Various types of emotional support dogs have one common universal trait: the ability to comfort people who are emotionally or mentally troubled.
An emotional support dog should not be confused with a service dog, a canine companion trained to assist people with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. A service dog performs specific tasks such as guide a person with visual impairment or raise an alert if its owner gets a seizure.
An emotional support dog does not receive training to perform specific tasks. Its primary role is to provide companionship, affection, and emotional support to its owner.
An emotional support dog offers several therapeutic benefits to people suffering from nervousness, phobias, and stress-related disorders.
However, to qualify for this role, the dog must be well mannered and obedient to the owner. It should not cause any disturbance at home or outside.
Emotional support dogs enjoy more privileges in comparison to other pets such as:
- Permission to live with the owner in all types of accommodation, including those that may not allow pets. The Fair Housing Act protects emotional support dogs.
- They are also allowed to fly with the owner in the passenger cabin as per the Air Carrier Access Act.
Who is eligible for an Emotional Support Dog?
A person with a restricting emotional or mental illness is eligible for a loving support dog subject to getting a prescription from a licensed mental health professional. If you suffer from any of the below-mentioned conditions, you can qualify for an emotional support dog:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Learning disabilities
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Anxiety Disorders
- Intellectual disability
- Motor skills disorder
You can pick any dog to be your support by producing an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) letter from a Licensed Mental Health Professional, mentioning your diagnosis and the recommendation that you require the companionship of an Emotional Support Animal. The validity of ESA letters is 12 months.
Types of Emotional Support Dogs
Though it may seem like all dogs can offer friendship, love, and support, there are some types of dogs, which have an advantage over others due to specific personality traits.
Those that excel as emotional support dogs tend to be calm, gentle, well mannered, trainable, and socially confident. Here are our top 10 dogs that excel in offering emotional support.
1. Labrador Retriever
Seriously, is there anything that the Labrador cannot do? They make it into just about every top 10 list ever. Here are just some of the finer points that make them a fantastic emotional support dog.
As a beloved breed, it excels in all aspects of human interaction and can be an excellent companion for everyone in your family. They are intelligent and are known for how well they respond to training.
Always eager to please, love, and learn, a Labrador can become very affectionate and very attached to their human companions, making them a perfect emotional support dog for all ages. They are all love and super huggable.
2. German Shepherd
Coming in at number two, the German Shepherd is known more as a guard dog, but they also like to watch over your feelings. The same traits that make them excel as watchdogs also make them great emotional support dogs. German shepherds are loyal, gentle, and super smart. Plus, they love all the attention.
Crossing the finish line in third place is the Greyhound.
When you are overwhelmed by emotions, the Greyhound always has a shoulder for you to cry on. Even though they are fast and known for racing, greyhounds can also curl up with you in bed, making them the perfect nighttime companion for those with sleeping disorders.
They are sensitive and will notice any sound that is out of the ordinary. You can be sure that he has got your back and won’t let anyone sneak up on you.
Seriously, the Beagle would have never met anyone he did not like. This trait makes him an excellent emotional support dog because he gets along with everyone, and he is a fantastic cuddler open to new situations and environments.
Here is another breed, which is viewed more as a guard dog than an emotional support dog. Interestingly with early socialization, the Rottweiler can be incredibly calm and friendly with people. And most importantly, the Rottweiler has a quiet demeanor, confident attitude, and loves to learn.
6. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
I have never seen a Corgi that does not smile, and they have a strong instinct for helping their people. Plus, they have a ton of energy, and they stay alert at all times, probably because of their Starbucks addiction.
The Pomeranian also makes a great emotional support dog, especially for the elderly, and they do not need too much exercise.
They love attention and will never complain about hearing the same stories of your youth over and over again.
Poodles are the top pick for people who have allergies. One of the smartest dog breeds poodles can learn very quickly and pick up on their owners’ anxieties. Plus, they come in three sizes for your convenience – toy, miniature, and standard – depending on your needs.
9. The Pug
You can not be sad when there is a pug around.
Just look at their smudgy face and that cute little bite full of energy and friendliness. Pugs work wonderfully with children suffering from various neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.
Collie’s pick up on instructions quickly and are entirely trustworthy. Although you probably think of Lassie when talking about Collies, there are two types – the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie. Both are very intelligent, very easygoing, and loyal to their owner.
11. Great Dane
Despite its imposing size, the Great Dane perfectly fits the bill of an emotional support dog with its gentle, calm, and confident personality.
So there you go; our list of the top 11 types of emotional support dogs. Please drop a comment below and let us know how your canine friend supports you emotionally.