From the dawn of mankind, dogs were human’s best friends. They helped us through the thick and thin, providing us with much needed companionship and unconditional love. These are the times when such support is necessary more than ever. It is really important that at the end of a long day at work you have your furry friend to come home to. Some people need emotional support more than others and in this article we will talk about best dog breeds that can provide emotional support.

Emotional Support Dogs and Service and Therapy Dogs

Before we start discussing the best emotional support dogs, it is important to take a closer look at differences between emotional support dogs and service or therapy dogs.

Service Dogs

For a dog to be considered a service animal it is required that they pass the necessary training for dealing with a specific disability. They should also be disciplined and very well trained in general.

Service dogs should always be walked on a leash. Their skills may vary. Some are able to predict when their owner is having a seizure, others can sense if a person’s blood sugar is too high, while some can help the sensory impaired persons with coping in their surroundings.

Most importantly, a dog can be considered a service dog if he can complete the tasks you are unable to complete yourself. There are specific laws in place that allow them into businesses, restaurants and all the places where other dogs are not allowed.

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are used for comfort and to provide emotional support in certain institutions like hospitals, hospices or kindergartens.

Their presence is proven to be calming and soothing to the patients and bring happiness to the children. They do not require training like service dogs, although they are required to be obedient and well-groomed for each visit.

To be awarded a title of a therapy dog, your dog should be social, and have at least some training, so it would not jump and scratch people. It may also be beneficial to enroll your dog in therapy class. Also, he should pass certification and perform a required number of visits.

Emotional Support Dogs

They do not require any training and they can usually be less disciplined than their service and therapy counterparts. However, they are required to be calm and laid back. No special skills are necessary on their part because their main purpose is to calm the person with their presence.

Even though they do not have access to all public areas (like service dogs), they can still fly with a person with a psychological or emotional disability. They can also gain access to no-pet housing, albeit with a physician’s prescription.

Best Emotional Support Dogs

All dogs provide emotional support to their owners. That is in their nature. Still, there are some breeds that excel in that role more than others. Here is the list of the best emotional support dogs.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

There is a reason why a lab has been the most popular family dog in the USA since 1991. In fact, this is the most popular breed in the US overall. They top every list for family and support dogs because of their incredibly friendly and gentle nature. Their joyfulness is very contagious and they’re able to lift you up even after a really bad day.

They are also very energetic dogs so they are perfect for persons who struggle with open spaces and leaving their home. Overcoming your fear of going out is as easy as pie when you have this lovely companion along your side.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Very similar to their short-haired cousins, their devotion and love will not let you down. They try to express it as often as possible by licking your face and trying to jump in your lap even though they are not as small as they think they are.

They are a bit less energetic and athletic than labs, but still very happy to accompany you on walks and hikes. Their intelligence is another big quality and they’re easily trained. Calmness and kindness make them a perfect fit for persons who struggle with anxiety and mental illnesses.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

The first thing you notice about these dogs is that they are extremely energetic and smart. This makes them suitable for pretty much any dog work. They can be great traveling companions with sufficient training.

Be careful though, their training is very important as they need to learn how to channel their energy. All of this makes them perfect if you have a large yard or if you live in the mountains or hill area because they can endure long walks.

American Pit Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier

This one might be a bit unexpected because of all the infamy that surrounds this breed which mainly comes from bad owners, poor training and bad PR. Contrary to the popular belief, these dogs are very loyal, friendly and compassionate and make for a great emotional support dog.

Obviously, as most other dogs, they will require training to be well behaved off the leash. Still, if you ignore the stereotypes and are willing to invest time and effort to train them, you will gain a friend for life.

English Bulldog

English Bulldog

Contrary to the other dogs we have listed so far, these dogs are perfect if you’re a bit lazy and a couch potato. They do not require a lot of exercise and love to spend time with their owners.

Their sweet nature and devotion makes them great for big families. Additionally, they are very good with children, so they are really suitable if your child requires emotional support.



Corgi comes from Pembrokeshire, Wales. Originally, they were bred to be herders on farms. They are even-tempered and loving dogs, which make them great with both- humans and other dogs.

The fact that they are very active makes them perfect for people suffering from depression. These dogs, although limited in size, bring an unlimited amount of joy.



Collies are also herding dogs, so they require a lot of exercise and agility work, which can bring people who struggle with emotional stability additional purpose and support. They are also able to pick up on any cues and signs that something is wrong, as if they had a sixth sense.

Their cheerfulness will help children in socializing by making sure they are active and still keeping them under their protective eye.

Great Dane

Great Dane

This big baby may be a bit imposing at first glance, but you will soon find out how gentle and loving these giants are. They are extremely easy going, elegant and great home guardians.

Being very people-oriented and sweet, he is great for emotional support, especially in big families since Great Danes are very patient with children.

In SummaryTop Best Emotional Support Dogs

You cannot go wrong with any of these dogs if you are looking for a great emotional support dog. These animals are loving and caring and are bound to make your life much better and your problems easier to cope with.

If you invest a little bit of devotion, time and effort, you will gain a friend who will be by your side in any situation. They will return your love tenfold.

READ NEXT: What Is a Service Dog?



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