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5 most affectionate dog breeds for emotional support

Dogs make great companions who can sense when their owners are sad...

emotional support dog
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
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Anyone who has adopted a dog will know that your four-legged friends can make loyal and trustworthy companions – perfect for company and emotional support.

MORE: 5 naughtiest dog breeds most likely to wreak havoc at home

When it comes to affectionate dog breeds, we don't just mean puppy dog eyes. ESAs or 'Emotional Support Animals' are highly intelligent dogs that can be trained to handle unique mental health situations, helping their owners to manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

What is the purpose of an emotional support animal?

Your pet doesn't necessarily have to be specially trained to provide emotional support. Simply introducing a dog into your home forces you to introduce structure into your lifestyle through exercising your pet, feeding and caring for it.

The presence of a dog in your company can also reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation – which was the leading factor behind nearly 3 million households in the UK adopting a puppy during lockdown.

Even if you don’t suffer from a diagnosed mental health disorder, you probably know what it’s like to be cheered up by your dog when you’re feeling down or having a bad day. HELLO! investigated the most affectionate dog breeds that make the perfect emotional support animals.

SHOP: 10 pet hair removers every dog owner needs: from vacuums to deshedding mits

Most affectionate dog breeds for emotional support

Golden Retriever


Golden Retrievers are loved for their patient demeanours and friendly nature. Matched with their intelligence, these dogs are incredibly easy to train. Form a loving relationship with your Goldie, and their sharp intuition will likely recognise when you're in a need of extra emotional support – think of them as a furry shoulder to cry on.

Labrador Retriever


Professionally trained emotional support, therapy and service dogs are almost always Labrador Retrievers – they are gentle, loyal and possess a strong desire to please their owners. Even if your Lab isn't an official ESA, they're almost guaranteed to bring happiness into your home.



Surprisingly, the Pug makes a great support animal, mainly due to its warm, kind-hearted nature and ability to establish a powerful connection with its owners. Though they may be small, Pugs have a big heart and excellent intuition, meaning your pup will be able to sense when you need some extra love and support.

Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi


There's a reason the Queen loves her Corgis! This dog breed requires constant activity and affection, meaning they're perfect for anyone who needs support building a routine into their lifestyle.

French Bulldog

french bulldog

The French Bulldog makes an ideal companion thanks to its easy-going and friendly temperament. Given their size, these pups don’t need room to roam or a big garden, which makes them very popular with those of us living in flats, or living alone. Frenchies have an even-tempered personality, which makes them the perfect choice for anyone looking for an affectionate companion dog.

READ: 5 best dog breeds for inexperienced first-time owners

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