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Top Therapy Dog Breeds

At A Glance

Having a dog can bring a lot of positive energy to your life. In addition to teaching responsibility, they also bring out a person's nurturing and parental instincts. They are great for children with disabilities and people who are unwell. Read this article for a list of 7 top therapy dog breeds you can embrace in times of need.

Therapy dogs are some breeds of dogs that are qualified to provide comfort and emotional support to individuals in residential settings and other special care facilities. They are employed to assist and fulfill the emotional needs of those who may need it, like people with social problems, anxiety, dementia, autism, and trauma victims.

You can find them at retirement homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and even at schools for children with special needs. Certainly, being around a dog can help reduce stress, anxiety, and even lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Here is a list of the top therapy dog breeds:

An image of a black labrador

Labrador Retriever

They are without a doubt one of the most loving and caring pets you could foster. Also, Labrador Retrievers are docile and easy to train, making them suitable for life around children and the disabled.

Not only that, but they’re also frequently used as service dogs for a variety of tasks, including hunting, sports, retrieving, and screening and detection. They originated in Early Britain. Nobles in Early Europe employed them as gundogs.

Appearance & Nature

They have a black, chocolate, or white coat that has range in size from medium to giant, making them larger than most therapy dogs. Moreover, they have a short and dense, water-resistant coat and a broad head and drop ears.

What makes these dogs excellent for therapy is that they are kind and have excellent instincts, making them very perceptive to human emotions. They are playful, territorial, and have an amazing bond with children.

 

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the world’s smallest dog breeds. They are well-known for their cute, “portable” size. The Yorkshire Terrier was named after Yorkshire in England in the nineteenth century.

The first official therapy dog was a Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky who worked alongside nurses attending to wounded soldiers in New Guinea.

Appearance & Nature

This dog typically grows between 8 to 9 inches tall. They have a long, shiny, and lustrous coat, which comes in black-blue and tan with a silver tinge. They have small heads, and their ears are V-shaped and upright.

Yorkshire Terriers are brave and self-assured dogs who enjoy receiving attention when they enter a room. They crave intimacy and social interaction to the point that being left alone can induce separation anxiety. Their small stature makes them a perfect fit for your children, and they are very photogenic. Certainly, their cheerful demeanor is known to lighten up a gloomy day.

French Bulldog

The French bulldog is a popular companion dog that is excellent at performing chores.

Appearance & Nature

Their distinguishing characteristic is their wrinkly faces. They have upright ears and a short, muscular frame. Their skin colors range from white to brindle, fawn, and brown.

Simply put, these dogs enjoy being around many people. They are quite sociable and do not seem agitated by large crowds. In addition, they are fun-loving, docile, and well-behaved. In short, they have all the characteristics of a therapy dog, and they’re low-maintenance.

Pomeranian

They’re another tiny dog breed that is ideal for therapy and companionship. Also, Pomeranians are known to be highly popular in England during the Victorian era primarily because Queen Victoria owned one.

Appearance & Nature

They have fluffy fur with red, white, or black coat colors. In addition, they are 8 to 14 inches tall and have small bodies.

They’re renowned for being territorial and alert. They are gregarious and can be rather intimidating when it comes to asserting their authority in a non-violent manner. Nevertheless, they are extremely social and amiable, making them excellent companions.

Dogs can help children with learning disabilities to read, as children enjoy reading to them. They also help teach kids with autism to socialize.

An Image of Maltese standing

Maltese

They are one of the most attractive and cutest canines on our list. They’re a well-known lapdog species that can rest comfortably on your lap.

Appearance & Nature

This breed is well-known for its white and silky coat. They have a regal and beautiful appearance, which is why they are often seen in dog beauty contests.  Also, they stand at about 8 to 10 inches tall.

Despite their small size, Maltese make great companion dogs since they are intelligent and attentive to their environment. Similarly, you can trust them to make you happy with their cheerful nature and warn you of danger as well.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

In 2007, this dog was the 6th most popular dog in the United Kingdom. According to rumors, they have a similar history to King Charles Spaniel, which Charles II made popular in the 18th century.

Appearance & Nature

They have a wavy coat that comes in a variety of colors, including Blenheim, black, tan, ruby, and even tricolor. Their large, droopy ears and tiny stature are their most distinguishing features.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a royal ancestral breed that is known for being patient and loving. They are moderately intelligent, yet they have a very loving and compassionate nature. And certainly, they offer comfort and are ideal for medical patients.

An image of a Poodle lying on the carpet

Poodle

The fancy, fluff-ball appearance of these canines makes them easy to identify. They have a long and illustrious history as military labor dogs, gundogs, and war dogs.

Appearance & Nature

Poodles have a soft and woolly coat that comes in a variety of colors like white, black, brown, blue, gray, and silver. Also, they stand between 18 to 24 inches tall, which is slightly taller than typical therapy dogs.

The qualities that make these dogs excellent therapy dogs are intelligence and compassion. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and they make excellent playmates for children. They are often referred to as hypoallergenic dogs that are ideal for healthcare facilities.

 

What Are The Qualifications For A Therapy Dog?

Here’s the truth—although some dogs go through therapy dog programs successfully, not all dogs are suited to be therapy dogs. Therapy dogs have to be social and friendly as one of the main jobs of a therapy dog is to socialize and warm up to strangers. Also, they must be calm and collected as many strangers are likely to hold and pet them. Moreover, most facilities adopt the most obedient dogs so that they are easy to train, and avoid misbehaving and causing harm to others. Most importantly, they should be open to cuddles.

An image of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lying on the couch
If you want to enrich their lives with love and comfort, you can’t ignore these endearing breeds. Introverts and extroverts alike will enjoy these dogs’ refreshing personalities. If you need a gentle and nonjudgmental best friend, don’t hesitate to adopt one of these top therapy dog breeds.

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Paul Andrews
https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-andrews-172490189/

A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.