Top 11 Dog Breeds Prone To Anxiety


If you’re thinking of getting a dog, it’s a really smart idea to do some research beforehand. It can save you a lot of trouble later on. This post will outline dog breeds prone to anxiety.

Border Collie

dog breeds prone to anxiety

Border Collies are said to be one of the most intelligent dogs of all breeds. A Border Collie named Chaser could distinguish and retrieve 1,022 toys. They thrive when given a sense of purpose and were actually bred to be working dogs. 

These dogs are energetic and like to chase cars because of their herding instincts. If you’re planning on getting one, be sure that you have the time and stamina to keep up because they need at least 2 hours of exercise per day plus lots of mental stimulation. If you don’t, then consider getting a different breed because Border Collies are prone to separation anxiety. 

If you already have one and you’re out of the house most of the day, hire a dog sitter to exercise the dog and keep it company for a few hours. These smart and highly active dogs don’t like to be left alone for prolonged periods and will tend to indulge in destructive behavior and may even develop depression. 

German Shepherd

Dog breeds prone to anxiety

German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, alertness, strength and athletic build which is why they are commonly used as police dogs. Like Border Collies, these are also herding dogs and were originally bred to herd sheep, thus shep-herd.  This affectionate breed likes to be around people and tend to get bored after periods of inactivity. In the wild, German Shepherds hunt in packs which is why they are prone to separation anxiety.

When left alone, this vocal breed gets stressed and anxious and will tend to bark, whine and dig holes or even try to escape.  German Shepherds are high maintenance and require intense commitment. Adults can be left alone no more than 6 hours while puppies 5-9 months old can only tolerate 3-4 hours alone. 2 hours of physical activity plus mental stimulation is ideal. 30-45 minutes would be the absolute minimum to prevent them from developing destructive behaviour. 

Bichon Frise

dog breeds prone to anxiety - an image of a bichon frise in the snow

Pronounced Bee-Shawn Frees, this hypoallergenic breed is smart, friendly, loving and adventurous. Bichon Frise’s were bred to be companion dogs that’s why it is not in their nature to be left alone for prolonged periods. If you’re planning on getting these cuddly dogs, find a reputable breeder to get a Bichon with a pleasing temperament. 

You and other family members will be his “pack” and that will mean everything in the world for these dogs so examine your schedules to make sure he doesn’t get left alone for too long. When left by itself, they will express their anxiety through barking and destructive behaviour. 

Depending on their inclination, this breed is also prone to fear aggression and must be socialized at an early age. As a side note, never pick up these dogs whenever it shows bad behaviour as this will send the wrong message

Labrador Retrievers

dogs prone to anxiety - an image of a mature Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are playful, calm, highly intelligent and great with children making it the most popular breed followed by German Shepherd, Golden Retriever and French Bulldog. These friendly and social dogs like the company of people and other house pets and are prone to separation anxiety.  Bred to be working dogs, domesticated Labradors don’t like to stay idle for long periods. 

If you’re planning on getting a Labrador Retriever, be prepared to dedicate at least an hour to an hour and a half a day to exercise your pet for the first 7 years of his life up until around 10 years when your Labrador starts to slow down. Labradors are energetic dogs but every dog has different levels of energy so a laid-back Lab may need a little less and some may need more so adjust accordingly. Puppies 3 months old or younger don’t need to be exercised as much.

 Destructive behaviour, barking, self-harm and other symptoms of anxiety are often the result of not getting enough mental and physical stimulation. 


dog breeds prone to anxiety - an image of a cute havanese

Originating from Havana, Cuba, these affectionate, gentle and clever lapdogs are popular among dog owners. This breed is known to sleep up to 18 hours a day. They also don’t require too much exercise – brisk walks around the block several times a week is enough. They can even get their exercise through playing inside the house and they have a tendency to nap after physical activities.  These are small dogs – Be careful not to ever exercise. 

This cuddly hypoallergenic breed is prone to separation anxiety and they show it mostly through barking, howling and other common symptoms of stress because they find it difficult to cope being alone. If you’re getting a puppy, crate train it while it’s young so it gets used to being in isolation for short periods and try to do it while it’s tired like after a walk so it doesn’t cause a commotion. 

If your pet has severe separation anxiety, consider getting another Havanese as a companion. They are also known to be aloof towards strangers so early socialization will definitely help. 


dog breeds prone to anxiety - an image of a smiling poodle

When it comes to intelligent dogs, Poodles rank among the top. This breed is extremely smart and highly intuitive – they can easily pick up on body language. That being said, they require a peaceful home. These sensitive dogs can literally get sick in stressful conditions. 

They are known to be affectionate and even clingy.  If you’re planning on getting one, be aware that Poodles require lots of company and are prone to separation anxiety once they get attached to their owners. They need to be exercised for thirty minutes to an hour a day to prevent them from becoming a destructive and barking menace. 

Poodles are also great swimmers. Is your dog overly excited to greet you when you get home and anxious when you leave? These are symptoms of separation anxiety. When you leave the house, play some dog music to calm your pet and leave some lights on if you won’t be back by nighttime. Socialize your Poodle while still young and expose him to different sights and sounds. 

Lastly, be aware that Poodles are prone to major health problems because of extensive inbreeding. Get them from a reputable breeder if you can. 


dog breeds prone to anxiety-an image of a pair of Vizla's on grass

Vizsla’s are known to be velcro dogs that always attach themselves to their owners by leaning against them or sitting on their laps and generally want to be in their owner’s company. Highly intelligent, affectionate and polite, this breed doesn’t bark excessively and make good guard dogs. It almost sounds like a perfect pet! But Vizsla’s are prone to separation anxiety when left alone for too long. 

Failure to provide enough physical activity and companionship will lead to demented behaviour and a notorious chewer. This is not a dog for people who work long hours. They are also not the easiest to train because they can be easily distracted. These were bred to be hunters in harsh conditions and hunting is still in their genes so keep small animals away.

 1 hour of exercise and lots of attention a day is required and more for puppies to keep them happy. Vizsla’s are also good swimmers. Early socialization will definitely help. It is highly recommended to get them from reputable breeders. 

Jack Russel Terrier

dog breeds prone to anxiety - an image of a jack russel terrier holding a stick in its mouth while walking on water

Smart and audacious, Jack Russel Terriers are affectionate and love being around people. Despite being a relatively small dog, “hyper” is a word that is often used to describe this breed.  Oftentimes called “Jack Russel Terrorist”, this breed is not for first-time dog owners. These ultra-energetic dogs require a lot of physical activity. They are also susceptible to severe separation anxiety. 

Boredom can drive them crazy and depressed. If you’re looking for a casual dog that is calm, great with children and requires minimal exercise, Jack Russel’s are not it. If you’re planning on getting one, be forewarned that training Jack Russel’s will not be easy and best be left to the professionals. Bred to hunt vermin, keep small animals away like rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs. 

Never leave these dogs with small children unsupervised. Children might tease it by pulling their ears or hurt it accidentally which might provoke it to bite. They must be exercised 1-2 hours a day to release their pent-up energy. 

However, Jack Russels that are adequately socialized and trained at an early age can make wonderful companions. 

Basset Hound

dog breeds prone to anxiety - an image of a basset hound tied to a leash

Basset Hounds are relatively big dogs that like to sit on your lap thinking they are small dogs. These dogs are drooly with big floppy ears. Properly trained Basset Hounds are mellow, placid and generally don’t make a fuss. They get along with other dogs just fine. 

These are also one of the most expensive breeds to own costing up to $10,000 for quality pedigree. They have virtually unlimited patience with children and make exceptional family dogs. They don’t like being left alone too long, though, Basset Hounds are susceptible to separation anxiety and may develop destructive tendencies. 

If your pet is already mature but still shows anxiety, consider getting your dog a canine companion. This breed also tends to gain weight due to their healthy appetites and love for sleep. 1 hour of exercise every day is required to prevent it from getting too heavy. Basset Hounds are friendly but sometimes too friendly, making them bad guard dogs. Be aware that Basset Hounds are susceptible to major health issues including cancer

Lastly, these dogs are bad swimmers and may drown. Due to their short legs, prevent it from climbing stairs to avoid injury.

Cocker Spaniel

dog breeds prone to anxiety- an image of a beautiful cocker spaniel running on the grass

Cocker Spaniels are beautiful dogs with naturally floppy ears. This breed is highly intelligent, gentle, friendly and easy to train making them one of the most popular and sought after dogs in the world. Cocker Spaniels are easy going and very patient with children making them excellent family dogs. 

They also have a habit of giving their owners a sloppy kiss! They can get too attached to their family, though. If you work long hours, this is not the dog for you. Cocker Spaniels require lots of companionships and are prone to separation anxiety. It may also refuse to eat when you get home. Walk your dog at least an hour a day to prevent destructive behaviour and also to prevent obesity as this breed tend to gain weight. 

They are also naturally good swimmers in case you want to take them to the lake. And if you do, be sure to dry the inside of its ears to prevent ear infections. For puppies 6-12 weeks, two half-hour walks are enough. These are small dogs with a big bark, making people think you have a much bigger dog. Cocker Spaniels are also easy to train but must be done early. 

Golden Retriever

homeopathy and dogs - an image of a smiling English Golden Retriever

While there’s no perfect pet, Golden retrievers come really close.  They are known to be friendly, affectionate, loyal, dependable, highly intelligent and easy to train which is why they are frequently used as Guide dogs, Therapy dogs and in Search and Rescue operations and are great at everything they do. 

Golden Retrievers are patient with children and love companionship which makes them excellent family dogs and first-time owners. A word of warning though – there are a few downsides to owning one apart from the extreme amount of fur they shed. This breed is prone to separation anxiety due to their social nature and cannot tolerate being alone for too long and are even known to cry. 

That being said, these are a few things you can do to help minimize your pet’s anxiety. Golden Retrievers need to be exercised for 1 hour a day to prevent destructive behavior and to help maintain a healthy weight. Always have a water bowl available. 

They will need a bathroom break every three to five hours so don’t leave them alone too long. 


The take away is all dogs will suffer from anxiety on some level but some breeds are more susceptible than others. Regular exercise, early socialization and training will play a big role in preventing them from developing unwanted behavior.


31 thoughts on “Top 11 Dog Breeds Prone To Anxiety”

  1. I’m a dog lover myself so i consider this to be a great post about dog breeds that are prone to anxiety. It’s chock full of information that i never knew before and you’ve mentioned 2 breeds that i really like. That’s the Labrador Retriever and the Cocker Spaniel. I never realized that these breeds could have an anxiety problem and i was surprised to learn that the Lab might even harm itself because of this.

    I have a question for you though. Could you say exactly what would cause Cocker Spaniels to refuse to eat when their owner gets home? One would think that they would be happy to eat then because their beloved owner is home and all is right in their little world again.

  2. I needed this research. I know nothing about dogs or pets in general. My child loves dogs and if I were to get one, I have no idea what breed to get. Though after reading this, I believe a poodle would do for me in particular due to their intelligence and loyalty. Beside, I do like their furry curls.

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