If you read different articles online about companion animals or emotional support animals, some of them are neglecting to tell you three bottom line facts: 

  1. Either your dog’s disposition is perfect for this job or it’s not
  2. Some breeds simply aren’t wired for being a companion animal (CA) or emotional support animal (ESA)
  3. Some breeds are simply too large to be considered a dog that can be taken on a plane.

The Dog’s Disposition May Not Fit What is Needed for a Companion Animal or ESA

All dogs are not alike. All dogs in a certain breed are all different as well, although they may have similar traits. Thus, to say that all golden retrievers are good as a companion animal is like saying all shampoo works on your hair or every car on the market is good for you. 

The disposition of your dog has to be one that puts you first. This is especially important if you are going for an ESA certificate or ESA certification. Below is a list of several different clues that your dog is definitely geared towards helping you as a companion animal or ESA. 

  1. When your dog looks at you, you can see and feel the love.
  2. Your dog follows you everywhere you go.
  3. Your dog puts food first but you second. After mealtime, you are his whole world.
  4. Your dog brings you his toys and presents them as a gift, as if he’s sharing it with you. 
  5. Your dog is super happy to see you when you get home.
  6. Your dog likes to sleep with you.
  7. Your dog makes sure that you are told good morning and good night. He creates rituals for this.

Dogs that don’t fit this bill of traits tend to be extremely independent. Independence is a trait for the farm, not for CAs or ESAs. 

The Dog’s Breed May Not Be Good for an Emotional Support Animal

Some breeds are more likely to be better as a ‘pal’ for you and for emotional support than others. 

Below is a list of dogs you don’t want to consider as CAs and ESAs.

Dog Runners

Any dog that loves to run the first chance he gets is not going to be a good ESA or CA. You can’t depend on this type of dog for tending to you over tending to his own instincts.

Here’s an example:  Dave, a 35-year-old got a dog for emotional support and chose an afghan hound. That dog was a runner, being true to its DNA heritage; these dogs were made to run up to 40 mph and hunt. They often cornered leopards during their hunts. The breed is known for its low threshold of pain and whimper at the slightest injury. Dave spent more time chasing after his dog than getting support from his dog.

Dogs Low on the IQ List

You can get an idea of the best dogs for companion animals or ESAs by seeing which dogs are used by the police for forensic detection, by people for seeing eye dogs, and by farmers to herd livestock, which is a super complicated task. 

A dog can be smart at what it was bred for, like Labradors for hunting. This is instinctive intelligence. A dog can solve problems on its own and that’s adaptive intelligence. An example would be a herding dog responsible for a flock. And then there’s obedient intelligence which measures your dog’s ability to learn new things and obey you. 

Thus any dog that won’t obey you is not going to be a good CA or ESA. The most stubborn dogs that want to do their own thing are:  African basenji and bull mastiffs (narcissistic and want to do what they want when they want), basset hounds, bloodhounds and beagles (they will track scents over you in a heartbeat.), bull terriers (would rather be playing than working), and Great Pyrenees and Scottish Terriers (won’t obey you)

Unfriendly Dogs

Chow chows are known to be hostile toward strangers. Thus, if you want to be a hit with your friends and people in new situations, this dog isn’t going to fit the bill. 

Some Dogs Are Too Large to Be a Perfect ESA or Companion Animal

In many cases, a companion animal or ESA will be with you in the public wherever you go. It’s imperative that you consider what will happen when you travel. If your dog is going to fly with you, it’s too awkward if he’s too large to fit in the plane. And the last thing you may want to do is put him in a crate where he travels with the luggage. 

Consider that the following dogs are too large to go with you on these long-distance trips:

  • Old English Sheepdogs
  • Great Pyrenees
  • St. Bernard
  • Newfoundland
  • Scottish deerhound
  • Leonberger
  • Irish wolfhound
  • Neopolitan Mastiff
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Cane Corso
  • Great Dane

 Make your decisions for your CA and ESAs wisely!