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Best Breeds for Therapy Dogs

After making the decision to use a service dog for your disability comes the next choice; what kind of breed is best for you? These are the top 10 best breeds for therapy dogs.

By Kelsey LangePublished 7 years ago 5 min read

The choice of a service dog is a completely different process beside choosing a pet, meaning the amount of cuteness and fluff should not be prospects. You may have a personal favorite breed of dog before this process, but what is most important is the dog that will best service your life.

Though mostly any dog breed can be trained into being a service dog, there is a best breed for each person in need. Depending on the impairment, you want your dog to assist you in a way that is best catered to you. Among the list of the best breeds for therapy dogs, you should be able to find a companion that is best for you.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are ranked the #1 breed by the American Kennel Club. They are also one of the most commonly used breeds as service dogs. They have enough energy to be taken anywhere their owner needs them to go throughout their day, but don't have too much energy to the point that they are hyperactive.

Lab Retrievers are extremely friendly to not only their owner, but to strangers and other dogs and animals. This mean they can be used as both a family dog and a therapy assistant. They are great fetchers and loyal companions, which means that they are easily taken in populated areas, where they will remain close and don't succumb to aggression. And finally, they are smart and easily trainable.

Labrador Retrievers require a lot of stimulation due to their energetic and friendly personalities; so this service dog is not as ideal for someone who cannot aid to this. Another precaution to take is the size. This is a canine who needs a decent amount of space to be happy.


Commonly service dogs to seniors or the hearing-impaired, Corgis are a great breed for both comfort and security. On the smaller side at one foot tall and two feet long, they will unfortunately not be able to support someone who needs physical aid, but great for someone who has limited space in their home or apartment.

Corgis are kind and persistent, making them one of the best breeds for therapy dogs. They show sympathy and concern for their owners, which is why they are great to provide therapy for those who suffer with depression, anxiety, or loss. They are often trained to work with the deaf, or even someone with diabetes, where they are able to signal when the owner's blood sugar reaches low levels.

Though they are very cute and hardworking, Corgis might be too smart for their own good. Often times after therapy work training has been completed, Corgis take their new found knowledge and use it to their advantage to get up to no good, like opening doors to let themselves out.

French Bulldog

Another good therapy dog is the French Bulldog. This bread needs a lot of love and attention, and will give you the same type of reassurance right back.

The French Bulldog, with proper training, is of great assistance to emotional and physical health, as long as they are trained straight away. Though they are more friendly than physically helpful, this dog is better for those in need of therapy than service.

Golden Retriever

Many will argue that the Golden Retriever is one of the top two best breeds for therapy dogs beside the Labrador Retriever. The reasons are simple: trainability, gentleness, and smarts are all amazing qualities of this beautiful breed of dog.

Goldens can adapt very well to new situations, and this allows them to be therapy dogs for many different needs. Therapy dog, hearing dogs, assistance dogs, and guide dogs all fall into this category.

Important to keep in mind, again, is the size of this dog, around 65 to 80 pounds of sweet, patient, obedient pooch needs enough space and exercise to be happy.


A dog that doesn't need quite as much space is the Chihuahua. This type of therapy dog can either be used as emotional support dogs, otherwise known as companion dogs, or as service dogs, who physically can help their owner cross a street or retrieve an item for them. Though it might seem more likely for Chihuahuas to be companions, they are a popular option for either need.

Though they might sometimes be laughed at for being a service dog, they can do an awful lot of traveling with their small physique. Obviously, this is not the partner for those in need of physical support or fetching of large items.


Though not an extremely common breed for therapy, Greyhounds are extremely loving animals. People who suffer from post-traumatic stress, MS, or brain injury will find this breed perfect for their assistance. They are loyal, sweet, gentle, easygoing, smart, and loving. They are also good with children, have a lot of personality, and make perfect house pets.

Italian Greyhounds, almost a smaller clone of the Greyhound, are a second option for a service dog if your lifestyle does not fit the size of the Greyhound. They are sensitive, alert, and playful, making them great for guide or therapy dogs.


The Dachshund breed is sure to lift your spirits. Again, another great dog for those who suffer from depression or anxiety. Because of their small size and even smaller legs, Dachshunds are not suitable for an owner with a rigorous lifestyle, someone who needs a guide, or to someone who needs to be kept steady on their feet.

Climbing or jumping is a no go for this little pooch. However, they are great companions for seizure alert. Think a dog on the smaller side is more suitable for your needs? Learn to love a Dachshund.

German Shepherd

Loyal and obedient comes to mind when thinking of a German Shepherd. As one of the best breeds for therapy dogs, their gentle and calm nature makes them a perfect match for guiding or emotional support.

It's important to know that German Shepherds need to be trained to socialize immediately to avoid aggressiveness. They also need a lot of constant attention and discipline. German Shepherds are known for being used in law enforcement, bomb and narcotics detection, search and rescue, and most importantly as a great companion.


Not your typical service dog, Pomeranians are certainly one of the cutest on the list, with their small stature and fluffy coat. Besides their little size, they have large personality and love to be lap dogs.

Emotional support is what they will strive in service wise the best. They are also great to be trained for those who have hearing loss or are deaf. Pomeranians are very popular among the elderly or those who are simply in need of a partner.


Besides their fame in dog shows, the Collie also shines as a therapy dog, as they are easy to train and extremely smart. They need the attention and love from you as much as you will need it from them. The relationship between a Collie and their owner is a bond that can not break.

This bread is very high energy, and needs to be ran or walked one to two hours a day, and kept busy consistently. Do not overestimate how much you will participate in these activities with your pooch. This pup will want to be taken with you everywhere as a service dog, and is sensitive to being left alone. They also tend to be a bit skittish around children or other dogs or animals. Collies are very vocal and can be used as a great guide or medical alert dog.


About the Creator

Kelsey Lange

Passionate about writing, animals, makeup, movies, friends, family, learning, exercising, and laughing!

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