Best Dog Breeds For Your Emotional Health

I have a Therapy Dog called Toby. He is a Psychiatric MindDog trained by the MindDog Association. He means the world to me and has made a fantastic difference to my life. He not only is an amazing companion who can go everywhere as he has the same rights as a Seeing Eye Dog but it gives me confidence to go out a lot more than I did before I got him.

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder as well as Complex PTSD from abuse as a child. He has been trained to put his paws on my lap and lick my face when I dissociate and change alters. This has the amazing effect of bringing me back to the present. Also due to my suicidality we can have no closed doors in the house, so if I close a door he sits outside and barks alerting my husband.

He is amazing at picking up when I am crying. He just puts a paw on my lap or jumps onto the bed and sits beside me with a paw on my back. He shortens the length of time I am distressed. If I wake during the night he alerts my husband by waking him up through licking his face. He has been hugely instrumental in keeping me safe.

After from the work he does with me he is a huge addition to our whole family. He gets on with everyone and when the children come home from Sydney or Melbourne the welcome he gives them is heart warming. Also when I am in hospital he is a wonderful companion for my husband going everywhere with him.

I would urge you to think about getting a Therapy Dog if you don’t already have one. Here are breeds that are suitable. If you don’t want to go through the training just having the dog is a huge comfort and companionship.

Dogs have the incredible power to help us improve our health, live longer, and be happier overall. For years, scientists have linkedpet ownership to good mental health. Dog ownership, in particular, has been shown to decrease cardiovascular disease and lead to a longer life. 

All dogs can provide a certain amount of calm and happiness, but if you’re looking to add a canine friend to your life for emotional support or improved mental health, some breeds definitely like to snuggle a bit more or will stay by your side more than others. 

This doesn’t mean purebred dogs and expensive breeders are the only way to go. There are so many great benefits to adopting a rescue dog, and a good adoption counselor can help you find a dog that’s a good fit for you. 

Remember the best dog is the one that YOU connect with most, so be open to different breeds. Here are 17  you might want to look out for — and with a little bit of training and time, you could have a pup that helps make you happier and healthier! 

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Golden Retriever 

These sweet big guys are one of the most common therapy dogs for the vision and hearing impaired, and they make good pets for emotional health, too. Goldens are smart, loyal, and gentle. They are also easy to train and extremely reliable. 

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Labrador Retriever 

Labs are great for first-time dog owners. They are everything you think about in owning a dog — playful, fun, friendly, and easy-going. The lab will always be up for a walk or adventure and will help motivate you to get moving.

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Border Collie

Border Collies are high-energy dogs, so the more activity you can give a them, the better. They aren’t a fit for everyone, but if you like to always be on the move, you’ll be best friends.

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Yorkshire Terrier

These little guys want lots of attention, but they will give lots of attention, too. In general, dogs in the terrier family are good for providing emotional support, but Yorkshire Terriers, in particular, have a lot of love and affection to give.

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Welsh Corgi

These pups will keep you on your toes. They tend to get into some mischief from time to time, but they are incredibly loyal dogs. Don’t let their size fool you, they are fierce and definitely hold their own.

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St. Bernard

This gentle giant is a huge ball of fluff, making a great cuddle companion. St. Bernards are also known for being great with small kids, so if you’re looking for a family companion, it might be the perfect choice.

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Pugs naturally have that happy, carefree look, and it’s certainly part of their personality as well. They can be somewhat stubborn from time to time, so remember to have patience through the training period. But they are lovable little charmers.

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German Shepherd

This might be the most loyal dog on the list. German shepherds take their jobs of watching over their person or family very seriously. They can be protective, but they are also a rock for emotional and mental support.

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American Pit Bull Terrier

Don’t overlook the pit bull. (Yes, it’s part of the terrier family, which most people don’t realize.) This dog can get a bad rap, but they are such a people pleasers, the more love they can get, the better. If you’re looking to adopt and come across a pit mix, do not shy away, it just might be the perfect companion.

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Great Pyrenees

For those of you who like big dogs, this is another one. (They often reach 100+ pounds.) These are beautiful dogs that like to have a close watch over their family. They’ll love to always be by your side or have you close by.

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Great Dane

These are happy-go-lucky dogs that will always be up for some cuddling. In fact, they might overdo it at times, and you’ll find yourself being pushed off the couch or bed (if that’s the kind of thing you allow). They also make for adorable puppies as they grow into their big bodies. 

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This is a beautiful, regal dog that has quite a reputation to live up to. As sporting dogs, they like to be out and about, but they’re quite happy curled up in your lap as well.

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These are great guard dogs who are extremely loyal to their owners. If you can find a rescue dog that is a boxer mix, definitely give it a second look. They just might be one of the best dogs you’ll ever have.

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The little Pomeranian is fearless, often standing up to much bigger dogs on walks or in dog parks. Like other dogs, they excel best with a little training. They are happy dogs that love being by their owner’s side most.

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All bulldogs, including the popular English bulldog and French bulldog, are good for emotional and mental support. Neither are very loud or bark-y dogs, and both are very dedicated to their owners.

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These regal dogs are one of the quietest out there — they’re very content with short walks and sleeping most of the day away. There are greyhound rescue organizations all over the country that can help you figure out if this is the right kind of dog for you. If so, you’ll have years with a loving companion.

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Cocker Spaniel

These fluffy guys don’t like being left alone, which is good if you’re looking for a companion to stay by your side most of the time. They are playful, easy-going dogs that are also adorable with those big floppy ears.

Remember the best dog is the one that YOU connect with most. Be open to different breeds, and especially adoption. With a little bit of training and time, you could have a pup that makes you happier and healthier, too! 

For more information on CPTSD and other issues visit our YouTube Channel

If you need support or would like to connect with like-minded people join our Private and Closed online Facebook Group for Child Abuse Survivors and those with CPTSD. Click here to join

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    • Hi Casey, I have had a lot of people tell me they have pit bulls and what a wonderful breed they are. Tolerant, loyal and great with children. Those traits in a dog make them very good companions. All the best Erin.

      • My daughter has a pit bull and he’s the most loving and affectionate dog I’ve ever seen. Whenever anyone in the house cries he’s bam right there side hugging and sleeping give the occasional kiss away of the tears. We love him so very much and can’t imagine the cruel things people do with this breed when they are the most sensitive animals I’ve ever seen! He is a blessing.

      • Hi Ann, yes I agree with you about how sensitive Pit Bulls are. I have a friend who has one and it plays quite happily with my dog and she says he’s fantastic with the children. It is such a terrible shame they have had a bad rap just because certain people train them to be aggressive. It’s the people not the dog. Thanks for getting in touch. All the best Erin.

  1. I’m so happy to see pit bulls in the list. They are so great with children and are just big cuddles. They can be protective but also patient and tolerant.

    Right now, I have a shepherd/lab mix and he is my shadow. He is a rescue from the shelter and at first had some separation anxiety. Now he just takes his job seriously, and he’s decided his job is to watch over me. Except at night when he watches over my sleeping autistic grandson.

    Thank you for sharing this post. As you can tell from my long comments, I love dogs and agree that they’re great companions!

    • Thank you for getting in touch and for your comments. That is fantastic that your dog looks after you so well and sleeps with your autistic grandson. I too have an autistic son so understand how wonderful it is for them to have a connection with animals. It helps with their speech, fine motor skills among many other benefits.

      A shepherd/lab mix must look amazing. Where does he get his coat and colour from? Both are beautiful breeds and noted for their loyalty. All the best Erin

      • Thanks Erin,
        He’s got the coloring and tail of a shepherd, the face and ears of a lab, he’s got the double fur of a lab too. His name is Zeus aka Big Dumb Dog, his tongue hangs out the side of his mouth and he chases his own tail. 😂 Rescue dogs are the best!

      • He sounds amazing and such a character too. My dog is an Australia Kelpie. They are usually used for sheep rounding or cattle work but he was deemed no good so surrendered to the shelter where we rescued him. He is so smart you can teach him anything. The dogs trainers were doubtful about his suitability to be a MindDog but he changed their minds pretty quickly. Agree with you rescue dogs are the best. Erin

I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin

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