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14 Best Therapy Dog Breeds: An Overview (With Pictures)

golden retriever as therapy dog

A therapy dog can help you in more ways than you probably ever imagined. Certain breeds do better at handling therapy-type situations than others. The roles of a therapy dog can differ from one person to the next, opening the doors for many breeds that will qualify to be a therapy dog. In this guide, we put together our top picks for the best therapy dog breeds. There is sure to be a dog on this list that will work for you and your family.

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The 14 Best Therapy Dog Breeds Are:

1. French Bulldog

French Bulldog
Image: Pixabay

The first dog on our list for the best therapy breeds is the French Bulldog. The French Bulldog is not only a great size for a therapy dog, but it also has a beautiful temperament. The French Bulldog could make anyone feel better on a bad day with their affection and easygoing personality. The French Bulldog is not a hypoallergenic dog, although many people think they are. French Bulldogs have tons of personality, but they can be trained to be very sociable and alert to pick up on changes and differences in human behavior.

  • Temperament: Loving, Alert, Patient, Playful, Smart

2. Labrador Retriever

Chocolate Labrador Retriever
Image: Pixabay

It may come as no surprise that the Labrador Retriever makes a great therapy breed. If you ask any owner of a Labrador Retriever, they will very likely tell you that their dog thinks they are a human. This type of awareness and desire to be part of the family make the Labrador Retriever an excellent therapy dog. They want constant love and attention, and they can sense when you are feeling off. In addition to these excellent characteristics, the Labrador Retriever is highly intelligent and trainable.

  • Temperament: Kind, Loving, Loyal, Affectionate, Intelligent

3. Poodle

Poodle Puppy
Image: Pixabay

When it comes to their ability to be a therapy dog, the great thing about Poodles is the fact that they come in a few sizes. The Toy poodle and the Standard Poodle are both excellent options for therapy dogs. The Toy poodle will be better for situations where a small dog is necessary. The Poodle is one of the smartest dogs known to exist. They train quite quickly, and they will be fast to learn how to handle their role as a therapy dog.

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Trainable, Faithful, Moderate energy

4. Greyhound

Tan Brindle Greyhound
Image: Pixabay

The Greyhound is not often thought of as a therapy dog, but these animals make a great addition to any family or person that needs a therapy pup. There are generally quite a few Greyhounds available for adoption because of the racing that they do in their early life. Although they are often thought of as just a racing dog, Greyhounds are exceptionally affectionate and even-tempered. They like to get their exercise in, but when around humans, they are gentle and quiet. Most Greyhound owners will tell you that their Greyhound is the sweetest dog they have owned.

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Sweet, Gentle, Affectionate

5. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever
Image: Pixabay

A Golden Retriever can very often be thought of as the wild and goofy dog that lives next door. However, if properly trained from puppyhood, the Golden Retriever can be a fantastic therapy dog. They have just about as good of a personality that you could hope for in a dog, and they are incredibly reliable and kind. Like the Labrador Retriever, the Golden has a way of knowing when you need their love and attention, and they are always willing to share.

  • Temperament: Smart, Loyal, Friendly, Affectionate

6. Pomeranian

Tan Pomeranian
Image: Pixabay

If you think a smaller dog would be a better therapy dog for your needs, the Pomeranian is a great choice. These dogs are incredibly outgoing and always looking to make new friends. The Pomeranian is an excellent size, as they only get to be about seven pounds. If you need a dog that you can easily travel with, then the Pomeranian makes a great choice. The Pomeranian is active, friendly, and playful. With how smart the Pomeranian is, it will not be hard to train them to be therapy dogs.

  • Temperament: Smart, Outgoing, Friendly, Highly social

7. Collie

Black Border Collie
Image: Pixabay

For anybody old enough to remember Lassie, you will have no questions about the Collie’s ability to be a loyal and loving therapy dog. A Collie is a medium-sized dog breed that has a gentle and affectionate personality. The Collie is smart and can be trained to do amazing things. At the same, they are protective and loyal. This is not just a tremendous therapy dog, but the Collie will be a great family dog as well.

  • Temperament: Active, Friendly, Gentle, Kind

8. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier Puppy
Image: Pixabay

The Yorkshire Terrier is also known as a Yorkie. These dogs are small terriers, and they pack a tremendous amount of personality into a small body. The Yorkie is a confident dog that walks into a room as if it owns the place. If a Yorkie is trained right from the start, they can be friendly and sociable as well. In addition to their enormous personality, the Yorkshire Terrier has a charming and personable face. When you spend time with a Yorkshire, you feel as though they know what is going on.

  • Temperament: Bold, Outgoing, Intelligent, Confident

9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Image: Pixabay

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been growing in popularity in the last five to ten years. This is a small dog that will generally grow to be about 15-18 pounds. They are highly social animals that will want to play and spend time with you all day. They make terrific companions and therapy dogs, and they can live in small spaces as well.

  • Temperament: Affectionate, Happy, Friendly, Outgoing

10. German Shepard

German Shepherd
Image: Pixabay

The German Shepard is a large breed dog that makes both a great therapy dog and a working dog. The German Shepard is brilliant, protective, and loyal. The German Shepard is a vigilant animal and will be able to pick up on slight changes in environment and personality. Since this dog is so aware of what is going on, they make fantastic therapy dogs.

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Loyal, Alert, Protective

11. Maltese

Image: Pixabay

The Maltese resembles a small teddy bear. They are one of the most easygoing and affectionate breeds around. One of the best things about a Maltese is that although they are active and energetic, they know how to stay calm and relax as well. This is not a dog that you will need to spend hours running in the yard with each day. In addition to the fact that a Maltese is relatively easy to care for, they are delightful and affectionate. They love the attention and love their owner, and they have plenty to offer in return.

  • Temperament: Sweet, Playful, Gentle, Affectionate

12. Beagle

Image: Pixabay

A beagle is an adorable puppy-like companion that will be about as loyal and loving as a dog can be. A beagle is highly intelligent and friendly and will make an excellent therapy or companion dog. Beagles tend to bark and howl, so you will have to watch that a little when they are trained. The Beagle is a medium-sized dog that makes it an excellent fit for both protection and affection.

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Loyal, Compassionate, Friendly

13. Pug

Image: Pixabay

A Pug is a small breed dog that is known well for its wrinkly face and curly tail. The Pug is a charming dog that will want to remain close to its owner whenever possible. A Pug loves to play and get a bit of energy out, but mostly they are adorable and relaxed. Pugs are intelligent dogs that, when trained right, can be very helpful animals.

  • Temperament: Charming, Sociable, Quiet

14. Corgi

Image: Pixabay

Last on our list is the Corgi. The Corgi is often used as a therapy dog because of its bold personality and protective nature. For a small dog, they are compelling when it comes to protection and care of their owners.  The Corgi is an outgoing and friendly animal that loves to play but won’t require a large property to run around. The Corgi makes a great therapy dog but also an excellent and playful family pet.

  • Temperament: Bold, Playful, Protective

divider-pawThe Final Word

When choosing a therapy dog, it is not always as essential to consider the breed as it is to consider the animal themselves. There are plenty of dog breeds that did not make it onto our list that can be tremendous therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are all about finding a match of personalities between the owner and the dog. Whatever your need, may you find a furry friend that brightens your day and your disposition.

For family members who are getting older, who may live alone, or who require long-term care services, a therapy dog can be an outstanding companion. You can learn more about future aging problems and the costs and burdens of long-term health care on LTC NEWS.

Looking for more dog reads? Check these breeds out!

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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