Dogs are men’s best friend. As pets, they can accompany us in our daily lives. They bring joy and happiness, playing with us and our children, and performing tricks that we all enjoy to watch. Aside from those, dogs can be specifically trained to become physical, therapy, or emotional support dogs. Here, we give focus on psychiatric service dogs. You will find out good breeds for psychiatric dogs. But before we proceed to that, let us discuss a little bit of basics about service dogs in general.

What Are Service Dogs?

Basically, there are three kinds of service dogs – physical support, therapy, and emotional support dogs.

Physical support dogs are those that support physically disabled people. These are usually large dogs that can serve as foundation to the frail and weak people.

Therapy dogs are usually the ones that give happiness to people in the hospital and the elderly. These people are usually the ones who spend time by themselves. With therapy dogs, they are accompanied by good friends.

Emotional support dogs are those that provide relief to people who need it, especially those that are mentally challenged, stressed, and suffering from anxiety. They are usually there in crisis situations to calm people down and make them feel relaxed.

What are Psychiatric Service Dog Breeds?

Psychiatric service dogs can be a general term for both therapy and emotional support dogs. They specifically cater to people suffering from mental disorders such as PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, and autism.

These dogs are trained to respond to certain stimulus or situations. For instance, they can detect the mood of their owner. When they see the signs of depression to their owner, they respond quickly to positively change the mood.

They can also be trained to respond to emergency situations. For instance, they can get trained to call 911 when needed. People with mental illnesses who may do some self-harming behavior like scratching themselves will get their actions blocked by a psychiatric service dog. These dogs will also respond to behaviors like rocking and actions that signify anxiety.

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What are the Good Breeds for Psychiatric Service Dogs?

Psychiatric Service Dog Breeds

Now, let us talk about the best breeds of dogs for psychiatric services. You may want to get one or just wondering which ones best fit the job.

1). Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most famous breeds of dogs in America. It is very smart, loyal, gentle, and amiable. Because of these characteristics, they are easy to train to become psychiatric service dogs.

They can be trained to cater to children with autism, people suffering from depression, and persons with PTSD. When they serve their role, they become the rays of hope for their owners. Labrador Retrievers can also accompany people with depression or schizophrenia. Their presence gives assurance to these people who need help. They can prevent people from experiencing panic attacks and other episodes like that.

2). Poodle

The Poodle is perhaps the most popular breed of dog for psychiatric service. They are energetic, affectionate, and highly intelligent, which makes them easy to train to become service dogs. They can really tune into their owner’s feelings. They are always willing to help and please their owners. They would want to become good companions to people.

Poodles usually get emotionally attuned to their owners. They can sense a change of mood and will try to prevent episodes of mental illnesses. Furthermore, they are categorized as hypoallergenic. Though they look furry, they only shed a little.

3). Havanese

The Havanese is yet another popular breed of psychiatric service dogs. Its appearance and look is naturally charming. The Havanese is an affectionate, outgoing, and extremely friendly dog. It an also be easily trained to become a service dog.

The Havanese is a popular choice for people suffering from depression. They tend to always cuddle with their owners. But their intelligence allows them to sense the mood of their owners. When they sense sadness, they deploy their dog abilities to make people feel better.

These dogs can also cater to other mental illnesses that exhibit harmful or repetitive behavior such as rocking. They can be trained to perform tricks that can stop these episodes. They can also be taught to get medication for their owners. As cute as they may look, they can best fit troubled individuals.

4). German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is an all-around service dog. Because of its size, it can make for an amazing physical service dog. It can be trained to sniff bombs, save people, track criminals, guide blind and deaf people, and a lot more.

Because of its intelligence, calm disposition, loyalty, and friendliness, it can also make for a good psychiatric service dog. It can be trained to stop harmful behavior of owners suffering from mental disabilities. They do so by pawing, licking, and making direct eye contact to their owners.

German shepherds are also good companies to children, even those suffering from autism. They can get attuned to the emotion of children and their daily habits.

5). Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Another cute and small dog on the list is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Though small dogs with a long name, they have a huge personality and big hearts. Their stunning and lovely look gives them the instant charm. But deep inside, they are very sweet.

They most enjoy snuggling and cuddling. They tend to bond strongly with their owners. This makes them ideal friends to people with PTSD or depression. They even tend to be calm and collected in crowded places with many people. Because of their high level of intelligence, they can be easily trained.

6). Boxer

Just like German Shepherds, Boxers also make for an all-around service dog. They can be trained to physically support people with disabilities, which is an easy task for them with their strong build and stature.

Though they may look strong and intimidating, they have a soft heart for humans. They can be properly trained to become amazing psychiatric dogs.

Boxers can be trained to retrieve medicines and interrupt episodes of mental illnesses that do physical harm. Because of their attentiveness, friendliness, and loyalty, they can also make for good pets of families with children who have ADHD.

Furthermore, their high level of intelligence makes them highly trainable to become great psychiatric service dogs.

7). Doberman

The Doberman has usually been associated with police work. They accompany the police during investigations. They also make for great guard dogs with their stature and strength.

Unfortunately, Dobermans are usually perceived to be dangerous and scary. But in reality, they are very loyal, friendly, and affectionate. They tend to want to always be by their owner’s side.

Dobermans can be trained to become psychiatric service dogs. They can provide people with the support and love they are longing for, which best fits those with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. They can also be trained to prevent people from doing harmful actions to themselves. They do so by nudging and licking.

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Psychiatric service dogs are indeed heroes who deserve much more recognition that what they are getting right now. So, if you need one, you better choose a breed from among the ones mentioned above.[/box]

Nathan Carlton

Nathan Carlton is an executive editor at He is an avid dog lover and holds a degree in "Holistic Health & Puppy Care" from The British College of Canine Studies. He has been parenting dogs since age 10, when he developed a strong bond with his father's Bull Dog. Today, he has a German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever, who he calls Joani and Saga, respectively.