10 Dog Breeds for Emotional Support

ESA dog with a girl

Dogs have been known to offer their human companions emotional support for centuries. Dogs are loyal and provide a sense of security that can benefit people with mental health issues. As a result, it is becoming more common for people to own dogs as emotional support animals in today’s society.

To be legally classified as an emotional support dog, also known as an emotional support animal (ESA), the pet must be prescribed to a person with a severe mental illness by a licensed mental health expert.

The animal’s presence must be necessary for the mental health of the patient, according to a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. For example, having a pet might help someone with anxiety or provide them with a sense of purpose in life. Dogs of all ages and breeds are acceptable.

Even though any dog can offer its owner emotional support, some breeds are better suited for the role than others. Here is a list of the 10 great emotional support dogs.

Keep in mind these are in no particular order.


1. Golden Retriever as an ESA dog

Golden retrievers make great emotional support dogs thanks to their intelligence, friendliness, and compassion. In addition, golden retrievers are always eager to please and provide a calming influence on their owners.

These dogs are also very affectionate and friendly with virtually everyone, making them ideal for people who suffer from anxiety or depression.

Golden retrievers are a devoted, active breed that needs moderate to high amounts of activity, making them ideal ESAs for people who like that. Make sure you have the right amount of exercise and stimulation for them.


2. Labrador Retriever as an ESA dog

The Labrador retriever is another classic family dog that is extremely loyal to its owners. It makes for an excellent emotional support animal. 

Labrador retrievers make fantastic ESAs since they are one of the kindest breeds around. Another benefit of this popular dog breed is that they’re highly food-driven, making them ideal for training. In addition, Labradors are excellent with children, so they’re a wonderful addition to families.

Labs are friendly and well-disposed, with a strong passion for pleasing their owners. Labs are excellent for individuals who want a friend to accompany them on adventures outside of the house since they tend to be at ease exploring new places.


3. Corgi as an ESA dog

The Corgi is a steadfast, obedient, and loyal breed. Oh, and have you seen their tiny but adorable fluffy bottoms? If not, I recommend that you look it up right now! Although this breed is short in stature, it has a lot of personality. Corgis make an excellent ESA choice due to their even temperament and loyalty to their owner.

Corgis are much more than the royal queen of England’s favorite breed. These loving dogs are usually well suited to people of all ages, and their brains make them ideal for training. However, corgis are a highly active breed. Therefore they’re not appropriate for every situation.

Owners that want to take their dogs with them when out and about might find that it helps channel the Corgi’s energy. This breed is also an excellent choice for those who want a dog to walk, run, and jog with.

4. Yorkshire Terrier as an ESA dog

A small and elegant breed, the Yorkshire Terrier is intelligent and has a sweet temperament. These dogs often become attached to their owners and want to be by their side at all times. Yorkies are most content when they’re sitting on their owner’s lap or as close by as possible.

Their small stature and adorable appearance makes them ideal ESAs, since they are highly loving tiny dogs who enjoy human contact. Constant companionship can be beneficial for people who need an emotional support animal in their life.

Yorkies are confident and loving, and they make up for their lack of stature with enthusiasm. They demand a lot of care, but they return it tenfold. They’re easy to transport, which is helpful for those who need an emotional support animal to travel with them on occasion. In addition, they tend to accept change easily.


5. Poodle

Poodles are essentially big dogs in small packages, making them excellent companions for anyone suffering from anxiety or mental health issues.

Poodles are the perfect ESA because they require moderate activity exercise. Still, they also enjoy time with their owner when quiet and calm.

Poodle owners often report that they never leave their dog’s side when in a new place since poodles can get destructive without proper supervision. As a result, these dogs make excellent ESAs for anyone who wants to take their dog with them on many occasions throughout the year.

Poodles are a very bright breed that get attached to their owner. Their high level of intellect makes them easy to train, which is an asset in an ESA.

Having a highly trainable pet makes you less likely to encounter problems when flying with your pet. 


6. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature schnauzers are small but mighty, making them one of the best emotional support dogs for people coping with anxiety or depression.

These dogs are very intelligent and easy to train, making them great for people who may not be able to handle the larger breeds. Schnauzers are loyal and affectionate, but they can also be entirely independent, so patience is required when working with these pups.

They’re small enough to live comfortably in an apartment or smaller home, which means that confining your ESA to a kennel is less of an issue than you might expect.

At times, these energetic little pups can be stubborn, but they’re also very affectionate and loyal to their owners. In addition, they make excellent watchdogs due to their protective nature, which is perfect for someone who has trouble feeling secure in their surroundings.


7. Pugs

Pugs are one of the most popular breeds in the world, and for a good reason. They’re super cute, love cuddling, and actually look like little clowns.

Pugs meet all of the emotional support dog requirements out there. They’re confident, lively little dogs that love being around people. It’s always crucial for an ESA to be confident since anxiety or depression can cause them to act out by refusing to go outside.

A pug’s amusing yet hilarious face puts a grin on your face in just one glance. Pugs are wonderful with children and can sense their owner’s emotions. As a result, they’re terrific emotional support animals since they can feel your mood and brighten it with their cheeky behavior and adorable mannerisms.

If you’re thinking about taking your pug on flights, keep in mind that some airlines ban these dogs because of their short nose. In addition, the breed may have breathing issues, so if you plan on traveling a lot, another breed would be a better option.


8. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are one of the most human-loving — and neediest! — dog breeds. If you’re looking for a breed that bonds closely to you and requires a lot of attention and time, the tiny Chihuahua can be an excellent ESD.

Chihuahuas don’t particularly like kids or other dogs, so keep this in mind. They can be extremely loud if left alone, always wanting to sit near or on their owner.

Chihuahuas tend to be a bit on the more aggressive side, especially with strangers. However, they do boast a high energy level. In addition, they are incredibly loyal to their owners, which makes them perfect companions for people dealing with mental illness.

People with mental illness often benefit from having a small companion animal because it makes them feel less lonely. Chihuahuas are tiny balls of love, with eyes only for their owners, which is great for those with depression. In addition, small dogs like the Chihuahua make great emotional support animals because they are super cute and incredibly cuddly!


9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel resembles a plush animal in motion. These dogs enjoy being held and have a pleasant demeanor. As a result, they are frequently referred to as the “comforter spaniel.” They’re just as happy to snuggle with their favorite people as they are to go for a pleasant stroll with them.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s floppy ear is one of its most distinctive features. The floppy-eared good looks of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are a major attraction. These spaniels are calm, quiet, and low-energy pets. They’re also low-maintenance, making them ideal ESAs if you have depression that restricts your activities.


10. Collie

The affection of a Collie is unshakable. They’re incredibly sensitive to their owner’s emotions, and they’re loyal and loving companions.

The collie is a loving breed that thrives on human contact. If someone in your family has anxiety or sadness, the collie will be ecstatic just to lie around with them all day long.

Collies are watchdogs by nature, constantly checking to ensure that their flock—or family—is secure and comfortable. Most collies are adept at detecting cues from their humans that something is wrong, and they’re quick to swoop in to offer comfort. In addition, they require a great deal of exercise, which implies they’re efficient in getting their owners up and out of the house.


Final Thoughts

Whether you pick a Poodle, Labradoodle, Mini Schnauzer, or another breed of dog as your ESA, you’ve made a fantastic decision for treating mental health issues with an emotional support animal. There are many other breeds of dog you can choose from if you don’t like the breeds listed above.

Even if your dog isn’t on this list, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t serve as an emotional support animal. You can always talk to your therapist or psychiatrist about what dog breed will work best for you.

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Diana Ketchen
Diana Ketchen

Diana loves dogs. Plain and simple. She's always been drawn to their adorable faces and wagging tails, and she enjoys nothing more than spending time with her furry friends. Diana has six dogs of her own, three of them rescues, and each one means the world to her. Though some people may think it's crazy to have that many dogs, Diana can't imagine life without them.