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10 of the best dog breeds for people dealing with anxiety

From the world's smallest dog to one of the largest, these breeds can be great for overcoming stress when matched with the right lifestyle.

It comes as no surprise that spending time with a dog will usually cheer you up if you're feeling down. In fact, it's even been scientifically proven that cuddling dogs is good for your mental health and provides a real mood booster to your day.

So when it comes to managing anxiety and stress, it's often recommended that you welcome a furry four-legged companion into your life.

Of course, anxiety isn't a one-size-fits-all issue. Although everyone experiences it at some point in their life, some get sporadic bouts whereas others struggle with it on a daily basis. Others also find intensive exercise boosts their mood, whereas others prefer relaxing in a safe space at home.

This also means that there is no one-size-fits-all dog breed to help you if you are dealing with stress - you just need to research a breed that will suit your lifestyle.

Using breed information from American Kennel Club, we've gathered 10 breeds below that have been rated for their energy, intelligence and even their cuddliness to help people deal with differing levels of anxiety.

While these breeds are generally considered some of the best for anxiety, this isn't a comprehensive list and there may be other dog breeds better suited to your own stress levels and lifestyle, so before embarking on welcoming a new pet into your life, be sure to do your research and ideally chat through your options with someone who has owned one of these breeds before.

1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgis have been favoured for years as loyal companions - most notably by Queen Elizabeth II who has always had a world-famous troop of Corgis at her side. But Corgis are also renowned for their complete loyalty to their owners and are commonly used in therapy settings to provide comfort. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), despite their little legs they are quite energetic and do need a fair bit of exercise and playtime to stay stimulated. Size: Up to 30lbs

Mood: Fun-loving and playful

2. Chihuahua

A tiny dog with a huge personality, these pups are best for people who want to take a companion dog with them wherever they go as they fit snugly into pretty much anything.

Independent and fiercely loyal, these teeny dogs are great for apartment living or those with low mobility, such as those with disabilities or seniors, as they don't need a lot of exercise, and love to snuggle up on their owner's lap. Size: 3-6lbs

Mood: Alert and devoted

3. Yorkshire Terrier

Extremely affectionate and easy to travel with due to their light size, Yorkies are great for seniors or anyone with a relatively low active lifestyle who is happy to head out twice a day for a short walk and toss a ball around to keep these little dogs exercised. Don't be fooled by their cute exterior though, according to the AKC, they're known for being feisty and make fantastic little watchdogs.

Size: 4-6lbs

Mood: Energetic and affectionate

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an ideal dog for most people looking for an all-rounder breed. Some are readily adaptable to their owner's lifestyle according to the AKC, and can be "upbeat athletes or shameless couch potatoes" depending on what their pet guardian chooses to do.

They also make perfect lap dogs and are known for spending long periods curled up on their owner's laps.

Size: 10-18lbs

Mood: Loving and playful

5. Labrador Retriever

Dominating the therapy and assistance dog market is the Labrador Retriever, known for its incredibly gentle and docile nature and its innate ability to tune into its owner's feelings. Being very eager to please, Labs make wonderful companion pets who can be trained with ease by all members of the family. They do need generous amounts of exercise as they can be prone to putting on a little extra weight and love to go for hikes and swims.

Size: 55-80lbs

Mood: Outgoing and gentle

6. Beagle

Known for being happy and energetic, the lovable Beagle could make a perfect companion for someone struggling with anxiety. According to the AKC, the trusty Beagle was bred for hunting and enjoys company, so their happy-go-lucky nature is ideal for someone who is home a lot and uses exercise and nature as a calming measure when dealing with stress.

Although small, they do require a lot of playtime to stay mentally stimulated.

Size: Up to 30lbs

Mood: Friendly and curious

7. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd has been the go-to candidate as a security and police dog over the years for its high intelligence and complete loyalty.

To own one of these magnificent dogs, you will need to make sure you can give them an active lifestyle as they require lots of exercise to keep them stimulated.

Their defining attributes as an ideal pet for someone with anxiety are their loyalty and courage. According to the AKC, a German Shepherd will put its life on the line in defence of its owner, making it the perfect watchdog for someone concerned about security.

Size: 50-90lbs

Mood: Reserved and protective

8. Cocker Spaniel

Big enough to be sporty but small enough to be compact, as described by the AKC, Cocker Spaniels make great family pets for their joyful and tender nature.

They also adore being cuddled and are perfect playmates, being very gentle when using their mouth to tussle around. Their luscious fur also practically demands to be touched, so if you're one for snuggling up, these dogs are ideal. Size: 26-34lbs

Mood: Playful and Merry

9. Border Collie

The Border Collie could be an excellent choice for someone with high fitness drive who wants to spend lots of time working with and training their dog.

Bred as sheep herders and superb at agility shows, Border Collies love having a job to perform and are eager to please their loving owners, according to the AKC.

Although they aren't commonly considered a breed for dealing with anxiety, stress comes in many forms and the Collie's high intelligence and ready-to-go attitude could be helpful for someone who wants or needs that level of energy to make them feel better.

Size: 30-55lbs

Mood: Playful and Merry

10. Newfoundland

The ginormous but adorable Newfoundland ticks all the boxes when it comes to suitability. Although probably not an ideal choice for a small-apartment dweller, these noble giants will certainly take care of you as much as you take care of them. One of the world's biggest dog breeds, the Newfie has also earned a reputation for being fantastic with children - as well as other dogs - often being referred to as a 'Nanny dog' according to the AKC.

Size: 100-150lbs

Mood: Patient and devoted


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