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10 Best Psychiatric Service Dog Breeds

Updated on April 27, 2023 by Lisa Tevis
There are some incredibly unique canines in the world of working dogs whose lives are focused entirely on providing aid to those in need.
It can be very challenging to maintain a routine for those working towards long-term goals and, at the same time, suffering from a crippling mental health problem. At any time, symptoms can appear like an unwanted guest, making it difficult to go through the day as it is.

In this case, you need support to help you in the overall journey. A psychiatric service dog can help you in mitigating the symptoms. They can assist their handler in many ways, from offering comfort to stopping self-destructive tendencies. They are specifically trained to provide one-on-one care to people with autism, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, and other psychiatric difficulties.

There are many other types of animals that also provide some relief to their owners. Let us first understand the difference between these types of animals.

10 Best PSD Breeds

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals are animals that provide emotional support to their owners. These animals are not trained. Emotional support animals are the one that provide comfort and companionship to its owner and aids in coping with mental health issues. Any animal, including a dog, cat, or other pet, can be an emotional support animal for its owner.

Psychiatric Service Dogs

A psychiatric service dog is trained to carry out duties that benefit people who have been given a diagnosis of a psychiatric ailment, such as anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides several legal safeguards for psychiatric service dogs. For instance, they are given access to public spaces like restaurants, grocery stores, and offices that ordinarily prohibit dogs from entering.

In Today’s article will discuss the best breeds considered as Psychiatric Service Dogs.

The Best 10 Psychiatric Service Dogs Breeds

1. Poodle

Poodle as psychiatric service dog
These adorable fluffy dogs were developed in France or Germany to retrieve wildfowl. Their aptitude as support dogs is influenced by their inherited propensity to recover objects. Poodles come in four sizes: toy, miniature, medium, and standard, and you can pick the one that best fits your requirements. While the smaller sizes can be fantastic at hopping on your lap and doing Deep Pressure Therapy and the giant-size poodles can accomplish more physically taxing chores. It is well known that poodles are intelligent and devoted to their owners. They get along with adults and kids, are amiable, and are quite trainable.
If you own a poodle, we advise you to teach your furry friend before allowing them to engage with other dogs because deafening noises and rough play can stress them out. When selecting a PSD, this breed is preferable among people because of its hypoallergenic nature.

2. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever as psychiatric service dog
Since 1991, the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular pet dog breed in the United States. Labs are very friendly, eager to please, and gentle animals. Naturally, these qualities also make them suitable for psychiatric service dogs in the mental health field.

However, labs are brilliant and can teach practically any task. They can transport items gently and without causing damage, all thanks to their “soft mouth.”

3. Havanese

Havanese as psychiatric service dog

Any person meeting a Havanese dog can immediately fall in love with an outgoing personality and trainable nature. Also, these dogs are in trend among depressed patients as they give them a reason to go out and socialize. Havanese are incredibly loving dogs who adore cuddling and snuggling with their owners. You may be sure that having one of these fluffy companions cuddle up next to you will improve your day.

Havanese can be taught various skills, such as how to fetch their owner’s medication or stop habitual or hazardous behavior. They can easily adjust to the requirements of many problematic owners. This breed is incredibly unique and more capable of providing psychiatric care.

4. German Shepherds

German Shepherds as psychiatric service dog

German Shepherds are amazing dogs that excel as watchdogs because they are devoted, submissive, and easy to teach. You can easily trust them; if someone tries to break into your house, you will be informed. German Shepherds love to please their owners and are incredibly bright dogs. They like participating in many activities and games, which makes them ideal service dogs.

Talking about Psychiatric Service Dogs, in particular, these dogs can be trained to perform both physical and mental tasks. These dogs can be trained to pick and drop items, open doors for you, paw you and nudge you. There are many other tasks to that these dogs can perform without difficulty.

Playful dogs, German Shepherds are lively dogs who enjoy daily tasks and are happy to engage in various activities with their devoted owners. If you have kids, this feature will be very beneficial to you as they can play with a trustworthy friend.

5. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer as psychiatric service dog
This breed was developed in Germany in the 19th century as ratting dogs by crossing Standard Schnauzers with other species. These canines are devoted to their owners, obedient, and eager to please them. They can be distinguished by the hair around their muzzles, which gives them a human appearance. These dogs get along with youngsters, and it’s typical to see them romping around and playing with kids to burn off some of their excessive energy. Therefore, they make excellent family dogs.
If you plan to take them into the passenger compartment, their small size makes it ideal for them to lie down under your seat. These dogs may have the propensity to bark at strangers, which may work to your advantage if you require an alert dog and can train them properly.

6. Boxers

Boxers as psychiatric service dog
Boxers are still one of the most significant breeds for service dog work, despite being the least popular choice.
They love creatures at heart who adore nothing more than spending time with their owner, despite their bold appearance. They’ll never want to leave your side, which makes them a perfect companion for folks who wish to assist frequently throughout the day.
They can live peacefully in a smaller space and easily handle almost any physically demanding work because they are strong. They can immediately detect changes in their owner’s mood as well. Boxers tend to be watchful and protective because they were developed as guard dogs. However, with the help of training, they can maintain this alertness at a healthy level without being distracted.

7. Border Collies

Border Collies as psychiatric service dog
This working dog is a devoted, friendly, and loyal companion whose goal is to please its owner. It is unquestionably one of the most intelligent breeds available. Border Collies are vibrant, energetic dogs that show their owners a lot of affection. Even though you may not be in the mood, they inspire you to get up and move, and their adorable antics will make your day. Because of this, anyone suffering from depression may want to consider these dogs. Furthermore, they love to cuddle and snuggle. Nothing can provide you with more peace and happiness than caressing a dog.
Since Psychiatric Service Dogs are trained to comfort their owners during panic attacks physically, their extremely intuitive personalities make them an excellent choice for people who are prone to panic attacks.

8. Great Dane

Great Dane as psychiatric service dog
Due to their calm, amiable, and cuddly nature, Great Danes are generally regarded as the gentle giants of the canine world and make excellent psychiatric service dogs. They require little care and exercise, making them simple to maintain, especially for individuals with restricted mobility. They can get to higher places and aid in keeping their handler balanced.
Their striking size even helps to divert people’s attention away from their handler. This quality will be very beneficial for people struggling with mental health conditions like social anxiety.

9. Lhasa Apsos

Lhasa Apsos as psychiatric service dog

Due to their small stature, you may undervalue these pups, but you’ll be shocked to know that they can develop into wonderful service dogs. As Psychiatric Service Dogs, they can execute various duties when given positive rewards, particularly food and praise. They become attached to their owners and are experts at recognizing behavioral changes thanks to their strong intuition. You can train your dog to exhibit the desired behavior by using any of the following, like pawing, nudging, or barking.
Although Lhasa Apsos get along with kids, it is advised that you socialize with your furry buddy from an early age and keep an eye on them when engaging.

10. Dobermans

Dobermans as psychiatric service dog

For persons whose condition necessitates having a dog that provides them with reality affirmation, Dobermans trained as psychiatric service dogs may be especially ideal. When called upon, they can be trained to offer tactile stimulation (licking, nudging), which “roots” the handler in the situation and stops the issue from worsening.
The Dobie is a trustworthy and loving breed whose commanding presence makes him an excellent fit for people who suffer from PTSD or panic attacks. He is also an outstanding guardian, military, and service dog. This devoted dog can help provide a sense of protection and security when ordinary chores like a walk to the neighborhood store seem too tricky.


All dogs cannot be psychiatric service dogs, despite the fact that most pets give their owners company and can benefit mental health. A dog must go through considerable training to be able to complete a specific duty that a person with a mental or emotional problem is unable to execute on their own in order to be considered a psychiatric service dog. Through their everyday assistance, these dogs enable their handlers to live healthier and happier lives. More than just pets or perhaps just best friends, psychiatric service dogs save the lives of many humans with their love and care.

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