Emotional Support Animal

Our List of Emotional Support Animal Dog Breeds

In Dogs, Emotional Support Animal by Emotional Pet Support Team127 Comments

Ever wanted to know what the top 10 dog breeds are? Well, here’s the list:

1 Labrador Retriever


Labrador Retrievers are happy and energetic and will encourage you to perk up even when you’re not feeling too great. They are great at helping people with disabilities because a disabled person would prefer an animal over some medicine. Not only do these dogs make good pets, but they are also great as Emotional Support dogs due to their intelligence and gentle demeanor.

2 German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a highly versatile breed, namely because its intelligence enables it to be trained for a variety of different purposes. These guys can surely make great emotional support animal dogs!

3 Poodles

Poodles are also born performers, super social, great with kids, hypoallergenic, great at adapting to their environment, and they typically live longer than most other dog breeds, too. However, like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, poodles require some serious grooming. (Their hair literally never stops growing, and they don’t shed.) If you don’t mind being responsible for a dog who’s more high maintenance than you are, then you should seriously consider adopting one of these cuties.

4 Yorkshire Terrier


Did you know that Yorkshire Terriers can help ease the symptoms of depression? Their intelligence and tendency to form strong bonds with their owners makes them one of the most loyal, loving, and trainable breeds out there. Also, Yorkshire Terriers are a very small and cute kind of dog to have if you live in an apartment or are renting a housing room in a house.

5 Beagle

The Beagle is a small dog known for its floppy ears and being pure and soft. They’re also so loyal and beautiful. These little guys are very active and entertaining and they’re also content to cuddle up with! Beagles are very friendly with new people and they also tend to get along well with other animals, all qualities that make for an excellent therapy dog.

6 Corgie


Corgis can make excellent therapy dogs. A member of the herding group, the corgi is an even-tempered and affectionate breed. These short and sturdy dogs are known for both their obedience and friendly attitudes. Originally bred to be herders on farms, Corgis make excellent companion dogs for people in nursing homes or with disabilities.

7 Pug

Pugs are a small breed that are well-known for their wrinkled skin and big, puppy-dog eyes. These guys are very energetic, and they also have a natural desire to make people feel better. Pugs get along well with people of all ages, though they work particularly well with children.

8 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These lovely little guys are named after King Charles II of Britain. They were bred to be a loyal companion dog. These dogs are quite noble and royal as well! These centuries of companionship have given the King Charles spaniel lots of practice in providing comfort to their owners. That’s why they may be considered an Emotional Support Animal dog or a Service dog or even a therapy dog!

9 Pomeranian


The Pomeranian is a very small breed often favored by elderly individuals who need a companion at home. These little dogs require relatively little exercise but they will take all the love and affection they can get.

10 Golden Retriever

Coming in at number one is the golden retriever, which is well known for being energetic, loving, and comforting. They’re super social and if you can handle a lot of dog hair in your house they’ll be perfect for you.


      1. I think a pitbull absolutely is a wonderful service dog. They are loyal, loving and eager to please and care for their owner! If trained correctly, they have so much potential!

        1. Yes. I have a foster puppy and she is an outstanding dog.
          She deserves a good home with two adults ideally so I am patient.
          Smartest puppy I have ever met. Nala.

      2. I’ve had 2 pit bulls, 1 for my autistic son as an emotional support and to help calm his meltdowns n the other for me for my depression. Both, without any training, sensed when either of us was having trouble n would cuddle us n shower affection. They are an excellent choice in my opinion.

        1. Growing up, I had a pit bull who won a lot of ribbons–I only say that to tell you just how smart they are. At the same time, Smokey was attentive to needs, always ready to comfort you on a bad day. My sister got a pit bull named Buster who is incredibly comical, sensitive and loving. Believe me, it is NEVER the dog who’s mean, it’s those who make them mean for their own selfish, disgusting purposes. A week after I lost my baby, Mateo, I went to visit my sister (and Buster–I ain’t gonna lie), and he knew immediately that I was suffering from the loss of Mateo… He came directly to the side of my chair and lowered his head, letting me know he knew I was in pain… I could see the pain in his own eyes. He stayed there until I said (as I petted him), “Buster, it’s all going to be okay.” At that point he got his bone and jumped around (like a kangaroo) to demand I play with him. Pit bulls are wonderful animals and people need to know that. It is NOT the dog that is bad, it is always the owner.

    1. Hi Dave, I wanted to ask how you are doing and if you also found a dog. My son has anxiety but see depression in him as well.

    2. Don’t forget to look into adopting a pet from your local shelter. That way, you’d be helping an animal find a home as well as finding a companion for yourself. You may be surprised at how many wonderful pets end up in our local shelters due to unforeseen circumstances. They deserve a chance at life too. Maybe you can give that to them. Just a thought.

  1. Thanks for this article! I’m a disabled guy looking for an emotional support dog because I have anxiety and depression

    1. Dave,
      All though undergrad school, I did lab work in veterinary hospitals where I was exposed to countless dogs and all breeds imaginable. Golden retriever. Hands down, hard to go wrong. Many years later, my wife and I volunteer with our golden as a therapy dog. She’s our second and I doubt we’ll ever have anything else.
      Give them a good look and all the best,

      1. I believe boarder collies are great company one on one too totally senses all emotions and moods with empathetic responses. They need large space to live and roam which is limiting factor for city folk.

    2. You are not lonely my friend. Labs are awesome as I have one too. But I pray for you that you come out of depression and be a winner. Lots of love from India.

  2. My Papillion is perfect. He loves being held like a baby, and would let me hold him all day long if needed. Very comforting.

  3. Thank you so much for this article! I have anxiety and needed this information to know what type of dog would be good for my Anxiety.

  4. I have pretty severe Anxiety and depression, as well as moderately severe hearing loss, would I qualify for a emotional support dog or a service dog? Either way id love a golden retriever for the comforting vibe they put out
    – a disabled teen

    1. Author

      But, you would have to take our online assessment so that one of our mental health professionals can determine whether you qualify or not.

    2. I’m almost 16 and have severe anxiety whenever i go to wrestling meets, I keep the stats for my team, I can’t have a bigger dog in my house either, does anyone know if a Cocker Spaniel would be a good dog for this ? – a teen with anxiety

    3. Hi there too whom it may concern I am looking for a emotional support dog it has too be under 10 pounds for anxiety and borderline personality disorder too do you have any too I live in the United States of America and also crantson Rhode island near edge wood elementary school near broad Street on Wentworth Ave apt number 7 02905 I can be reached at (401) 442-2240 in the morning too

    4. I have a 10 yr old daughter that has bi polar, depression, aniexty, and ADHD. And I was looking for a emotional support dog for her

    1. Author


      Any dog breed is fine but, it depends upon your preference. Do you like fun and playful dogs like golden retrievers or do you like cute and small dogs like yorkies?

  5. I have just been approved for an ESD, live in an apartment and need a dog (or animal) that is easy to travel, will get along with cats, and will be there if I need her. I have a shelter cat, and she is sweet but has trauma issues. Plus, cats really don’t make good support animals, it seems. I am concerned about looking in a shelter for a dog, though I go there first for pets. Thanks!

    1. I would love my dog to be certified as she already helps my anxiety and depression from MS and stokes I have.

    1. Author

      Hi Debbie,

      Be sure to find a local and authentic service animal training facility and try to get yourself a well-trained and real service animal from them.

      1. I have severe anxiety and depression and in very isolated with very few friends my doctor says I need an emotional support dog with a Yorky be good or is there one that is more calm that is a small dog I have severe suicidal tendencies and I really need a loving companion

        1. Hi Jane, any dog could do this job short story I used to suffer from severe social anxiety but I went to a shelter and adopted a jack Russell chihuahua and she was my best fit good luck! And unfortunately she passed away the day you wrote this online have a great day!

      1. Hi ESP Team !

        I share similar diagnosis to Betty. My income is SSD . Is training a dog to be an ESA expensive ? If so, are there assistance programs ?

        1. Author

          Hi Heidi,

          Thank you for the post! ESAs don’t need to be trained, they simply need to help alleviate any symptoms for your mental health disability (ptsd, depression, anxiety, etc.). Service animals and therapy animals actually do need to undergo expensive training.

        1. No, an emotional support dog cannot be turned down. You need a letter verifying they are ESD. We got our letter from our primary physician.

  6. I’m glad German Shepherds are on the list, since I’m thinking of adopting one and training it to be a service dog! 🙂

  7. My daughter suffers from extreme anxiety and she has a prescription/letter for us to match her up with a dog that must be hypoallergenic. We were told to consider getting a golden retriever-poodle mix…a labradoodle. They are so wonderful, friendly, very hypoallergeniic!! She/we’d love dog that she can take to school and anywhere she goes.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Corinne, an ESA animal cannot be taken just anyplace, only true Service Dogs. ESAs legally(Federal trumps any State laws, btw) can only be 1) allowed in housing for Free even if the complex/place doesn’t allow animals or charge a deposit/monthly fee.
      2) On airlines, dogs (only) in the cabin with you. Though most airlines need you to call a few days ahead so they can accommodate you & your dog in an area of the cabin. And then International flying, the country you are flying to has to allow the animal.
      Florida has passed a law with fine and charges for those who fake “Service Dogs”, giving more rights to establishments to ask for proof.

  8. Great! I was told by my therapist that I should get a ESA dog. I would use my dog, but she’s too old to train and she’d stupid lol. I’d also use my cat but he’d run off. I was thinking about getting a golden retriever puppy to train. I suffer from depression, anxiety and PTSD. I’m actually suicidal ( from being raped for six years ;c ). So I thought I’d look around for breeds of dogs to use as a ESA. I’d really help me since on the 17th of July of last year, I lost my cat…my world….my best friend….I’ll never forget the way my mom woke me up in tears saying that she was hit by a car and she didn’t think she was going to make it. I’m crying right now, but it’s good to cry right? In my mind, I am drowning in my tears. I’ve cried so much that my tears burn. Then I found out that I have to move. I’d have to ask my mom if I could get a golden retriever, hopefully we can!

  9. I suffer from depression, anxiety and PTSD ( all diagnosed), my therapist said I should get a ESA. I can’t afford to get a golden retriever and train it, but I’ll save up I guess. I wish there was a way to make it cheaper. I’ve tried to end my life three times and it’s worse bc today is the one year anniversary of the day my cat died. I get multiple panic attacks daily to the point where I pass out or collapse.
    -A very depressed teen ( in October (

  10. Hi im Samantha and im 13 years old, I feel like I need an emotional support dog…I have sevier depression and bad anxiety…I have panic attack almost everyday, I love dogs and they make me happy but I can’t get one. Any suggestions?

    1. Author

      Hi Samantha,

      Be sure to consult with your parents and psychiatrist before considering an ESA or our services. Also, please have your parents aid you when taking our assessment.

  11. I have an Australian Shepherd named duke and he’s not trained but he helps me so much when i have panic attacks or my anxiety or depression gets really bad i love him soooooo much!

    1. Author

      Hi Kylie,

      Yes, those can serve as a great ESA animal! You may want to read about how they are, what they like and, other unique features about them. Most importantly, how to properly take care of such an ESA.

  12. Thank you so much for posting this i have major depression anxiety. Disorder and my health care doctors are recommending i get an emotional support animal and i have always loved dogs gtew up around collies.Now my husband and i know better what to look for at our animal shelter here in kentucky.thank you so much for posting this and God bless you always. Julie chapman Bowling green kentucky

    1. Author

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you! You are most welcome. We continue to provide more helpful information as well.

      1. I am in need of a esa dog, but can’t afford much. How do I find a good support dog. And are their any agencies that may help.

    1. Author


      As long as they provide you with emotional comfort and help alleviate any distress symptoms then yes.

  13. Thank you! i have a 2 year old lab- grey hound mix and i was wondering if he would be good to start training as a therapy esa,

  14. Great site. I suffer with PTSD and have a German Shepherd support dog. Just in the process of getting another for her to work with before she gets to old. Wondering if I should get another GS.

  15. my yorkie has been amazing in under grad for emotional support and he doesn’t shed! he’s my best friend and life line. Additionally, yorkies are perfect apartment dogs because they’re so small and easy to potty train. he knows when i’m feeling depressed/anxious and always gets super cuddly. he’s small enough to sleep in the bed with me, which also helps when I have sleep paralysis in some cases!
    I highly recommend a yorkie for college students!!!!
    -depressed college girl

    1. Author

      Thank you for the friendly suggestion. We hope that others out there consider a yorkie as an ESA. Yorkies are small and very friendly dogs and many of our patients do have yorkies of their own.

    1. Author

      You’re very welcome! If you or a friend needs our help or would like to take part in our services, kindly refer them to us.

  16. Doing a school project on dogs. This website was very helpful. I think any dog is amazing for emotional support.

  17. My doxie has been a wonderful ESA. I have had her since she was 8 weeks old and I am training her to be a therapy pet for my private Counseling practice. She is a perfect lapdog and very affectionate as well as playful. She greatly improves the quality of my life. Doxies are also incredibly smart, and with patience can be trained very well. My Doxie knows a couple of personally created signs (sign language signals) to indicate what she wants.

  18. Hi, I have PTSD, anxiety, depression and four years ago I was lucky enough to find an amazing border collie. She has been my rock,, and the best listener that I could ask for! She senses my mood and helps me to stay calm and focused. Two years ago my family added a male black lab/Sheppard to the aquasion and he is also a constant shadow. The two make me want to get up everyday and greet me with unconditional love!

    1. Author

      Hi Brenda,

      ESAs are not supposed to be a certain breed, they can be any animal that alleviates the symptoms of a mental health disorder.

  19. I have epilepsy, anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Would a king Charles spaniel be a good fit for me . There are many breeds i love.

    1. Author

      As long as that ESA provides comfort and helps alleviate your emotional distress symptoms, the breed of it won’t matter.

  20. I really want an ESA / SD for multiple reasons….let’s just narrow this down to anxiety and depression…I have a Beagle but he doesn’t really help me at all when I’m having a panic or anxiety attack….Skipping a whole tangent I’m debating between a “small” / medium sized dog like a Cavalier King Charles or a larger dog..I’d like a dog that could fit between / under my legs at school and or work…..OR a larger dog such as a Malinois to be a larger presence.. I have problems ( bad anxiety ) confronting people ( strangers and sometimes family ).

    I don’t know…what would you guys say? Hyperalergenic dog too. I don’t have allergies but out of respect to those who do

  21. 10 years ago I bought a mid-size poodle with wavey hair, not curly hair, five months old. At first I thought he was miss behaving but I came to realize he was just a happy-go -lucky boy and wanted to visit the neighbors. As time went on I had several heart attacks. At first I wasn’t sure he was taking care of me but as time went on it was obvious he was. He would stay near me, walk slow or fast, whatever I wanted. If he noticed my breathing was labored he would stay by my side until I told him it was ok, and then he would walk ahead a little. All this was his own instinct, I didn’t train him at all.
    He died last Feb. 3rd because he had a tumor in his bladder and there was nothing anyone could do.
    I was with him when he died. He was my heart and my sole.
    I haven’t stopped crying since then and was wondering if I should or not, look for a dog. I’m afraid my mood would not be good for a new dog. I have Insomnia, R.A., Diabetes, A Fib. I hate living alone, even as a kid, and am not fond of crowds. I haven/t talked to anyone except for my two daughters who trade off calling every other week, in almost 3 months. I have walked once or twice but it’s not the same. And I just don’t want to meet anyone I know just yet.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  22. Hi. I am depressed and this is hopeful. I hope to have an emotional support dog when I have my own place. Thank you for the article.

  23. May I just say what a relief to find an individual who truly knoows what they
    are discussing on the net. You definitely know how to bring an issue to
    light annd make it important. Morre aand more people need to check this
    out and understand this sie of the story. It’s surprising you aren’t more poular
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    1. My husband has seizures and our Dog goes to where he is and sits and barks till help comes. The doctor said , for my husbands safety, don’t go anywhere without that dog with him. I don’t have training papers but the dog has helped us
      So much. Do we fall under ADA to bring the pup with us?

    1. Author

      Yes, Shih-Tzu dogs are very popular choices that we’ve seen frequently as well!

  24. I have a standard goldendoodle (golden retriever & poodle mix) and he is just the sweetest! He always cheers me up and comforts me 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Brianna,

      If they can serve as a good companion animal for you, then yes.

  25. I have a border collie mix that I would like to ne certified as an ESA dog for my son. My son has Autism. Would I be able to qualify my dog for a support dog for my son.

  26. I suffer from severe depression and anxiety and social issues. I had a golden retriever his name was Toby. He passed away this last weekend 🙁 . I am lost without him he gave me the courage to keep going! I loved him so much he made my life worth living evan if I was having a bad day I had to take care and walk my Toby boy! So my delema is I’m on ODSP. and I can’t afford a golden I have had dogs most of my life and I found the golden was the best dog for my condition. I’m trying to find help so I can get another golden. Any suggestions?

  27. I’m here today because my thripest suggested that I get an ESA I love dogs that can keep me calm I have been diagnosed with anxiety PTSD and manic depression. What kind of pet for ESA fits my medical condition? How do I get one and how much do I have to pay? I have been approved for SSI and I have started receiving my disability check in June 2019 I have been disabled since 2015 I think longer but that is when I applied for SSI.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I’m a nurse AND I have the challenge of also having been diagnosed as suffering from Major Depression Disorder, PTSD, ADHD, Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, mild Agoraphobia, Sleep Disorder, and am an Empath. It’s been 20yrs since my initial visits, diagnosis and MANY different treatments, including therapy @least once every 3mos, medications, etc. I also have 2 Dalmatians despite my allergy to dogs. I can tell you w/total confidence that it’s not the breed of the dog that’s important. It’s truly all about the dogs temperament, personality, and how you interact together. ALL dogs are individuals, the same as you & me. What breed a particular dog is no more important in their ability to be a support animal than nationality, race, gender, etc would be for us. The dog that works for me probably wouldn’t work for you, and vice versa. Trust your own instincts and your heart. You’ll know when you’ve just met your new best friend.
      Lynette Markey
      Lincoln, NE

  28. Hi I am interested in some information about a service dog for me I suffer from PTSD,and Depression,and and suicide thinking 24/7 from a brain Injury in the back of my brain ,it was suggested to me about to look into a service dog from my doctor ,but I can’t find any help here in Dayton Ohio since I am a adult .There is plenty of help for children which is awesome ,but not for an adult like me not so much . How can I get service dog , I don’t have any pets at all to help me at all

  29. Is it possible to still get a German Shepherd or a Golden Retriever if I live in a fairly small apartment…

  30. Hi, I believe an ESA dog would benefit me extremely; however, I am very interested in the Shih Tzu breed and have been wanting one for years. I’ve been extensively researching the topic, but no source that I have found lists the Shih Tzu as being a form of emotional support. So my question is: is this because this particular breed isn’t a good ESA candidate or is it because it was just overlooked?

    1. Author

      Hi Kerrie,

      We’ve had many cases with Shih Tzu dogs. They are a great companion animal, not so much as a service or therapy animal though.

      1. Hello, thanks for getting back to me. I have a follow-up question that I would really appreciate your advice on. I have researched the difference between an ESA and a service or therapy dog. My therapists and I feel as though I don’t require a service dog, just a dog that provides emotional support. In that case, would you say that a Shih Tzu dog would be useful for the purpose of providing emotional support alone?

  31. Active senior, I suffer from depression and anxiety. I will be living on my own very soon and my doctor has suggested I get a dog to be my companion and emotional support. Because of my disability I need to get a very smart small dog that may be intuitive to changes in my health and emotions. What kind do you suggest I look for?

  32. I am looking for a service dog that deals with social anxiety its gotten so bad i dont leave my house can someone point me in the right direction

  33. I don’t have esa’s (would t even know how to go about that in Australia) but I do have a pleather of mental health issues and my 3 bull breed boys have all been amazing in different ways for my mental health. For example tonight my partner couldn’t get me out of a ptsd attack with a few small gestures he knew to go get one of the boys (I’d been stuck in this mental trap for over half an hour) and once my blue boys out his weight against his head in the crook of my neck licked my ears till I was back and knows stoking his ears are a massive sensory relief for me in those moment. So don’t look there’s guys over everyone!

  34. I have depression and anxiety. I can’t walk much. My husband will be able to walk him. I need a small dog to sit and keep me company. I can get to door to let out on leash. My doctor said I should get a comfort dog.a small one that I can carry in a purse What dog should I get and how much do they cost?

  35. hi so i have really bad anxiety and social anxiety and depression as well (all diagnosed btw i know self diagnosing isn’t super healthy) . and i really struggle with being touched by other people as it, surprise surprise, makes me anxious. but a lot of the time i feel like i just need a hug or just comfort but it’s really hard for me to find that with people as i’m so uncomfortable with others. do you think i could qualify for a esa? and if so how should i go about bringing this up to my parents?

    thank you
    – an anxious and sad teen

  36. I am disabled I have a seizure disorder and I also have PTSD bipolar and severe anxiety. Plus my income is limited. I live alone and my therapist thinks a support animal will help alot. I just don’t know if I can afford it. What should I do??

  37. I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I went to my local animal shelter and found the perfect dog to help me. The problem is it is part husky and on our landlords restricted pet breed list. As an ESA can they restrict the breed?

  38. I just got a pit bull puppy to be my ESA and i have no regrets. He brings me joy and that’s what i need. Being bipolar and depressed i just want a companion:)

  39. My husband and I have a 12 year old daughter, and we just found out has been sexually molested ever since she was 5 years old and needless to say it’s got her all messed up. She’s been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, PTSD, severe anxiety plus she has Hashimoto’s disease on top of that. She loves animals and I have no doubt that an emotional support animal would help her so much along with her counseling and everything. Is there anyone who can help steer me in the right direction as far as where to start? I appreciate any help because my baby girl is suffering and it’s killing me and my husband. I wish I could take the pain for her.

  40. Hi. I’m looking at what breeds are good for ESA’s or service dogs right now because I’m at the point where I feel like I need one. Last week I cried three days straight then Saturday which was the third day I cried I had a tense feeling come over me which made me feel like I was mad at someone for no reason and wanted to throw something across the room. Then Monday I cried again and not only that I’m hearing voices too. I hear my name being called out at work or I hear a woman shouting ma’am like they’re trying to get my attention and when I turn around nobodies there. I also feel like something is crawling on me almost all the time. Friday night I felt like ants or something were crawling all over me and I kept checking my bed and I’d itch the spot I’ll feel them crawling at. Luckily I have an appointment with my therapist on the 13th next week. Do you think that this is the right time to bring an ESA or service dog up with her or should I wait?

  41. I have a black mouth cur shar pei mix that came from a shelter I was wondering if I can use her as a emotional support dog bc I have anxiety and depression ?

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