Any person that has ever struggled with an anxiety disorder will tell you how hard it can be to get control of the runaway thoughts and the emotions that go with them. Most of the time, the thoughts are intrusive and represent any given number of worst-case scenarios that will probably never actually come to pass. Despite that fact, people that have anxiety have a tendency to relive these worst-case scenarios time and time again, as if they were actually occurring. It’s enough to leave even the most stalwart of individuals shaken and it becomes even more difficult when other people around them simply don’t understand what they’re going through. Trying to survive a panic attack while someone who has no idea what it’s like sits there and tells you to ‘just calm down’ is one of the hardest things that a person can do. Fortunately, dogs have a tendency to understand how people feel much better than most humans. They also tend to know when your anxiety levels ramp up and in most cases, they know what to do to help you stay calm. Below are 10 of the best breeds that you might consider having if you suffer from anxiety and you’re looking for some much-needed help in the form of man’s best friend.
10. Golden Retriever
Let’s face it, virtually any dog can help with anxiety. In some cases, it can be breed specific because some breeds are naturally predisposed to be friendlier and more social than others. For the most part, it really comes down to what you personally prefer in a dog. For example, some people enjoy being around larger breeds while others would prefer to be around breeds that aren’t big enough to knock them flat every time they jump up. Whatever your preference might be, one breed of dog that is almost universally loved is the Golden Retriever. They’re smart, exceptionally friendly and they tend to do well in all types of social situations, even those which would cause a lot of other breeds to become anxious themselves. As such, they’re often a good fit for people who suffer from anxiety.
9. Bichon Frise
This is a small dog that has a great disposition and wants to be cuddled. If you already have anxiety, you probably need a dog that is capable of being relatively calm. The last thing you need is someone else in your house that is neurotic. These dogs have a tendency to be rather sociable and they’re fairly easy to train. They also stay fairly calm in various types of situations, which can be a huge benefit. However, it is largely their desire to either sit next to you or even crawl on your lap that can be the biggest help. There’s just something about having a living creature that genuinely loves you that is comforting, even when you’re having one of your worst days.
8. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
This is another small dog breed that people have been falling in love with for years and years. It’s the same breed that the Queen of England has owned for the majority of her reign. It’s easy to see why she and so many others would fall in love with these sweet little dogs. They almost look like a cross between a teddy bear and a Dachshund. That fact alone makes most people fall in love with them at first sight. They also tend to have bright personalities and they’re fairly intelligent, making them a good option for most people, even those who have severe problems with anxiety.
People don’t usually think of Greyhounds when they’re trying to think about a dog that might help someone with anxiety. That said, those people have probably never witnessed a Greyhound that has been rescued from the racetrack and given a second chance for a loving home. These dogs seem to genuinely appreciate those opportunities and they constantly reflect their unconditional love.
Whippets are in most respects just a smaller version of the Greyhound. They can be very energetic, which is a good thing for people who have anxiety. Getting out for some exercise can be a tremendous help when the world starts closing in. They also have a tendency to be extremely grateful when shown just a small amount of affection. That means that you have a great foundation from which to build a wonderful relationship, the type of relationship that can truly transform a person’s life.
5. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are so reliable that they are commonly used for a variety of different situations. As such, you can find them working as police dogs and as guide dogs for the blind. It almost seems ironic that you can find the same breed of dog at two entirely different ends of the spectrum, but German Shepherds are service dogs right down to their core. When you find a good German Shepherd, you have a friend for life who will literally die to protect you. They also serve as good family pets and excellent companions, making them a good option for this list as well.
4. Yorkshire Terrier
If you’re someone who is looking for a smaller breed, the Yorkshire Terrier is hard to beat. They only weigh a few pounds and they do exceptionally well in apartments and other surroundings where there isn’t a lot of room to move around. Most of the time, they’re just as happy at the dog park as they are sitting on the couch beside you. That makes them a great companion for you when you’re feeling energetic enough to get out and about, but also when you just want to stay home and shut the rest of the world out for a while.
3. Border Collie
This is another breed that surprises some people when you’re talking about a dog that’s genuinely helpful for someone suffering from anxiety. That’s largely because Border Collies can be neurotic, even destructive. That said, they can also be your best friend. If you’re looking for a dog that will truly develop a unique bond with you like nothing you’ve ever experienced, this is a breed to consider.
2. Miniature Aussie/Border Aussie
This breed is very similar to the Border Collie, only smaller. They are a miniature version of the Australian Shepherd, more commonly referred to as a Miniature Aussie. In some cases, they are crossbred with Border Collies to create what has now become known as The Border Aussie. These dogs are great at reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and keeping the intrusive thoughts at bay. In addition, they don’t get nearly as big as their full-size counterparts. That makes them a good option for a lot of people, including those with anxiety.
It would be wrong to dismiss the Mutt from this list. Mutts get a bad rap and it simply isn’t fair. In reality, there are a lot more Mutts than there are purebred dogs. Your best friend might be waiting at a shelter near you and once you adopt one of these dogs, you’re likely to find that they are filled with love and gratitude, almost as if they know that you’ve given them a second chance at life. There’s no better way to fight off anxiety than that.