What Are the Best Dog Breeds for Emotional Support?

This article goes over the 10 best dog breeds for emotional support. The first thing we should address is what exactly is an emotional support animal.

An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides therapeutic benefits to their owner through affection and companionship. This is not to be confused with a service dog which is specifically trained to perform a task that a disabled person is unable to complete on their own. Dogs are the most common emotional support animals

As such, when you are choosing a dog to be a potential emotional support animal, you are going to want to go with a breed that is known for the love and companionship they give to the owner.

At Instant ESA, we love animals and dogs of every breed. However, based off of our years of experience working with emotional support animals, we do have a few suggestions to offer.

The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Emotional Support

1. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever might as well be called the “golden dog” for those looking for an emotional support animal. In addition to being one of the most popular breeds, it is also one of the most loving! Seriously, have you ever heard anyone say one bad thing about Golden Retrievers? This dog breed is the total package! This big bundle of joy is fun/energetic, loves people, and makes a great companion. Of course, they make great emotional support animals!

2. Collie

Collies are known to be a loyal, intelligent breed. They are also easily trainable – which makes them perfect candidates to become emotional support animals. On top of that, they are also very sensitive and just seem to “know” what their owner needs at any given moment.

3. Labrador Retriever

Similar to the Golden Retriever, Labs were made for human companionship. They are gentle and have an outgoing demeanor. Those characteristics, coupled with their natural intelligence, makes them an amazing dog breed for emotional support.

4. Irish Wolfhound

These dogs are the epitome of “gentle giants.” These dogs can reach in excess of 155 pounds but don’t let their massive size fool you! They also have big hearts and are known for their loving persona and sensitive nature.

5. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a work dog known for its loyalty and its protectiveness in the face of perceived threats. They are often used as service dogs but make even better emotional support animals. They are very intelligent and friendly towards people. Overall, they make great companions.

6. Dachshund

Dachshunds are known for their affectionate, lively personalities. These characteristics make them great companions. They are particularly helpful in helping those who suffer from anxiety and depression.

7. French Bulldog

French Bulldogs (Frenchies) are an expressive breed known for their playful antics. This makes them fantastic emotional support animals for those suffering from depression. Frenchies thrive on human contact and are happy just being with you. Since they are a smaller breed and require minimal exercise, this makes them perfect for individuals with restricted mobility.

8. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers (Yorkies) is a small breed which makes them easy for owners to take them along wherever they go. They love human companionship and lots of attention – which makes them perfect for people who are feeling lonely. They are also intelligent and easy to train. One feature that makes them a highly recommended for an ESA dog is that they are very adaptable to change, so they travel very well.

9. Corgi

Corgis are affectionate and even-keeled. They are also obedient and love to play which makes them suitable companions elderly individuals and those with disabilities that inhibit movement.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The American Kennel Club classifies the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as a toy dog. This particular breed has a calm temperament and friendly nature, which makes them very god lap dogs. They are great with people of all ages, especially children. These dogs have a ton of energy and bring joy to all around them, making them great emotional support animals.

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