Best Dogs for Anxiety: 24 Comforting Breeds to Help People with Anxiety

By John Martin - August 6, 2021

Having dogs around can be a great way to reduce your anxiety levels and to manage difficult situations in a calmer way. This is why dogs are popular when it comes to acting as therapy animals for people with mental health issues.

Not all breeds of dogs can be useful for anxiety. There are some dogs that serve the purpose better due to their temperament and care requirements.

Through this list, we will take you through a few such dogs that can help you out.

Things to Consider

Before we get into the specific breeds, let’s briefly take a look at a few things you should keep in mind while looking for a dog for anxiety.

  • It is important for your dog to be easily trainable so that they can meet your demands whenever you need them to.
  • They should have a friendly, affectionate, strong, adaptable and calm temperament.
  • The agility and energy levels of your dog should be compatible with your own levels so that you can seek exercise or rest whenever you need it.
  • How much maintenance your dog requires is also something else to consider. Too many grooming requirements could end up elevating your anxiety instead of reducing it.

If your dog meets the above requirements, they will help you with your anxiety as such interactions can increase your oxytocin levels while also providing affection, calmness and security. This can also reduce cortisol levels along with blood pressure.

Chihuahua

Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are small-sized dogs weighing barely 6 pounds and measuring up to 8 inches in their height. This small size can actually help with your anxiety as it helps them maneuver spaces quickly and follow you around wherever you go.

They have a lifespan of approximately 15 years, allowing them to be a part of your life for a long time so that you can have a reliable presence.

They are affectionate, charming, loyal and flexible in their temperament while also being easy to train to meet your needs.

They tend to bark frequently but this can be reduced through training. They also have high levels of energy that enable them to accompany you on your health-boosting exercise routine.

They equally enjoy lying around and providing closeness and warmth.

Chihuahuas do not require high maintenance in terms of grooming. They do not shed too much fur, nor do they drool to a significant amount.

Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Corgi is another small dog that can be one of two breeds namely, Pembroke and Cardigan. They can measure up to 13 inches in height while weighing around 30 pounds.

With a life expectancy of around 12 years, a Corgi can provide a long-lasting support system for you to manage your anxiety better. They are extremely friendly and affectionate dogs as well, giving you physical affection and warmth if you require it when you feel anxious.

They exhibit a similar kind of affection when it comes to strangers, kids and other dogs as well, removing an additional stressor from your life. Being highly active and playful, Corgis can prove to be suitable pets to exercise with daily as well.

Due to their charming presence, they can liven up your surroundings.

They tend to be smart and vigilant, being able to sense shifts in your mood and offering the support you need.

Also Read: 38 of the Most Adorable Corgi Mix Breeds

French Bulldog

French Bulldog on table

French Bulldogs are bred for the purpose of being companion dogs, implying that they can certainly help you reduce your anxiety levels, provide you some company and conduct some tasks for you if trained to do so.

They are small in size, weighing less than 30 pounds with a height of about 13 inches. They have an approximate lifespan of about 10-13 years.

French Bulldogs are greatly loving and friendly, giving you support and attention whenever necessary. These dogs are affectionate with other people as well, including children and strangers.

If you have another dog in your proximity, the French Bulldog will be able to get along well with them.

These dogs are also easy to train with moderate levels of energy, making them reliable whether you need to rest at home or go on your daily walk or run.

They do not bark often and enjoy being around people.

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

Cockier Spaniels are around 15 inches in height and 30 pounds in weight. They are small in size as well, making it easier for you to travel with them in case you need them around.

Cocker Spaniels are very friendly and kind to the people around them, including children and new people. They get along fairly well with dogs of other breeds as well.

They are loyal and trainable, allowing you to teach them to respond appropriately to your needs and commands. Initially bred as hunting companions, these dogs naturally seek out company, maintaining a constant presence in your life.

They do, however, tend to shed a bit of fur and need frequent grooming, which might increase their maintenance requirements.

They are quite athletic and agile as well, enjoying frequent exercise and giving you a reason to step out and join them. Their playfulness can further add energy to your surroundings.

Dachshund

Dachshund breed profile

The Dachshund is a short but long dog that can weigh up to 30 pounds. These dogs have plenty of energy to run and play around with you to help you get some exercise to reduce your anxiety.

They are also affectionate, charming and endearing in their temperament and can get along well with most people around them.

They are flexible and can learn to adapt to your requirements and new surroundings well, making them suitable pets to have around.

They tend to be quite alert and vigilant in nature, enabling them to spot differences in your mood as well as potential threats in the environment.

They are frequent barkers but easy to train, making it easier for you to manage unwanted behavior. However, you might experience some stubbornness and aggression during earlier stages.

They require standard levels of maintenance and care and are generally easy to take care of.

Also Read: 19 Dog Breeds Most Prone to Obesity

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever drooling

Golden Retrievers are generally medium to large in size with a height of up to 25 inches and a weight of approximately 70 pounds.

They can prove to be a bit heavy but are highly energetic and happy dogs that can liven up your environment significantly.

Golden Retrievers enjoy plenty of company and get along well with most people. They enjoy providing affection as well, allowing you to frequently play along with them and pet them.

They are extremely loyal dogs that are eager to learn. This makes them easy to train so that you can teach them how to respond well to your needs.

They are flexible as well. In fact, Golden Retrievers are quite popular as domestic pets.

They are frequently used as assistance dogs when it comes to people with disabilities, making them sympathetic to your needs and moods. They also need plenty of exercise on a daily basis.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever playing

The Labrador Retriever is also medium to large in size, proving to be a strong, sturdy and reliable presence that can successfully calm you down.

These dogs are some of the most popular pets in the world due to their affectionate, friendly, enthusiastic and active temperament. They are not only friendly with their immediate pet owners but also with strangers, children and other dogs.

They are patient dogs. This can be helpful when you are feeling anxious. At the same time, they are playful and mischievous in their own way, providing energy and happiness around you.

Their loyalty and easy trainability are additional traits that can help ease your anxiety levels by teaching them how to respond to you.

When combined with their flexibility, Labrador Retrievers prove to be useful as assistance dogs for people with disabilities. This also extends to anxiety and other mental health issues.

They do, however, shed a lot of fur which requires frequent cleaning up.

Yorkie

Yorkie licking nose

A Yorkie, or the Yorkshire Terrier, is another extremely small breed of dog. These dogs only weigh around 7 pounds and measure up to 8 inches in their height.

Their size makes it easier for you to carry them around to new places to help soothe your anxiety.

They have a long mane-like coat throughout their body that needs frequent grooming. However, they are otherwise easy to maintain.

These dogs are friendly, active and enjoy playing and running around. They need a lot of exercise on a regular basis. This can help you keep yourself active as well.

Their flexibility and open affection towards anyone around them can make them suitable pets to keep around you. Their vigilance helps them keep track of their surroundings as well.

While they bark a lot, they can easily be trained to limit this. They are additionally loyal but stubborn at the same time. They enjoy staying around pet owners most of the time.

Greyhound

Greyhound face closeup

Greyhounds are medium-sized dogs that are tall but lean in their structure. They are fast and agile since they were originally bred for racing.

This makes them energetic, requiring plenty of exercise every day. This can allow you to stay active alongside them as well.

Greyhounds are generally affectionate and loving when it comes to people around them while still being appropriately alert. They tend to bark to a certain extent as well, but this can be dealt with through their adaptability and easy trainability.

They do not require too much maintenance as well since they do not shed or drool too much. They are also independent in nature, allowing you to seek them out whenever you need to (as long as they have enough freedom otherwise to move around).

Greyhounds are becoming increasingly popular as pets around the world, providing further indication of their loyalty and reliability.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard walking next to fence

Saint Bernards are known to originate from Switzerland and Italy. They are large in size, measuring up to 30 inches in height and weighing nearly 150-180 pounds.

Their large size might be intimidating and overwhelming, but these dogs are actually extremely gentle and patient in terms of their temperament, making them ideal to help you deal with your anxiety while also being reliable and affectionate.

They get along well with children and strangers as well. With sufficient training, they can learn to respond appropriately to your commands and needs.

They have a very low barking level which further adds to their calmness.

Their energy and stimulation levels are standard, allowing you to undertake regular exercise while also staying in and resting.

Being vigilant and flexible, these dogs can notice minor shifts around them pretty well. They have an easy time adapting to new situations and surroundings as well, making them trustworthy when it comes to quelling your anxiety.

Also Read: 19 Playful and Charming Saint Bernard Mix Breeds

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small-sized dog. They are endearing, loving and affectionate to everyone around them, whether that includes you and your family, strangers or even other dogs.

They are playful, active and enjoy exercising and running around. They are also easy to train in terms of attending to your requirements and commands whenever required.

These dogs are flexible and adaptable as well. Whether you want to go out and play or stay in and relax, they can accompany you for both, offering their company as a way for you to calm down.

They are easy to care for as well. They shed fur and drool only moderately and do not need frequent grooming either.

They are loyal dogs that will obey you consistently. Their friendliness further makes them a highly popular choice as a pet all around the world, pointing to their universal likeability.

Also Read: 21 of the Most Popular Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mix Breeds

Pug

hyper pug running in the grass

Pugs are another small and popular breed around the world. They weigh less than 20 pounds and tend to grow up to a height of 13 inches. They are generally characterized by their short, round and wrinkly face.

Pugs are very genial and friendly with people, including strangers and children. Being lively and high spirited, these dogs can be fun to have around you.

Their flexibility and trainability further allow you to have a more convenient experience with them.

Their frequent shedding requires ample cleaning up, but they do not require too much maintenance otherwise beyond what is standard.

Since pugs do not bark very often, they can provide a relatively quiet atmosphere as well. They enjoy the company of people and tend to stay as close to you as possible, which can be helpful for you when you are feeling anxious.

While they have standard energy levels, they also prefer to rest and sleep for long stretches of time. It is important to take them out for regular walks or exercises.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to be large in size, weighing up to 120 pounds. They are extremely gentle, kind and friendly to people and other dogs. They originate from Switzerland where they were bred for herding purposes.

With a life expectancy of 10 years, you can rely on these dogs to stick around and provide you with company and affection.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are confident and patient in temperament, providing the appropriate traits when it comes to helping you deal with your anxiety.

They are highly active and energetic, needing plenty of outdoor activities. This gives you a reason to accompany them and interact with them even more.

Simultaneously, they enjoy relaxing with you as well. They tend to stay close to their owners, so in case you require them immediately, they will be able to respond to your needs.

Their flexibility adds to this as well, allowing them to learn your needs and adapt to new situations quickly.

Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog breed

Newfoundlands are large dogs as well. They can weigh nearly 150 pounds and tend to have a height of approximately 30 inches.

They usually live up to 10 years of age. They originate from Newfoundland (now in Canada).

Known to be intelligent, alert and intuitive, these dogs will respond to your beck and call with appropriate training. They can also accurately sense your needs well to be able to acknowledge them.

Newfoundlands are known to be loving and friendly in terms of their interactions with people, making them suitable as pets, particularly if you tend to feel anxious frequently.

It is important but simple to train them to maneuver their way around you and the house due to their large size. However, due to their loyalty and gentleness, they make great companions and are known to watch over their family well too.

Miniature American Shepherd

Miniature American Shepherd

Miniature American Shepherds are small dogs that originate from the United States. Initially bred for herding and sports, these dogs are active and energetic.

They can be useful when it comes to creating a happy and vigorous atmosphere around you.

These dogs require plenty of exercise on a daily basis, helping you stay active as well. They are smart, vigilant and intelligent, making them alert to shifts around them.

However, their flexibility allows them to deal with these fairly well along with the obedience that comes with their training.

Their loyalty and devotion keeps them close to you often. In the past few years, the popularity of these dogs has increased remarkably due to their affectionate and charming temperament.

They need standard levels of maintenance and grooming that can allow you to relax at other times.

They come in a variety of colors such as black or red, usually accompanied by light marks around their body.

Standard Poodle

Poodle portrait

Standard Poodles are small to medium in size. Most of them are more than 15 inches tall but can weigh anywhere between 40 and 70 pounds.

Originally, they were bred to retrieve things until they became popular as household pets.

They are well known for their curly coat that needs to be groomed regularly to avoid any matting or knotting issues. This might require you to pay more attention to their maintenance.

Standard Poodles are friendly and affectionate. They are energetic and enjoy being around people.

They also need a lot of stimulation, both physical and mental, that can help keep you occupied and active as well.

Since they are easy to train, you can teach them to respond to you and your surroundings in an appropriate way. They are intelligent in terms of learning how to sense things quickly.

They are also alert and protective at times.

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees can weigh over 80-100 pounds while measuring around 30 inches in height. They originate from France and are generally white in color with a few patches in other colors.

They tend to have a lifespan of around 12 years.

These dogs are generally independent and can keep themselves entertained and occupied to a certain extent, allowing you enough time to yourself. Once trained, however, they can learn to respond to your call or attention.

They are also highly protective and vigilant and will try to protect you from harm. This trait is useful when it comes to perceiving any kind of disturbances in their surroundings.

They are affectionate and friendly when it comes to you and your family, but might be slightly cautious when it comes to strangers. They have standard energy and stimulation levels, ensuring that you can both rest and exercise with them.

Their care and maintenance levels are moderate as well.

Great Dane

Great Dane standing in front of fence

Great Danes originate from Germany and are also referred to as German Mastiffs. They are quite large in size with a height of around 30 inches and a weight that measures up to 170 pounds.

They were initially bred for hunting but are now largely domesticated. They are warm and friendly in terms of their temperament.

Their sturdy and calm presence also makes them highly reliable and can be a good way to help you ground yourself when you are feeling anxious.

They can get along well with you and your family but tend to be quite alert and vigilant when they sense a threat in the environment. They can adapt fairly quickly to new situations, people and surroundings, which can be helpful when they face changes in your own temperament.

They are playful and energetic, encouraging you to undertake daily exercises with them so that you can calm down and freshen up as well.

Also Read: 21 of the Best Great Dane Mix Breeds

Border Collie

Border Collie playing with a cat

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs that can come in various colors. They have a height of around 20 inches with a weight of up to 50-60 pounds.

With a lifespan of up to 15 years, they can be your loyal companion for a long time, giving you (and your anxiety) a sense of stability and groundedness.

Border Collies are highly energetic and require lots of outdoor activity and exercise. This athleticism can help you stay healthy and active as well which can, in turn, impact your mental health positively.

This requirement, however, is something you must follow regularly as a lack of activity could cause them to act out.

Border Collies are affectionate with the people around them as well as with strangers even though they are initially protective and cautious. Apart from that, they are flexible and intelligent, allowing them to cater to your needs and commands well.

Pomeranian

Pomeranian sitting

Pomeranian dogs originate from Poland. They are small in size and measure up to 7 inches in both height and weight.

They can live for up to 16 years, thereby being a loyal and reliable companion.

These dogs are outgoing, spirited and enjoy playing around. They have standard energy levels that require regular exercise but can also enjoy themselves while relaxing at home with you, making them highly flexible in terms of your lifestyle and also with new situations.

They tend to be protective and can bark often, which is why proper training and socialization are required to let them respond well to you.

Their stubbornness can also be controlled to an extent through training. Mostly, however, they are friendly with the people around them.

Their coat requires grooming once in a couple of months to prevent major issues such as matting. Their maintenance levels are otherwise quite standard.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise dogs, from France, are small in size and weigh less than 20 pounds. They usually have a white coat throughout their body.

They tend to be highly friendly, lively and affectionate with people, whether that includes close family, strangers or children. They can get along well with other dogs as well.

Their fur tends to form a mane around their head unless groomed differently. This requires regular maintenance and grooming to prevent tangling and matting.

Apart from being sociable, these dogs are playful, curious and intelligent as well. Their high energy levels can also act as an encouragement for you to play along with them to refresh your own mind and body alongside theirs.

They are eager to please and obedient, making them easy to train so that they can respond to your commands and requirements. Being intelligent dogs, they can learn quickly and sense what you need from them.

Havanese

Havanese sitting in the grass

Havanese dogs originate from Cuba. They are small sized and generally available in a variety of colors.

They also have a long coat that extends to the ground that needs frequent and careful attention and grooming.

Havanese dogs are highly flexible and can learn how to adapt to all kinds of situations, making them suitable to help you deal with your anxiety, whether it is generalized or specific.

They are sociable and affectionate, enjoying the company of everyone around them. This also requires you to remain present around them at most times, otherwise they could become anxious as well.

This kind of mutual presence can be beneficial for you and the dog. Their intelligence and curiosity can enable them to offer you the comfort you need.

While easily trainable, they are also known to be funny and entertaining. This can be a great way to add some humor to your day.

Boxer

Boxer posing

Medium in size, Boxer dogs can weigh up to 80 pounds and have a lifespan of around 12 years. They are loyal, active and playful companions that can ensure a calmer mind for yourself simply through their presence.

This is perhaps why they are a popular choice of pet for several households across the world. These dogs are affectionate and are known to get along very well with children in particular.

They can learn to accustom themselves to different kinds of lifestyles and circumstances. This is an effective trait to have when it comes to helping you manage your anxiety levels.

Since they are so lively and active, you can accompany them on their daily exercise and play requirements.

Their protectiveness can be strong when it comes to you and your family, but their stubbornness can be reduced through training.

Lhasa Apso

Sleepy Lhasa Apso dog

The Lhasa Apso originates from Tibet and comes in a variety of colors. These dogs are small in size, measuring up to 10 inches in height and weighing less than 20 pounds.

They have a long and straight coat all over their body. It is essential to groom this coat frequently so that no issues can arise. This can require a bit more maintenance when it comes to these dogs.

Lhasa Apso dogs are curious and smart in temperament, allowing them to learn quickly and respond well to your needs and commands.

Being highly endearing and sociable, these dogs can provide you with both comfort and companionship. They are extremely alert, which might lead to caution when they come across strangers. However, this can be dealt with using proper socialization.

Overall, these dogs are confident and elegant in terms of their behavior and appearance.

Final Remarks

Through this comprehensive list, we have taken you through a number of dog breeds that can help you quell and manage your anxiety. Remember to keep your own requirements in mind alongside the temperament, size and care needs of your dog so that you know what to expect.

Based on the specifications elaborated on above, you can make a decision and feel the difference.