We know that having a pet companion of any type can help with our health and wellbeing, but there are some breeds of dog that are particularly good at lending a helping paw when it comes to emotional support.

We’ve scoured the internet for the breeds that make the best emotional support dogs and, while there are lots of dogs put forward for the accolade of “best emotional support dog” there are a few that everyone seems to agree on.  So, here are the top 10 in alphabetical order:

1. Chihuahua

ChihuahuaChihuahuas are highly intelligent dogs that tend to bond very strongly with their owner, making them loving, faithful and rewarding companions. Chihuahuas require early training and socialisation as, without it, their loyalty can lead to aggression towards other people and animals.  Long walks aren’t really it’s thing, but they love being petted and groomed and will really love a good snuggle up under a blanket with you.

  • Breed Group: Toy
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Small
  • How much exercise?: Up to 30 minutes per day
  • Length of coat: Short or Medium
  • How much grooming?: Once a week
  • Supposedly sheds?: Yes
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Flat
  • Minimum Garden Size: None
  • Lifespan: Over 12 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

2. Corgi

CorgiCorgis are very well behaved and obedient in nature. They can also be very playful and loving, so are also great for households with children. They are very active and excitable and enjoy play and walks. They are highly receptive to training.

  • Breed Group: Pastoral
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: Yes
  • Size: Small
  • How much exercise?: Up to 1 hour per day
  • Length of coat: Short
  • How much grooming?: More than once a week
  • Supposedly sheds?: Yes
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small/Medium
  • Lifespan: Over 12 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

3. French Bulldog

French BulldogOne of the most playful dogs, the French Bulldog can entertain for hours with its antics. However, they don’t need a masses of exercise and are happy just hanging out with you. They thrive of human contact and can get separation anxiety when left alone. This dog is a very patient, affectionate and loving dog.

  • Breed Group: Utility
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Small
  • How much exercise?: Up to 1 hour per day
  • Length of coat: Short
  • How much grooming?: Once a week
  • Supposedly sheds?: Yes
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Flat
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small/Medium
  • Lifespan: Over 10 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

4. German Shepherd

German ShepherdOften used as service dogs because of their ability to take instruction and their intelligence, German Shepherds can make very good support dogs. They are eager to learn and eager to please and are very friendly. They do need a lot of exercise though, so may not be suitable for someone who is unable to get around much.

  • Breed Group: Pastoral
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Large
  • How much exercise?: More than 2 hours per day
  • Length of coat: Short
  • How much grooming?: More than once a week
  • Supposedly sheds?: Yes
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large
  • Lifespan: Over 10 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

5. Golden Retriever

Golden RetrieverDespite being quite a big dog, the Golden Retriever has a lot of patience and is very affectionate. They are generally calm and friendly with all those around them and great with kids. They are very obedient and eager to please, so respond well to training. Again, they need lots of exercise as they get easily bored. Make sure you buy lots of toys to entertain and to stop the chewing urge that they generally get.

  • Breed Group: Gundog
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Large
  • How much exercise?: More than 2 hours per day
  • Length of coat: Medium
  • How much grooming?: More than once a week
  • Supposedly sheds?: Yes
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large
  • Lifespan: Over 10 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles SpanielKing Charles Spaniels make excellent lap dogs. They are incredibly calm and good natured and are particularly good with children. However, they also have lots of energy and love a good walk and, being a longer haired dog, they need a good amount of grooming. This can be a really good bonding experience for you both.

  • Breed Group: Toy
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Small
  • How much exercise?: Up to 1 hour per day
  • Length of coat: Medium
  • How much grooming?: More than once a week
  • Supposedly sheds? Yes
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Flat
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small/Medium
  • Lifespan: Over 12 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

7. Labrador Retriever

Labrador RetrieverThe Labrador is similar to the Golden retriever in that they are good for human companionship and absolutely devoted to their human. They need lots of exercise to prevent boredom and lots of play and attention.  They are incredibly gentle and friendly, with a strong desire to please.  Fetch is a particularly interesting game to them.

  • Breed Group: Gundog
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Large
  • How much exercise?: More than 2 hours per day
  • Length of coat: Short
  • How much grooming?: Once a week
  • Supposedly sheds? Yes
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large
  • Lifespan: Over 10 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

8. Standard Poodle

Standard PoodlePoodles are said to be one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs.  They are gentle and playful and respond well to training and commands; they are incredibly obedient. Some people use them as guard dogs because they give off a good bark and are large, but if anyone gets close enough they tend to get a bit too friendly to be frightening.  Again, grooming a Poodle is a great bonding experience AND they don’t shed!

  • Breed Group: Utility
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Medium
  • How much exercise?: Up to 1 hour per day
  • Length of coat: Medium
  • How much grooming?: Every day
  • Supposedly sheds?: No
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small/Medium
  • Lifespan: Over 12 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

9. Pug

PugPugs love people. They are really friendly and very gentle. They are full of fun and incredibly playful, making them a great companion for a child in need of a support dog.  They are also very intuitive, picking up your mood, and, once bonded, will want to stick by your side. This makes them a great dog for anyone who suffers with depression or anxiety.

  • Breed Group: Toy
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Small
  • How much exercise?: Up to 1 hour per day
  • Length of coat: Short
  • How much grooming?: Once a week
  • Supposedly sheds? Yes
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Flat
  • Minimum Garden Size: None
  • Lifespan: Over 10 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

10. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire TerrierThe Yorkshire Terrier is a small, portable dog, so easy to take along with you out and about. They may be small, but they have attitude. They are completely fearless and curious and require lots of stimulation. Exercise wise, they don’t need a lot, but they do need a lot of attention and companionship.  They are easy to train, but need it early or they can get a bit above their station.

  • Breed Group: Toy
  • Vulnerable Native Breed: No
  • Size: Small
  • How much exercise?: Up to 30 minutes per day
  • Length of coat: Long
  • How much grooming?: Every day
  • Supposedly sheds?: No
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Type of home: Flat
  • Minimum Garden Size: None
  • Lifespan: Over 12 Years

(breed information taken from the UK Kennel Club website)

Other breeds that deserve a mention are:

  • Affenpinscher
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Beagle
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Collie
  • Dachshund
  • English Bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Pomeranian
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