The Top 5 Emotional Support Breeds for Working with Children

Some dogs are just better suited for tasks than others, much like people. As far as emotional support animals (ESAs), there are a lot of them, but some are ideal for the job. At this point, it’s pretty well established that pets improve mental health in people experiencing crises, including stress, sadness, or loneliness. We’re profiling the Top 5 large-breed ESAs that stand out from the rest of the pack for their caring natures and gentle manner when it comes to supporting kids’ emotional health.

They’re all winners in our opinion, but you may have your own favorite for one reason or another. Without further ado, here they are:

yellow lab
Photo: Pixabay/doanme

1. Labrador Retriever

Labs are one of the most beloved pets and assistance animals due to their laid-back temperament, unfailing loyalty, reliability, and sensitive soul when it comes to their human’s emotions. Unflappable, they enjoy affection and being petted and can think of no better place to be than by your side. Their calming effect is legendary, and they make wonderful family pets because of their patience with children. They are a top pick for emotional therapy dogs for a clear reason.

great pyrenees
Photo: Pixabay/jathomas

2. Great Pyrenees

Originally bred to keep sheep safe from wolves, they are known for being gentle giants. Tolerant and low-key, they make terrific cuddle buddies. Unlike other large dogs bred to shepherd herds or flocks, Great Pyrenees don’t require a working-dog lifestyle full of stimulation. Instead, they prefer relaxing around their people all day while providing the kind of reassuring, unconditional love and companionship we could all enjoy.

Irish Wolfhound
Photo: Pixabay/lutz-p0

3. Irish Wolfhound

While they may not necessarily look the part, the Irish Wolfhound — with its gangly, scruffy look — are more akin to Disney versions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales than hulking figures from folklore. These loyal dogs are known for being easy to train and relatively quiet, with a demeanor that is calm and attentive. Yet another gentle giant, they can grow to be up to 180 pounds and still look for a space to snuggle as if they were a much smaller dog.

newfoundland dog
Photo: Pixabay/CarlosAndresCruz

4. Newfoundland

Like Labs, Newfoundlands are known for being incredibly tolerant and patient with kids. In fact, they’re so docile and good-natured with them that the two breeds ought to be up for sainthood. That and the Newfie’s appearance of being big fluffy teddy bears make them a popular choice with children. Males can reach 150 pounds, and the breed has a reputation for being watchful and protective of children. Seemingly unfazed, they remain calm in nearly every situation and provide excellent emotional support.

german shepherd
Photo: Pixabay/GoranH

5. German Shepherd

While German Shepherds have a reputation as guard and patrol dogs, they are also amazing guide and therapy dogs providing stabilizing emotional support wherever needed. The ultimate all-around working breed, German Shepherds are fiercely loyal to their individual handlers and bond firmly with their families. Highly intelligent, they enjoy human interaction, but they may need slightly more exercise or mental stimulation than the previous breeds on this list.

It should go without saying that all animals need exercise and a certain amount of stimulation, regardless of age or breed, so make sure they’re a good fit for your family, lifestyle, and needs before adopting one.

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