Best emotional support dog breeds for anxiety and depression

What are the best emotional support dog breeds for stress and depression? This article is a detailed review of all the dog breeds which can help sooth stress and depression. The article also provides empirical evidence about how dogs can help, as well as where to buy them.

What are the best dog breeds for stress and depression?

Given below is an extensive list of dog breeds, which helps deal with stress and depression.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Pug

Standard poodle

Labrador retriever

Yorkshire terrier 

Border collie

Corgi vizsla

English bulldog

German shepherd

Golden retriever 

Bichon frise

Havanese

Lhasa apso

Doberman pinscher

Pomeranian

Collie

Bernese mountain dog

Mini Schnauzer

Boxer

English Toy Spaniel

Beagle

Rottweiler

Chihuahua

French Bulldog

Dachshund

Coton de Tulear

Brussels Griffon

Old English Sheepdog

Affenpinscher

American Pit Bull Terrier

Irish Wolfhound

Borzoi

Shiba Inu

Jack Russell Terrier

Great Dane

Australian Labradoodle

Yorkie Poo

Goldendoodle

What is anxiety?

When confronted with threatening or stressful circumstances, people experience anxiety. When faced with risk, this is a natural reaction; however, if the sensation becomes overwhelming or continues, it can be considered an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder, affect one in ten individuals, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

What is depression?

Depression is more than just a bad mood. A lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, major weight loss or gain, insomnia or heavy sleeping, a lack of enthusiasm, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, and persistent headaches are all signs of depression.

Suicide or death thoughts are all signs of depression. Depression is the most common mental condition.

The most common mental illness is depression. Depression, fortunately, is treatable. Recovery can be helped by a combination of counseling and antidepressant medicine.

How do dogs help with anxiety and depression?

Dogs have the power to make you happy. Dogs have been shown in research to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as to alleviate isolation, promote exercise, and enhance overall health. Dog owners have lower blood pressure and are less likely to suffer from heart disease. Simply playing with dogs has been shown to increase oxytocin and dopamine levels, resulting in positive emotions and bonding between people and their pets.

What are the physical health benefits of pets/pet dogs?

Studies have also shown that pets owners:

  • Take fewer days off from work
  • Are less likely to take sleep aid medication
  • Have better self-reported fitness levels
  • Exercise more frequently

According to Phil Tedeschi, clinical professor and Executive Director of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, the answer involves two main components:

  • pets encourage us to exercise, and 
  • pets lower our stress levels.

Both of which contribute to better overall mental health.

Any of us could use a little extra motivation to get in our everyday steps, and pets have a way of inspiring us to do so. Also the most sedentary dog will need you to get up from time to time. Running and playing with your pet can not only improve your body but also increase your vitality and self-esteem.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

What are the 6 Ways Dogs Help Ease Depression Symptoms?

Dr. Danielle Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW, a psychologist and licensed clinical social worker, tells Bustle that the strong emotional bond that develops between a human and a dog can have powerful therapeutic effects on both mental and physical health for a number of reasons. “Current literature suggests that one of the reasons dog ownership is effective at combating depression and anxiety is because dogs compel their owners to do more outdoor exercise. She explains that dogs recognize and are sensitive to us, and even adjust their behavior to our communication signals and emotions.

Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy, is recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health as a type of psychotherapy for treating depression and other mood disorders. Being around pets appears to feed the soul, promoting a sense of emotional connectedness and overall well-being. 

Following are the six ways dogs can help ease depression and anxiety symptoms:

  • Dogs offer unconditional love and acceptance
  • Dogs alter our behavior
  • Dogs distract
  • Dogs promote touch
  • Dogs make us responsible
  • Dogs lower our blood pressure

Best emotional support dog breeds for anxiety and depression (detail)

Given below are the details of dog breeds which benefit in anxiety and depression:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Aside from their apparent cuteness, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will assist their owners in resolving depression in a number of ways, one of which is that they are highly affectionate and enjoy cuddling. Back in the 1500s, they were the favourite lapdog breed of noble Scots, and King Charles II was so taken with these fluffy little love machines that he called them after himself.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as Animal Planet pointed out, is so cuddly that it’s been dubbed “The Love Sponge.” Because of their gentle disposition and eagerness to please, these puppies are said to be quick to train and great with children.

Labrador Retrievers

The American Kennel Club rates Labrador Retrievers as the most common dog breed because they are so polite, outgoing, and high-spirited. Since they were bred to retrieve fishing nets in the first place. Labrador Retrievers enjoy swimming and have a lot of stamina.

Labrador retrievers are very competitive dogs who enjoy being outside, which inspires their human companions to do the same. Furthermore, researchers discovered that retrievers, along with pointers and setters, were correlated with the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease and death in a national Swedish study published in the science journal Nature.

In addition to being happy and energetic dogs, Labs are very loyal, eager to please, and super trainable.

Poodle

They’re active dogs. they were typecast as The Cute Parisian’s dog in every movie ever, Poodles were the preferred hunting dog of northern Europe. they’re also known as water retrievers. Poodles enjoy being in the company of their owners. They have the same people-pleasing personality characteristics as Labrador retrievers, and the Poodle’s high intelligence qualifies them for a number of service dog jobs. 

They are born performers, with a lifespan of 10 to 18 years, they are super social, hypoallergenic, and exceptional at adapting to their environment. They often live longer than some other dog breeds, with a lifespan of 10 to 18 years.

Golden Retriever

A hunting dog that loves the water and would happily retrieve fowl from both water and land. Few dog breeds can equal the potential for love and loyalty that Golden Retrievers have.

They’re also known for being respectful and well-behaved. So much so that Golden Retrievers became the first ever Obedience Trial Champions of the American Kennel Club. They’re often sometimes used as guide dogs and search and rescue dogs.

Golden Retrievers are ranked as the third most popular dog by the American Kennel Club, largely because they’re extremely friendly, intelligent, and devoted to their human companions. They’ll joyfully swim, run, and fetch all day if you let them, making them an ideal pet for anyone dealing with sluggishness and other depressive symptoms.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are one of the most loyal, caring, and trainable breeds due to their amazing cuteness combined with their intellect and proclivity to form close bonds with their human companions. They’re perfect friends for battling depression because they want to be with their humans as much as possible. Yorkies are known for being affectionate, feisty, and energetic; and they’re ranked in the American Kennel Club’s top 10 most popular dog breeds.

A female Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky was one of the first ever documented therapy dogs.

Viszla

Viszlas are known as “The Velcro Breed” because they love being close to their human partners so much, according to Animal Planet. Vizslas are ideal companions for those coping with depression, according to the American Kennel Club. They develop very strong bonds with their humans and dislike being left alone.

Furthermore, Vizslas are known for being just as dedicated to self-care as cats, so they might be the only dogs that never whiff like dogs.

Pug

While pugs have the appearance of being permanently grumpy, they are really some of the most naturally optimistic dogs around, and they are relatively easy to train. While they can live in both the city and the country, the American Kennel Club considers this breed to be the perfect house dog, stating that “Pugs live to love and be loved in return.”

corgi

Corgis are more than just the queen of England’s favourite breed. These loving dogs get along well with people of all ages, and their intelligence allows them to succeed in training. However, since corgis are active dogs, they are not suitable for all situations. They could be ideal for owners who choose to walk their dogs when they go out, as this will help redirect the corgi’s energy.

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds are natural protectors. Their emotional nature often assists them in tuning in to what their human companions are doing. However, bear in mind that they have a limited lifespan—only six to eight years—which can be challenging for those who depend on their emotional support animal heavily.

English bulldog

The English bulldog is a great emotional support animal that is suitable for apartment dwellers as well as those who do not spend much time exercising or engaging in other outdoor activities. They are gentle, affectionate dogs that are low-key and bring a sense of peace to everyone they meet.

Germans shepherds

German shepherds have powerful defensive instincts that, if not properly trained, can lead to violence. If you’re considering this breed, make sure you’re in command of your situation. Germans are intelligent, responsible, and enjoy a good challenge, making them highly trainable for a wide range of occupations.

They are also herders by default and prefer to lead the way, which is beneficial for those who need a little extra encouragement. The size of the breed also lends itself to strength and physical support in the event that it is necessary.

Collies

Collies, who are extremely intuitive to human emotions, are considered to make excellent service dogs for a number of mental health problems, including PTSD. They are highly intelligent, trainable, and gentle, which are all ideal qualities in an emotional support animal or psychiatric therapy dog.

Collies are also fiercely protective of their families, as shown by their big bark. Petting a dog decreases stress hormones, and the Collie, with its warm and fuzzy fur, appears to have been bred especially for this purpose.

Great Pyrenees 

Great Pyrenees are affectionate dogs who are great for reducing anxiety, according to the AKC. They are described as “calm, patient, and smart.”

These are large dogs, so make sure you have enough room for them – females usually weigh about 85 pounds, while males weigh about 100 pounds.

Best emotional support dog breeds for anxiety and depression:

Dog BreedsDetails
MicrochipNeutered KC Registered
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
 X
   X
Labradors  X  
CockapoosX  
Golden RetrieverX  
Yorkshire TerrierX X
PugX  
Pembroke Welsh CorgiX X
English BulldogX X
German ShepherdX  
Border ColliesX  
Boxer  X  

Conclusion

This article was a detailed review about the best emotional support dog breeds for anxiety and depression. 

FAQs (best emotional support dog breeds for anxiety and depression)

What is the best pet for anxiety?

Petting dogs and cats helps us feel happier and less stressed.

What breed of dog is best for anxiety and depression?

  • Corgis
  • French Bulldogs
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Dachshunds
  • Golden or Labrador Retrievers
  • Yorkies

Citations

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/pet-therapy/art-20046342

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408111/

https://www.apa.org/topics/depression

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics#:~:text=Did%20You%20Know%3F,of%20those%20suffering%20receive%20treatment.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27406490/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-16118-6

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