Therapy Dog Breeds

If stress is wearing you down, what you need is some pup-lovin’. With their sweet and gentle demeanor, therapy dogs can easily turn that frown upside down. So, what are the best breeds for you?

Greyhounds top the list with their naturally affectionate character and hypoallergenic coat. A close second is the Labrador Retriever, a well-balanced pooch with nothing but love to give to his owner. And of course, there’s the adorable Pug, a sweet and funny fella that’s sure to draw a smile to your face in an instant!

Get to know more about these amazing therapy dog breeds and why they’re perfect for you – pandemic times or not!

26. Greyhound

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Greyhounds are famous for their speed and sight, but they are also amazing therapy dogs. In fact, they are a bit on the lazy side, which means they enjoy lounging around with you. You can pet them and cuddle with them for hours, and they certainly would not mind.

Maintenance is a breeze with these dogs. They have short hair that is so easy to groom. And most of all, their calm demeanor makes them a joy to be around with.

25. Labrador Retriever

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No matter what the job requires, Labrador Retrievers are always up for it. They are great as therapy and emotional support dogs. After all, these canines are adaptable, affectionate and highly trainable.

Labs are eager to please humans. But at the same time, they have a calm demeanor, so they should be fine with folks in a vulnerable condition.

24. Pomeranian

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Next up, we’ve got the Pomeranian. A genuine lap dog, Poms enjoy being close to you. They long to be petted, so they definitely don’t mind being touched. Yep, no snaps, growls, or yaps here.

Bernedoodles are a hybrid dog that combines the genes of a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle. Hence, you get a medium-sized fluff ball that’s got a lot of love to give to their owner. Despite the dense coat, these dogs are actually hypoallergenic. So, that’s great news for allergy sufferers.

Adaptable and versatile, Bernedoodles simply go with the flow. They are perfect therapy canines that enjoy making you smile with their silly antics and showering you with lots of doggy kisses!

23. German Shepherd

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Another intelligent and obedient breed, the German Shepherd is a great companion and therapy dog. They are patient with people, so they can stay with you and give you the support needed in times of crises.

While they may seem too large and intimidating, there is nothing to be feared about the GSD. These are one of the gentlest and friendliest dog breeds in the world. When well-trained, you’ve got a loyal four-legged friend who lives to love you forever.

22. Maltese

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The mellow Maltese is a therapy companion pooch for folks of all walks of life. But most of all, they are ideal for people with decreased mobility as these aren’t your high-strung pooches. They will be more than happy to stay on your lap or curl up next to you.

These canines bond with people almost instantly. They are docile and loyal, and you should have an easy time training them. Plus, they can quickly learn tricks, which are sure to give you a chuckle or two!

21. Spanish Greyhound

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A sensitive fur baby, the Spanish Greyhound is an excellent choice for a therapy dog. These canines are also quite alert, so they can easily tell when trouble is lurking behind. And thanks to their loving nature, they are always ready to shower you with affection to make you A-OK.

With their low body fat ratio, Spanish Greyhounds are not suitable in cold temps. But all they need is something warm to wear and lots of cuddles with their favorite person. After all, these are natural cuddle bugs who enjoy a snuggle or two.

20. Bernedoodle

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Dog and a Poodle. Hence, you get a medium-sized fluff ball that’s got a lot of love to give to their owner. Despite the dense coat, these dogs are actually hypoallergenic. So, that’s great news for allergy sufferers.

Adaptable and versatile, Bernedoodles simply go with the flow. They are perfect therapy canines that enjoy making you smile with their silly antics and showering you with lots of doggy kisses!

19. Rough Collie

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A self-confessed people pleaser, the Rough Collie is all about being in good terms with their owners. They like to help, being that they’re originally bred as a working dog. These canines enjoy learning something new and collecting praises for being a good boy.

Rough Collies bond so quickly with people. They also tend to get depressed when left alone for hours. Well, this is great news for folks in need of a therapy dog because this pooch will love to be near you and be your loyal friend for as long as possible.

18. Miniature Poodle

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If space is an issue in your home, the Miniature Poodle should suit your needs for a darling therapy dog that’s pocket-sized. This pooch is inherently affectionate and sweet, which is a great combo for someone who can beat the blues away. 

Another cool thing about the Miniature Poodle is their low-shedding quality. They may have a ton of curls and waves but they do not shed as much. This is why they work great for folks with allergies, too.

17. Irish Setter

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A highly trainable pooch, the Irish Setter is a fantastic therapy dog in every single way. They are affectionate and caring, which can easily make a troubled person feel at ease. Plus, what’s not to love about these gorgeous looking dogs with a huge heart?

But because of their large bodies and energetic nature, Irish Setters do not do well in small spaces. They require plenty of space to roam, play and shake off their excess energy. If your home can accommodate a big fella, this pooch is for you.

16. Goldendoodle

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A cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle, the Goldendoodle inherits all the positive traits of his parents. These are friendly and mild-tempered canines – the true mark of an excellent therapy dog.

These canines adore people. They thrive on human love and affection, and they will happily return the favor. So, if you want a sweet furry best friend, Goldendoodles can play the part amazingly well.

15. Airedale Terrier

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Elegant and gentle, the Airedale Terrier is a great therapy canine in every single way. They are caring to their owners and make sure to be by their side all the time. This is also one of the reasons why these dogs are top picks for guide dogs to support the visually-impaired.

Airedale Terriers are rugged creatures. They have short hairs that are a breeze to maintain. But just like most active dogs, these pooches enjoy usually pup activities – digging, chewing, and occasional barking.

14. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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Corgis are fun and comic fellas that play the role well of a good therapy dog. They are adaptable and quick to learn, which makes them easy to be with. And of course, who could ever ignore their smiley faces! Just being around these giddy pups is therapy already.

These stubby-legged pooches enjoy being petted and touched. Make them the center of your attention, and they are a happy camper. Now, that’s a win-win!

13. Standard Poodle

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These elegant pooches with a gentle demeanor are perfect therapy dogs in every single way. They are easy to train, thanks to their inherent intelligence and obedience. So, you shouldn’t have any problem dealing with a Poodle.

Best of all, they are hypoallergenic pups. If you suffer from allergies, this pooch should be a suitable match for you.

12. Bichon Frise

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Another fine companion and therapy dog breed, the Bichon Frise is a cheerful and mild-mannered canine. These adorable fluffballs may have a dense coat but surprisingly, they do not shed at all. This is why they are easy to maintain and perfect for those in search of a low-maintenance pet.

Bichons require early socialization and training. When well-trained, they make an excellent therapeutic companion that will never fail to make you smile. And as a bonus, they are naturally affectionate and will never hesitate to give you lots of kisses!

11. St. Bernard

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Originally bred to help, St. Bernards remain true to their calling as man’s best friend. In fact, they have a history as rescue dogs in the Great St. Bernard Pass, which gives them the name. Thus, they are natural at what they do – helping people in need.

Saints are friendly canines. Large as they may be, they are actually gentle giants. But these are heavy shedder dogs, so be prepared to pick up a ton of hair each time.

10. Dachshund

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Dachshunds thrive on human companionship. They are very social fellas and enjoy being around their favorite humans. When not busy at playtime, Doxies enjoy curling up on your lap and giving you all the love they have to give – a mark of a wonderful therapy dog.

They are your fun-loving, comical dogs. So, if you are feeling the blues, a good ol’ Doxie will beat the nasties away. But just a reminder – these dogs are barkers. Early training should eliminate this tendency, though.

9. King Charles Spaniel

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Another enchantingly lovable canine, the King Charles Spaniel is a great candidate for a therapy dog. They are highly devoted and loyal to their owners, so expect to become their entire world. 

King Charles Spaniels have a thick, wavy, smooth coat. Just running your hands over their luxurious coat is therapeutic in itself. And of course, they love to give kisses, too!

8. French Bulldog

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An intelligent breed, the French Bulldog is a canine that’s easy to fall in love with. These pooches are also intuitive, so they can pick up quickly on people’s emotions. They know when you need some loving attention, and they are always ready to give you one.

Because of their compact sizes, Frenchies are great therapy dogs in small houses or apartments. They also do not require much exercise, so it should be easy having them around.

7. Beagle

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Beagles are historically bred to work and hunt. But as they have evolved over time, this breed has become typical as therapy dogs. They like to be around people and to offer their love and affection. Whether they are with kids of adults, these canines can adapt easily.

One thing to note about these dogs is their sense of independence. They have a bit of a stubborn streak, so firm training is essential to bring out the best in them.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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These pups are famous for their long and silky coats, which are made to be stroked. And they love it! Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are affectionate and caring – no wonder they are a solid choice for a therapy dog.

Although they tend to be energetic fellows, it is never difficult to deal with them. They are intelligent and sensible dogs, so they understand how to behave well in various situations.

5. Golden Retriever

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Golden Retrievers work hard, play hard, and love fiercely. These are sweet giants that always have that adorable smile on their faces. Being around these dogs is definitely therapeutic as they like to be petted and give you their love in return.

Of all the breeds, Goldens are one of the most people-friendly dogs. They do well with people of all ages. But these canines are heavy shedders, so they are not quite suitable for people with allergies.

4. Poodle

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Poodles are amazing therapy dogs for a number of reasons – they’re sweet, adaptable, and they are low-shedders. They are intuitive pups that can read people, so they know how to behave themselves.

This breed comes in a variety of sizes. But no matter what size you get, you can expect to receive the same lovable demeanor from this good-looking and mild-natured pooch.

3. Pug

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An excellent lap dog and therapy dog, Pugs are pretty much content just to be with you all day. They enjoy being cuddled and petted, so there are no gnarls or growls from these pups. A perfect day for them would be to stay by your side and give you the support you need.

Pugs are playful creatures. Yet, their insufficient stamina also means that they don’t like to stay active for so long. Thus, you won’t have any issue with these dogs, especially if you are not particularly fond of high-strung canines.

2. Chihuahua

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Another compact therapy dog breed is the Chihuahua. They’re relatively low-maintenance, thanks to their short coats and tiny bodies. No time for regular grooming? That’s not a problem with these pups with wash-and-wear types of hair.

Chis are in love with love. They are people-friendly pooches that enjoy the company of their family. If you need someone by your side at all times, this compact canine is for you.

1. Yorkshire Terrier

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A natural giver, Yorkies are just nothing but affection. These pups love being needed, so if you’ve got the blues, they’re the perfect companion. What’s more, these are your intuitive canines. They can easily tell when something’s not right. Talk about a true BFF!

Best of all, Yorkies are pocket-sized pooches. If you live in a cramped space and can’t afford to own a big dog, this canine can fit perfectly right into your humble home. They are also easy to tag along anywhere you go because of their travel-friendly sizes.

Related Questions

Do Therapy Dogs Have To Be Hypoallergenic? Not necessarily but it helps. Great qualities of a therapy dog should include calmness, intelligence, intuition, sensibility, and sweetness. Dogs that love to show their affection and can read emotions are fantastic choices for a therapy dog. It also will not hurt to get a therapy dog that does not shed too much and is easy to groom.

What Is The Difference Between A Therapy Dog And An Emotional Support Dog? Therapy dogs are canines with the right training to provide affection and much-needed support to individuals in retirement homes, schools, disaster areas, and so on. On the other hand, an emotional support dog provides people with companionship, which is therapeutic in itself. ESA dogs do not need to undergo training but therapy dogs do.

How Do I Make My Dog A Therapy Dog For Free? Yes, there are free therapy dog certifications that give your canine a “Therapy Dog” title but it is not highly recommended, because proper care through actual training should ideally be administered to assist the people in need. You should get your pooch certified through proper and accepted channels, with AKC as the most popular pathway for a low cost fee. However, you can also look for free services that provide this certification, which may be available in your area.

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Pete Decker