6 Loving and Attentive Dog Breeds for Emotional Support

Are you looking for a dog who can provide you with emotional support? Some breeds are better choices than others. Here are seven that stand out for their ability to provide emotional support.

6 Loving and Attentive Dog Breeds for Emotional Support

Are you looking for a dog who can provide you with emotional support? Some breeds are better choices than others. Here are seven that stand out for their ability to provide emotional support.

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family physician and dog lover. She has two black German shepherd mix rescue dogs in her family.

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Emotional support dogs can be a godsend for people suffering from mental or emotional disorders (as well as some physical conditions). They can also be a wonderful addition to the life of someone who has a challenging time coping with the daily stresses of living.

Numerous dog breeds can provide emotional support and comfort. However, some dogs, because of their temperament, are better suited for this task than others. Let's look at some of the best dog breeds for emotional support.

1. Labrador Retriever

If you're looking for a dog that is both loving and energetic, the labrador retriever fits the bill. Labs are a popular breed for many reasons, but one of the biggest is their gentle and friendly nature.

The lab is an amazing pet for families with young children, as well as seniors who may need extra love and attention. This breed enjoys being around other people, and they're ideal companions for those who need emotional support, live alone, or are away from home often.

Labradors are also one of the most popular breeds trained as therapy dogs. In fact, they are the most common breed used in pet therapy programs worldwide. However, they need at least one walk a day and would appreciate the opportunity to run in a fenced-in yard or around an enclosed area. Labradors love water and are particularly enthusiastic about swimming.

2. Beagles

You may have heard that beagles are the original scent hounds, and they're famous for their nose. But did you know that these dogs are also known for being social, friendly, and supportive? They love to be with people. In fact, they are one of the most popular dog breeds in America today.

Beagles are a popular breed for therapy work, and with good reason. They're friendly, affectionate, and easy-going—making them a loving pet for people of all ages, including those with disabilities.

Beagles can bond strongly with their owners, so they need plenty of attention from their family members to thrive. They don't do well if left alone for an extended period of time. Since they enjoy being around people so much, this should come as no surprise.

For this reason, as well as because beagles have been bred specifically for hunting purposes over centuries, they're not ideal for apartment dwellers or those who live in tight spaces with limited outdoor access. However, if you give a beagle exercise each day (ideally twice), this breed will do fine indoors, too.


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3. Poodles

Poodles, one of the most popular breeds in the United States, are known for their curly hair and perky ears. You'll also find plenty of poodle-loving owners who can give you pointers on caring for your own poodle.

Poodles come in three sizes, toy, miniature, and standard (the largest size). The AKC recognizes all three sizes, although there are some regional kennel clubs with their own standards for each type. Although there are many varieties of poodles, including ones with long coats or short coats, all types of poodles have curly hair.

What makes poodles ideal emotional support dogs? They have a sweet, gentle disposition, are affectionate, and love being with their owners. Poodles are also highly intelligent and learn quickly, so training them is relatively easy. They also respond well to commands. They are also one of the most hypoallergenic dog breeds, which makes them an excellent choice for people with allergies.

4. Golden Retrievers

The golden retriever is a medium-sized breed that stands 22 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 55 to 75 pounds. The female is slightly smaller than the male but has identical proportions. They also consistently make lists of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

Golden retrievers are loyal, intelligent, and great with children. Known for having a kind, gentle nature. This breed is an ideal fit for people who need emotional support from their dogs. They love to be around people and are excellent companions for children or anyone who needs a loyal friend.

Golden retrievers also make good service dogs because they have an innate desire to please their owners. This trait makes it easy for them to learn new tasks, such as opening doors or turning on lights when they sense their owners are having anxiety or panic attacks.

Golden retriever

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5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a small dog breed with a friendly and gentle nature. It is a sweet-tempered dog breed, making it good for an owner who needs emotional support. In fact, the King Charles spaniel was originally bred as a therapy dog, and they continue to excel at helping and supporting the emotional needs of humans.

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is easy to train because this breed is eager to please its owner, but if you give it too much attention, it might become spoiled and aggressive toward other animals in your home. This dog breed prefers being around people to other dogs or pets. The Cavalier King Charles spaniel loves to play with toys such as balls or stuffed animals.

6. Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain dog is a well-muscled, medium-sized dog with a thick, heavy coat in red-brown with black markings called "mask" or "badge," giving the breed the appearance of wearing a monk's cowl. They have small heads with dark eyes and triangular ears that may be cropped short or left natural. In temperament, they are calm and dignified but vivacious and loving with their owners, including children.

The Bernese Mountain dog is an old breed that has been around for centuries. By nature, the breed is gentle, patient, and with a good temperament, making them excellent family dogs. They are known for being kind, affectionate, and loyal dogs that make excellent companions for seniors or people with disabilities.

Bernese Mountain Dog

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Do Your Research

While this list is not comprehensive, it includes some of the most popular breeds for emotional support animals. There are many factors to consider when choosing a breed to serve as your emotional support animal, such as their size and temperament.

If you have children and want to ensure your new pet is safe around them, you may want to choose one of the larger dog breeds on this list. Also, know that mixed-breed dogs can provide emotional support, too. Don't overlook dogs at your local shelter!


  • "The Top 12 Small Dog Breeds That Make Great Emotional Support Animals." 10 Sept. 2019, supportdogcertification.org/article/best-emotional-support-dog-breeds.
  • "Best Big Dog Breeds for Emotional Support - ESA Doctors." esadoctors.com/best-big-dog-breeds-for-emotional-support/.
  • "What is Temperament? - American Kennel Club." akc.org/akctemptest/what-is-temperament/.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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