The Best Emotional Support Dog Breeds

Individuals who struggle with mental health disorders benefit immensely from emotional support dogs (ESDs). An emotional support dog is there to relieve symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, panic attacks, mood swings, and much more. 

For this reason, ESDs are great companions for people who have mental health problems like chronic anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and chronic depression.

That said, getting the perfect emotional support dog for your situation is essential. In fact, some emotional support dog breeds work better than others for specific issues. To help you make the right choice we’ll take you through the best emotional support dog breeds.

What to Consider When Choosing an Emotional Support Dog Breed

When choosing an ESD breed you want to consider a few factors. While any dog can become an ESD some dogs will perform better than others based on a few things.

We list some factors to consider when choosing an emotional support dog breed below.

  • Size: Small ESDs are best for travel and living in apartments, whereas larger ESDs are better for walking around local towns and cuddling.
  • Temperament: The best temperament for an ESD is a mild one with low aggression.
  • Energy: High or low energy is suitable depending on your needs. High energy is good for people who need encouragement to move around, while low energy is better for people who need to relax.

Aside from these factors, it comes down to preference when choosing an emotional support dog breed.

The 8 Best Emotional Support Dog Breeds 

An emotional support dog can be any breed of dog. However, some emotional support dog breeds work better than others. If you’re interested in getting a dog for ESD purposes, consider the top 10 breeds that we list below.

  1. Yorkshire terrier
  2. Poodle
  3. Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  4. Labrador retriever
  5. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  6. German shepherd
  7. Chihuahua
  8. Collie

Learn more about each emotional support dog breed below.

1. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terriers are one of the best all-around emotional support dog breeds. We love the Yorkshire terrier as an ESD because of their small size and energetic temperament. 

They’re small enough to travel with you and their temperament is mild as long as you give them attention. Their need for attention and ability to give it back to their companion is one of the best features to have in an ESD because it encourages interaction.

2. Poodle

Poodles are more than their luscious fur coats. In fact, they have one of the best temperaments for an emotional support dog breed because they love people and don’t require too much playing. Also, they’re easy to care for because they don’t shed like other breeds. 

There are many types of poodles and each breed is suitable for an ESD. However, it’s best to start with the standard poodle.

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is one of the fluffiest dogs around and they love to cuddle. People who need an emotional support dog breed that loves to cuddle should almost always go with the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. These dogs are also happy to see people and even happier to engage with them. Plus, their temperament is easy to manage.

4. Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are always a good choice for a companion dog. Whether you want a service dog, emotional support dog, or therapy dog, you can’t go wrong with these intelligent dogs. 

They’re great at providing humans with comfort and love to accompany you on your adventures around town. Plus, they’re trainable and won’t give you too much of a hassle if you travel.

5. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

There are two types of Corgis, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Corgi. Depending on your needs, both breeds are good for emotional support but in most cases the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the better choice. 

While most Corgis have the same temperament, which is loving and cuddly, the Pembroke Welsh is smaller. Its smaller size makes it better for travel.

6. German Shepherd

German shepherds are one of the larger emotional support dog breeds that we’ll cover. While their size isn’t great for travel, they’re intelligence is what makes them a great emotional support dog. 

These dogs can tell when you’re sad and attempt to cheer you up. German shepherds are also smart enough to train well, which makes them a great dog to take with you in public. When adopting one, researching German Shepherd male names can be an exciting first step.

7. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are small dogs that make their presence known with a loud bark. As long as you treat them properly when they’re young and give them plenty of love, their temperament and size is perfect for an emotional support dog. 

In fact, they’re one of the best emotional support dog breeds because of their size. They’re small enough to take with you on most types of public transportation.

8. Collie

Collies are herding dogs, so they’re keen on protecting their flock. In this case, you’re part of their flock so Collies are excellent at protecting your mental health. If they notice that you’re sad, they’ll check on you and try to cheer you up. For Collies, this is instinctual. 

Collies also enjoy playing and have a lot of energy to expend, so if you’re feeling lazy they’ll give you a nudge to get moving.

These are the best emotional support dog breeds but that doesn’t mean you can’t register your current dog if they’re not one of these breeds.

Register Your Emotional Support Dog Today

Knowing what dog breeds are available for emotional support dogs is a great first step but to get the ball rolling you need to register them to get an ESA letter. ESA letters are legal documents that allow you to take your dog with you to places that other pets can’t. This includes housing and sometimes public access spaces.

You can register your emotional support dog in person with US Service Animals online.

Just enter some information about yourself and your dog to get started. Then, schedule a call with a licensed mental health professional and if you’re approved you’ll get an ESA letter sent right to you.

So, what’s holding you back? Register your companion today.

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