10 Best Emotional Support Dog Breeds

There’s no doubt that dogs make our lives better. But some dogs take it a step further and improve the quality of life for their humans suffering from depression and anxiety through unwavering affection.

People who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions are often looking for a doting dog that will be there to comfort them and provide security. Studies have found that dogs will attempt to soothe their owners when they are distressed, proving they really are man’s best friend.


Emotional support animals (ESA) provide comfort and reduce stress without any previous training. Unlike service and therapy dogs who go through extensive training to perform their jobs, ESA rely solely on their strong emotional bond with their humans.

While all dogs love unconditionally, some breeds are classified as “love bugs” and instinctively crawl into their owner’s lap to cuddle when they sense they’ve had a bad day. A great ESA is friendly, affectionate, and loyal.

The ten dog breeds below, in no particular order, are great choices if you are looking for an emotional support dog.

Pit Bull


Contrary to the public’s opinion of bully breeds, they make amazing emotional support dogs. Anyone who has ever owned a pit bull knows they are super affectionate and love to cuddle. They are great protectors who have a heart of gold.

Yorkshire Terrier


Yorkies are the best lap dogs. They don’t require a lot of exercise and just want to be on or near their person at all times. Although small in size, they have gigantic hearts.

Golden Retriever


Goldens are friendly dogs that love people, so it’s no wonder they’re a family favorite. This loyal breed does require daily exercise and stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Their exuberance is sure to bring a smile to your face and wash your worries away.



These small dogs are fiercely loyal and usually bond closely with one person. Their size is great for people living in apartments or that travel. What they lack in size they make up for with affection.



With their instinct to herd, they are constantly keeping watch over their “flock”, including their humans. They are very attuned to their human’s emotions and rush in to comfort them when they are distressed.

German Shepherd


This devoted breed loves to have a job, but have also been called velcro dogs. Their intelligence combined with their need to please makes them perfect emotional support dogs. Just make sure they get enough physical and mental exercise.



People are drawn to this breed’s wrinkly face and lively personality. Their crazy antics are sure to make you laugh out loud. These dogs are attentive to their humans and are always up for cuddling.

Labrador Retriever


It’s clear to see why this friendly, intelligent, and versatile breed tops the list of most popular dogs every year. They are eager to please and do well in social settings. Since they are heavily food driven, they require daily exercise, which is actually good for everyone’s health.



Obedient, friendly, and active accurately describes this breed. They are quick learners and get along with adults and children. Their adorable looks and jovial personalities are sure to relax anyone.



These fluff balls love nothing more than cuddling in their human’s lap. They provide unlimited attention and affection and just ask for the same in return.


While this list is not exhaustive of all the dogs that make great emotional support dogs, it’s a place to start.

To get your dog registered as an emotional support pet, you must have a letter from a mental health care provider stating your “need” for an ESA. Then the next step is to find the perfect partner. The best place to look is at your local shelter. As you can see, dogs of all sizes and breeds make great emotional support dogs, so adopt don’t shop!

Additional Resources

  • Popular Dog Breeds & Where To Adopt Them
  • 10 Best Dogs For Apartments & Small Spaces
  • 10 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
  • 10 Velcro Dog Breeds
  • 10 Lap Dog Breeds That Love To Cuddle
  • 10 Energetic Dog Breeds For Active Families
  • Lazy Dog Breeds That Will Be Happy To Let You Stay In Bed On Saturday Morning
  • 10 Dog Breeds That Are Smart As A Whip
  • 10 Dog Breeds Commonly Found In Shelters
  • How To Adopt The Perfect Rescue Dog
  • Help Rescue Animals

    Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free!