There is merit to deeming the dog “man’s best friend.” Science has attested to it; having a pet dog has a variety of health benefits. From appeasing your mental health problems to improving your blood pressure, having a dog can overall elevate your well-being. While it is difficult pinpointing what causes these furry balls of affection’s ability to increase your serotonin and dopamine levels, research points to a few things.
Dogs are loyal, often decreasing their owner’s tendency to feel lonely and isolated. In this challenging period of social-distancing, many are looking to get their own emotional support dog to handle the possible aloneness ahead. But which breed is best suited for the task?
Here are the top 5 best emotional support dogs.
1. The Corgi
Known for being the queen of England's preferred breed, the corgi is a small, affectionate dog with an aptitude for learning. They are usually 10 to 12 inches in height, making them reasonably easy to transport with you on outings or cradle in your arms. They can strike an affinity with humans of all ages because of their soft disposition and willingness to be of help.
Your corgi will seem to listen to your every word, and owners have reported that this breed of dog quickly strikes a bond with their caretakers. They will quickly internalize instructions and adapt to your home routine, making them easy to keep in both houses and apartments. They are low-set but long and exist in black, tan, fawn, and sable colors.
2. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, besides being adorable, is a known sucker for affection. To many owners, they're a living cuddle-buddy and will return all the love they eagerly receive. They're cute, gentle, and generally happy. They are quick of mind, so they can comfortably learn a training routine, to allow them only to avoid specific locations. Their loyalty typically makes them inseparable from their owners, which once made them a trendy accessory to the aristocracy.
However, they are far more than that. For those suffering from PTSD, they can be a fluffy and trustworthy distraction from anxious thoughts. They have the habit of sleeping by their owners, perhaps on a cushion on the floor, on your side of the bed, so it will make you feel safe and loved even in your sleep. They're small enough to be carried in handbags and rarely way over 18 pounds.
3. The Irish Wolfhound
If you’re looking for something bigger and more reminiscent of watchdogs, the Irish Wolfhound may be the breed for you. Unlike traditional watchdog breeds (like Rottweilers and Russian Shepherds), they are incredibly fluffy and cuddly.
They're some of the largest dogs, at over 30 inches of height and up to 120 pounds of weight, and grow extremely fast in their early years. Irish Wolfhounds are natural protectors who will make your home feel safer and warmer with their sensitive, loving nature. However, their lifespan can be shorter than other breeds.
They rarely live longer than 8 years. For many happy Irish Wolfhound owners, though, this provides plenty of time to forge happy memories and thrive from the emotional support they instinctively provide.
4. The Yorkshire Terrier
If you’re dealing with anxiety or the dark thoughts which often accompany depression, you will need a ball of furry distraction like a Yorkshire Terrier. They are known for being a little attention-seeking; however, return all they get with their playfulness and attentiveness to your needs.
Yorkshire Terriers constantly want to be held and will perform for you to earn your interest. They love to play fetch, be called to attention, or simply sit and wait for your instructions. They're tiny and sweet, rarely weighing over 7 pounds, making them ideal for transporting anywhere. They come in a range of colors – black and tan, blue and tan, and many more.
Typically, their hair has a particular silky coat, making them a particularly aesthetically pleasing breed for most owners. This dog is a great option for those with busy, dynamic lives that make them unable to play and cater to a large dog. However, their attention-seeking nature will make it challenging to have them by your side in spaces that require silence, such as lectures or work meetings.
5. The German Shepherd
If you aren't the cuddly type but like affection in other forms, the German Shepherd may be the companion for you. Long used as watchdogs, the German Shepherd is known for its protective strain and a keen sense of danger. They are incredibly loyal, have impressive memories, and respond exceptionally well to training.
German Shepherds love engaging with humans of all ages, so they will enthusiastically serve to support you in your time of need, play with any children that may visit, and provide protection to the elderly in your family as needed. When taking them outside of your home, you will notice how sensitive they will be to danger and how they will work to protect you, even blocking the way to paths they deem dangerous.
Despite their generally large size (up to 26 inches in height and 90 pounds in weight), they are affectionate in their own right; German Shepherds seem to believe that they can give and show love through loyal acts of service.