10 Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Welcome to a comprehensive guide on the Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD, a topic of utmost importance for those seeking reliable companionship and support. At Plantypets, we understand the unique challenges faced by individuals dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. Anxiety and PTSD are widespread mental health challenges that affect countless individuals daily. For some, managing symptoms is a feasible task, while others find themselves embroiled in a constant struggle against negative and fearful emotions.

Within the scope of available treatments, one specific option stands out – the psychiatric service dog (PSD). In addition to offering unconditional love and support, a PSD is uniquely trained to perform tasks that actively help manage the complexities of PTSD and anxiety.

While any dog with the right temperament can potentially make an excellent service dog, some developed breeds are particularly well suited to this role. This distinction is especially important for those who are considering training their own service dogs, where selecting a breed known for excellence in service work may have a better chance of success than a dog with unknown origins. Increases.

Even for those who are not directly involved in the training process, it is valuable to understand the nuances of different service dog breeds. In-depth knowledge of these breeds allows individuals to make informed decisions, ensuring that the chosen dog matches seamlessly with their lifestyle.

In this exploration, we delve into the diverse landscape of assistance animals, elucidating the traits that set them apart. By highlighting the characteristics to look for in a service dog, we empower individuals to make choices that will significantly improve their daily lives.

Now, let’s start a run through the  10 best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD, providing insights that will help you choose a companion who not only understands but actively contributes to your mental well-being. gives.

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Does having a pet help with anxiety?

Sure, they can! Research, including studies from 2014 and 2015, indicate that the presence of a dog can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. A recent study from 2021 shows that interacting with animals can significantly reduce physical markers of anxiety after stressful situations, including aspects such as blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormone levels. Additionally, positive interactions with pets can increase levels of oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” which mirrors the effects of socializing with humans, while also reducing the stress hormone cortisol. .

However, it is important to note that pets do not universally reduce anxiety. For some people, especially those dealing with the challenges of a new puppy or a pandemic-stricken puppy, owning a pet may increase anxiety. Evaluating whether pet ownership will positively contribute to or hinder mental health is a personal decision. If unsure, seeking guidance from a physician may provide valuable information.

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What are the traits to look for in a service dog?

When in the process of selecting a service dog, careful consideration of specific traits is paramount to ensuring their effectiveness in aiding individuals with PTSD and anxiety. Here are key characteristics to prioritize:


Service dogs undertake complex tasks, emphasizing the need for breeds with notable intelligence and quick learning abilities. An intelligent dog can comprehend and execute commands reliably, enhancing its capability to fulfill its role effectively.


The temperament of a service dog significantly influences its performance. Opt for dogs with calm, stable, and friendly personalities. This ensures composure in various situations, particularly in public spaces where maintaining a composed demeanor is crucial.

Calm Demeanor

Maintaining a calm demeanor under pressure is imperative for service dogs. They should avoid reacting aggressively, uncontrollable barking, or appearing out of control. A calm disposition enables them to focus on their tasks even in challenging environments.


Look for dogs that enjoy training and display eagerness to learn. Trainability is vital for mastering the required tasks efficiently. Dogs that adapt quickly to new commands and retain information are ideal candidates for service work.

Good Manners

Service dogs accompany their owners to diverse places, necessitating good manners such as not jumping on people or pulling on the leash. Well-behaved dogs are more readily accepted in public spaces, facilitating seamless integration into various environments.


Consistent performance is crucial for service dogs. They should exhibit reliability day in and day out without succumbing to boredom. A reliable dog can handle repetitive tasks without losing focus, ensuring sustained assistance.

Empathy and Bonding

A natural bond between the service dog and its owner is vital. Seek dogs that demonstrate empathy and a strong desire to be close to you. The depth of this bond contributes to the dog’s ability to sense your emotional state and provide comforting support.


Service dogs navigate various environments, from busy streets to crowded places and quiet spaces. Opt for dogs that adapt well to changing surroundings, remaining calm and focused regardless of the setting. Adaptability is a valuable trait in ensuring the dog’s efficacy in diverse scenarios.

Physical Fitness

Consider the physical demands of your lifestyle when selecting a service dog. If assistance with mobility is required, look for breeds capable of handling such tasks. Dogs should be in good health, free from significant physical limitations.

Social Tolerance

Service dogs engage with people and other animals, highlighting the need for social tolerance. They should tolerate social interactions without becoming overly excited or anxious. Social tolerance ensures the dog can maintain focus on tasks even in distracting situations.

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10 Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Labrador Retriever

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Labrador Retrievers stand out as a popular choice for various service roles due to their friendly and good-natured temperament. Their inherent sociability makes them ideal companions for individuals seeking support. Labs not only form strong bonds with their owners but also thrive on having a purpose. They excel in mobility tasks, offering assistance to their owners in standing or walking. Additionally, their adeptness at retrieving items showcases their versatility in service work.

Golden Retriever

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Similar to Labs, Golden Retrievers are known for their intelligence, friendliness, and ease of training. Their ability to form robust emotional connections with their owners makes them exceptional as emotional support dogs. Golden Retrievers are particularly well-suited for individuals dealing with PTSD, offering comfort and companionship. Additionally, their capabilities extend to physical tasks, such as guiding blind individuals or retrieving items. It’s worth noting that Golden Retrievers shed, and potential owners should consider this factor.

German Shepherd

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Renowned for their roles in guard and protection work, German Shepherds also excel as service dogs. Their intelligence, good behavior, and ease of training contribute to their suitability for various service tasks. German Shepherds prove adept at providing both physical assistance, such as mobility support, and emotional comfort. Their versatility makes them valuable companions for individuals with diverse needs.


Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Poodles, available in standard, miniature, and toy sizes, are highly trainable service dogs. Their minimal shedding is advantageous for individuals with allergies. Poodles showcase versatility in service tasks, excelling in responsibilities such as alerting to panic attacks or guiding their owners. Their adaptability and intelligence make them a practical choice for various situations.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

While less common, Bernese Mountain Dogs bring a calm and gentle demeanor to the realm of service dogs. These dogs offer emotional support and can assist with stability and balance. The larger size of Bernese Mountain Dogs may be beneficial for individuals requiring additional physical support.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, despite their small size, are affectionate and attuned to their owners’ emotions. They excel in providing emotional support and can be trained for specific tasks. The compact size of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels makes them adaptable to various living situations, enhancing their suitability as service dogs.


Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Known for their loyalty and protective instincts, Boxers form strong bonds with their owners. They excel at alerting to anxiety or panic attacks and provide emotional comfort through their playful nature. Boxers offer a unique blend of companionship and vigilant support.

Collie (Rough or Smooth)

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Collies, with their intelligence and sensitivity, excel in tasks requiring alertness and empathy. Their gentle demeanor makes them excellent companions for individuals dealing with anxiety. Collies bring a comforting presence and can adapt to various emotional support roles.

Great Dane

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Despite their large size, Great Danes are surprisingly gentle and calm, earning them the nickname “gentle giants.” They offer stability and emotional support, particularly beneficial for taller individuals. Great Danes showcase a unique combination of size and gentleness, making them stand out in the realm of service dogs.

Australian Shepherd

Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD
Best service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD

Highly trainable and stimulated by mental challenges, Australian Shepherds excel in various service tasks. Their capabilities include retrieving medication, guiding their owners away from crowded areas, and providing essential emotional grounding. The Australian Shepherd’s versatility and intelligence make them valuable assets in the realm of service dog support.

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How to Get the Best Service Dog Breeds for Anxiety and PTSD?

In order for your pet to be considered an emotional support animal, you will need to be assessed by a mental health professional who deems it necessary for your well-being.

However, for a dog to qualify as a service pet, you need a prescription, as well as meet additional criteria.


If you desire a service dog, you have the option to either acquire an already-trained service dog or undertake the training process yourself. Legally, a service dog doesn’t necessarily have to be trained by a professional to qualify, allowing for self-training. However, self-training poses its challenges.

Purchasing a pre-trained service dog can be expensive. According to the National Service Animal Registry, the average cost ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 upfront, with some exceeding $50,000 based on capabilities. For those inclined to self-train, numerous service dog training programs and certifications are available. Professional dog trainers, charging between $150 and $250 per hour, may expedite the training process, which typically spans one to two years.

Budgeting considerations should encompass food, veterinary care, medication, supplies, and toys. Certain organizations might offer assistance in covering the costs associated with obtaining a service animal.

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How do I know if a service dog is right for me?

Determining whether a service dog is the right choice involves careful consideration. Reflect on your specific challenges, such as anxiety or PTSD, and contemplate whether a service dog could provide meaningful assistance and enhance your overall well-being. Consulting a doctor or mental health professional is crucial; they can assess your limitations and confirm the potential benefits of a service dog. Understand the tasks a service dog can perform, aligning them with your specific needs.

Consider your daily routine, living situation, and readiness for the responsibilities of caring for a service dog, including factors like exercise needs and public access requirements. Ensure a genuine fondness for dogs, recognizing the importance of forming a strong bond. Evaluate the financial commitment, including training, veterinary care, and supplies, to ensure affordability. Lastly, research local laws and regulations regarding service dogs to comprehend your rights and responsibilities as a service dog owner.

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How to train a service dog breeds for anxiety and PTSD?

Service dogs can be trained by starting with socializing them and teaching basic commands. Starting early and practicing commands often will help. Before training a service dog for anxiety, consider how it can help you. Start with simple tasks like retrieving meds or phone, deep pressure therapy, or cuddling you. When the dog performs the task correctly, give positive reinforcement like petting and giving them a treat. Be patient with yourself and the dog, as training can take time. Professional dog trainers are often expensive, so starting early and practicing commands can help improve the dog’s behavior.

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