The question of which are the best dogs for depression therapy is something asked around increasingly these days.
And for good reason.
With greater awareness of depression and its symptoms and destructive effects on the sufferer’s life, there’s a better understanding of what they need, apart from pills and appointments.
There are other wholesome ways to fight and counter depression in one’s life.
And owning an anxiety service dog – also known as a therapy dog or a companion dog, sometimes – can be one amazingly effective way of doing it.
Dogs, especially those trained for this job, have a great capacity for empathy.
And with their training and instincts, they’re able to provide the companionship, affection and daily routine that the owner needs.
And while it’s true that almost any pet might be able to give all that, dogs in particular, are able to connect and meet the needs of owners to a much greater degree.
It’s in their nature.
And among dogs, too, there are some breeds better suited than others for this particular role.
Here are some dog breeds that are considered ideal as service, therapy or companion dogs:
1. Labrador and Golden Retrievers
These two retriever breeds, along with German Shephards, are perhaps the best known examples of service dogs in history.
They’re one of the more traditionally preferred service dog breeds because of their intelligence, trainability and versatility.
But that’s not all…
They’re big, strong dogs and combined with their other attributes they make for the perfect help for owners needing physical help.
Plus, they’re highly companionable, loyal and energetic, and make for an amazing support when you’re vulnerable.
These guys check all the boxes.
2. Yorkshire Terriers
These miniature, four-legged wookiees are one of the smartest, friendliest and most loving dispellers of gloom on the planet.
Don’t you think just their faces are enough to halt the blues?
And being a toy breed, they’re excellent for smaller living spaces in cities.
Yorkies are very affectionate and like to stay close to their owners, making for great anxiety service dogs.
3. German Shephards
You knew these guys would be on the list right?
Highly intelligent, trainable and obedient, these dogs make for some of the most dependable service animals.
No wonder you see them everywhere – from police dogs and sniffers to loving companions to those suffering from PTSD, depression and physical disabilities.
And guess what?
They make for great family dogs too.
The only trouble with them is their need for training to instill obedience and calm, and their size may pose a problem for some – as with the retrievers.
Otherwise, though, their tags as one of the best dogs for depression therapy and service is well earned.
Here’s another toy breed that can be about as reliable as it is delightful.
They’re compact enough for easy city-living, are delightful company, and are said to be one of the more inherently positive and happy dogs around.
Just looking at that face would crack you up anytime.
Pugs, however, tend to shed a lot and have breathing troubles. And they suffer a fair amount if it’s too hot.
So if you can handle the shedding, and live someplace where it doesn’t get too warm in the summer, you won’t find too many more enjoyable sidekicks.
Another really smart breed that likes plenty of exercise and play, Vizslas make for some of the best dogs for depression.
They’re also known to be quite clean and healthy, making them low-maintenance in a way.
However, these guys do need their daily dose of exercise, so a cramped apartment isn’t the best environment for them.
Also, even though they’re warm and friendly companions, it’s not a very good idea to leave them alone with small kids.
So basically if you don’t have kids and live in a place with plenty of space to run around and play freely, Vizslas may be the perfect choice for a service dog.
6. French Bulldogs
These Bullys are fun, affectionate companions at home, especially in a family.
But that’s not all…
They’re also low-maintenance, being small and not as active as other breeds, are relatively quiet and don’t bark much, and can busy themselves with a bit of ball-chasing or other minor indoor games, no problem.
On the other hand, however, they’re also predisposed to the sort of breathing problems that bulldogs, pugs and other short, squishy-faced pooches tend to have.
And they can be a bit slow to train.
However, once you persist with training, they learn well and can make for some of the best dogs for depression around.
While they may have been painted as yappy toy dogs with some truly bizarre grooming on film and TV, poodles are surprisingly versatile, and make for brilliant service dogs.
They’re well-known for being adaptable to a variety of situations, are pretty much as portable as some toy breeds, and love the company of their owners.
They can be charming entertainers too, being smart enough to learn a host of tricks.
Besides, poodles have relatively long lifespans, and make for delightful family dogs as well.
The one issue with poodles is one you might guess easily – the tiresome grooming.
If you can commit to that on a regular basis, this breed can keep you really happy.
We hope this post helps you out in your search for the best dogs for depression therapy, or to use as service dogs. If you have known in your experience other breeds that you believe belong on this list, do let us know in the comments section below!