companions or therapy dogs for owners who want constant support, as they’ll usually behave quite well while traveling by your side.

Therapy Dogs

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division,And yes – you can get a service dog for anxiety, so long as the dog is trained to perform certain tasks to alleviate your anxiety.Certification isn’t necessary for service dogs, and you can actually train a service dog to perform the necessary tasks yourself. In other words,In fact, the employees of “covered entities” cannot even demand to see proof of your dog’s training. Legally (at least as far as I can tell by reading the DOJ publication referenced above – I’m no lawyer), they can only ask you two questions (paraphrased for brevity):

Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support dogs enjoy more legal protections than therapy dogs do, yet they do not enjoy as many legal protections as service dogs do.For example,Note that

A Word of Caution (and Karma)

Over the last few years, a number of stories have appeared in the press involving people trying to take advantage of the laws protecting emotional support dogs (and other animals).Often, these people do not have a legitimate need for a support animal. They are just trying to work the system, so they can take their dog with them on a flight without jumping through the hoops typical pet owners must.
Accommodating animals on a flight is not exactly easy for an airline, and it often generates plenty of stress for the other passengers on the flight. And while most people are certainly understanding of those who legitimately need the help of a support animal, few will take kindly to those who try to skirt around the rules for no good reason.Trying to push these boundaries will only make it more difficult for those with disabilities to travel with their support dog. Just don’t do it.If you want to take your dog with you on your flight and have a legitimate need for the emotional support your pet provides, you’ll want to obtain a note from your therapist or doctor.Then, you’ll want to contact the carrier and verify that your dog meets the size requirements some carriers impose (some airlines also have species restrictions, but we’re talking about dogs here).