There’s a reason why dogs are often taken to nursing homes to spend time with residents. Research has shown that interaction with these canines has a positive impact on physical wellness, most importantly, lowering high blood pressure and heart rates. And they provide an important emotional need too.
But dogs do not just have beneficial impacts on the elderly. A large number of research studies have shown that they are factors in emotional health as well, specifically in relieving depression, anxiety and stress. While those of us with dogs have probably experienced this at one time or another, it is nice to know that research supports those experiences. Specifically, there is a stress hormone, called cortisol. And the research states that interactions with dogs help to reduce cortisone levels.
The question then becomes, are there differences among breeds of dogs related to emotional support and reduction of stress? The answer is yes, there are. Additional research has identified eleven breeds that seem to have the most stress-reducing impact. They come in all shapes and sizes, so there are plenty of options.
If you would like a large dog, this one will certainly fill the bill. Their average adult weight is around 100 pounds. They are often called “gentle giants,” because, in spite of their size, they are cuddly and loving.
- Welsh Corgi
The Queen of England has one. But you don’t have to be in a high political position to be stressed. They are affectionate and very attached to their owners – a perfect pooch to talk to when you are anxious. And if you prefer something smaller than a Newfoundland, this may be it.
- Standard Poodle
These are smart dogs. But they are also friendly and cuddly. Smaller poodle breeds tend to be a bit more nervous, but the standard does not have those traits. If you also have pet dander allergies, you don’t have to worry – poodles have fur, not hair (and they don’t shed).
- Cocker Spaniel
Another smaller sized dog recognized by his floppy ears and sweet disposition. Cockers are amazingly loyal and affectionate. If you want a smaller dog who will listen to you, cuddle up close, and just make a bad day better, the cocker is for you. If you want to travel with your dog companion, cockers are a great choice – they are not prone to nervousness, and really want to please their owners.
- St. Bernard
If you are a homebody and have a king-sized bed, then a St. Bernard might be just the right stress-reliever buddy. They are huge, loyal, affectionate, and are certainly willing to spend time right next to you. They are also smart, quite protective, and wonderful with kids.
Who can resist those “listening” eyes? If you need a loyal friend who will provide comfort and affection during those stressful moments, just take a moment and sit quietly with this affectionate pal. You’ll feel that cortisol reduction right away. Be prepared for this cuddly little one to consider himself a key family member.
If humor is a stress reducer for you, then the pug may be your answer. These little guys’ antics are enough to keep you amused for many hours and certainly can make you forget about a stressful day at work or a personal issue that is creating anxiety. In addition to their antics, though, they are calm, quite cuddly, and affectionate.
- Golden Retriever
As the name implies, these dogs were originally bred to be hunting retrievers. Over time, though, their love for people won out. Dogs online states that this is one of the best breeds for those who deal with anxiety or stress. If you do choose this amazing and loving pet, be ready to give them lots of exercises too. Walks and trips to dog parks are also good therapy.
Based upon a study conducted by the UK Kennel Club, the Havanese is claimed to be the best overall breed for people dealing with stress and anxiety. This little guy is playful, loves laps, and will cuddle as much as wanted. If your choice is a furry small dog, this one’s for you.
- Great Dane
At first glance, the Great Dane doesn’t look to be a cuddly, affectionate dog who will share your couch or even your bed. But they are loyal, trustworthy, and actually pretty quiet. Most of all, they are extremely affectionate. Stressed and anxious humans who want a larger-than-life buddy will love the Great Dane.
- Yorkshire Terrier
Sometimes these are called “purse dogs” because they could fit in a good-sized pocketbook. But what makes them a great breed for relief from stress is their ability and desire to form strong bonds with humans. Those bonds can serve to help someone who just needs to hold and cuddle a dog who will return that affection.
Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a psychologist and family counselor. She is also a freelance writer and a contributor to Essayguard. Her passion is writing about leading a healthy family life and helping people enjoy their lives to the fullest.