Top 11 Dog Breeds Prone To Anxiety

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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

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. 

dog breeds prone to anxiety

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

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.

Dog breeds prone to 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

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.  

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

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

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.

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

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

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.  

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

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. 

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. 

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

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. 

Vizsla

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. 

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

 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

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. 

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

 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

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. 

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

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

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.

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

 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

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. 

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

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.

Conclusion

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.

 *This site may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting the work I put into this site! *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. All information in this post is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarians’ advice. All photos credited to Pixabay

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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  3. Wow! This is really a high opener because I never thought that Labrador retrievers and German shepherds could really fall victims to this anxiety issue. Though I was already deliberating on getting a Labrador retrievers before and this just gave me another twist to understanding them fully more. Thanks so much for sharing this out with us

    Reply
  4. This list is so true. I work in the vet clinic and have seen my fair share of anxious dogs, most from pedigree breeds. You would think a big fella like a GSD has no problem going into a big kennel, but that perception is so wrong. Even simple procedures like cleaning their ears and trimming the nails are big hurdles for these gentle giants. 

    Of course, the master of anxiety would have to be poodles. Lots of drama, whining and bitting the cage. Cute but full of characteristics.

    Reply
  5. I have to tie and medicate Tobby whenever going on a long trip in the car. He gets really nervous on the highway. He has semy open spaces at home that make him feel good during our absence, but when we have to travel his temperament really changes. 

    Tobby is a half-blood dog, CBD oil has been proved to fix this issue when traveling.

    Thanks a lot for the very informative post!

    Reply
  6. I was surprised not to see a Beagle on this list. 

    As far as all the dog’s I’ve owned she was most hyperactive and impulsive dog I’ve had. 

    She had extreme separation anxiety whenever I left and was a nightmare to travel with. 

    I tried to exercise her and wear her out as much as possible and that seemed to help. 

    Reply
  7. Anxiety is a fact of life—even for a dog. It’s not all chew toys, chasing your tail, walks, and waiting to be fed. Our dogs are just as susceptible to anxiety as we are. Not every Spot, Finn, or Harry deals with stress in the same way, and some simply go barking mad. For every stressed dog, there’s plenty of medical and psychological help available through veterinarians, trainers, and canine mental health professionals. 

    Reply
  8. Indeed, all dogs tends to suffer from anxiety when left for so long and this can cause some behavioral patterns or issues on their part. Just like you said, if we don’t have the time to stay close to them long enough, then we should hire a dog sitter to exercise and keep them company for few hours. This really helps.

    We have a German Shepherd, and can say that it’s a lifelong commitment. If we can’t do neither, then we shouldn’t even have one at all.

    This is really a nice article on dog breeds prone to anxiety.

    Reply
    • Hello Kell,

      Yes, it’s true. German Shepherds are a lifelong commitment. It takes a lot of effort to give them what they need.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Sunny 

      Reply
  9. Greetings and thank you for allowing me to review your site. So for starters I am a dog lover. I’m always watching you tube videos of abandoned dogs being rescued. I am intrigued by what the veterinarians do to nourish the dogs back to a healthy state. Your site is clean, uncluttered, and well structured. You offer great information about dogs and helping them to deal with anxiety effectively. I have three concerns. Although you say that the advice you give about benadryl and other remedies should not be replaced by the recommendations of the veterinarian I think it is wise to always indicate that the remedies have been recognized and approved for use by a veterinarian. I believe it gives your post more credibility and shields you from any potential lawsuits. Secondly you have an ad for Snagit at the top of some of your pages. I think it is a distraction from the purpose and integrity of your website. Lastly there are so many products that people buy online for their dogs. Perhaps you have not gotten to that point yet. But when you do, make sure you put links in your post giving  your audience the option of buying something for their pets to reduce anxiety, toys, etc. other than those items I mentioned I believe you have a winner. I wish you all the best. 

    Reply
    • Hi Larry,

      Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate it. 

      I also watch a lot of dog rescues and I actually want to write a post about it. 

      Thank you for those three areas of concern. I’ll work on it right away. Re: Snagit, is it a google ad? It’s because it’s set on auto-optimize on Google Adsense but I agree that it can be a distraction. I Actually tried twice to request google to remove it but they won’t because they see it as prime real estate. So basically it’s either I run ads or I don’t. 

      Lastly regarding products, you are correct that I haven’t reached that point yet. I’m focused on adding content at the moment but eventually i’ll get there.

      Thanks again for your review!

      Sunny

      Reply
  10. Hi Chua,

    Thank you very much, for this lot of information. I am a poultry farmer in search of a dog for both security and as a pet. The German Shepard caught my attention, owing to the kind of relationship you pointed out that they keep with their owners.
    I have also seen several around me, kindly let me know how to identify a pure breed, I mean a product that is not crossbreed

    Reply
    • Hi,

      I honestly do not know the difference. However, I’m quite sure the information is readily available online. 

      What I do know, however, is that you should not get a Vizsla and Jack Russel Terrier because they were bred to hunt small animals. They might terrorize your chickens. 

      Border Collies would be a good idea too.

      Thanks for the comment and good luck 

      Sunny

      Reply
  11. Sonny,

    Thank you for such a thoughtful and informative post! You’re speaking facts, and I wish I would have learned earlier how crucial It is to research a dog’s breed before you purchase one. I’m a dog person, and I have two dogs presently! One is a Labrador -mix and a Queensland Heeler. In your post, you mentioned giving Labrador breed up to an hour and a half of exercise. Currently, I exercise my Labrador-mix for 45 minutes, but now I’m going to increase the activity to an hour a day and work upward gradually, so my dog stays as healthy as possible. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Josh!

      We both made the same mistake – we didn’t do any research either. In fact, we were supposed to go with a golden retriever but it cost $1,500 more so we went with a backyard breeder. Big Mistake!

      It’s a big commitment to own a dog especially big dogs like yours. On the bright side, you’re being forced to exercise. I hope your queensland heeler is treating you well.

      Sunny

      Reply
  12. Thank you for your post. It is useful information for me. We just give my daughter a Christmas gift, a dog. We have not bought it yet and plan to get it in the coming spring.

    My daughter likes to have a German shepherd. From your article, German shepherd is prone to anxiety. Puppy can stay alone for about 3-4 hours. If this is true, we are going to have trouble of raising the dog, since we all need to leave house for more than 8 hours, this entire period the dog need to stay for himself.

    It is kind of you sharing the valuable information with us. I am going to do more research on the dog and to make sure we have less trouble when we have our dog.

    Reply
    • Hi Anthony,

      8 hours is a little too long to leave a puppy alone. One thing to consider is to get a breed that isn’t as prone to anxiety. I’ll write a post on that one too. 

      Thanks for the comment!

      Im sure your daughter can’t wait to get the puppy!

      Sunny

      Reply
  13. Hello 🙂

    What a lovely article. I never knew that dogs can suffer from anxiety. I know they’re very smart animals tho so this doesn’t surprise me. It makes me care about them more. My mum was right when I was younger saying that we shouldn’t get a dog as we were not home most of the day. Do you have a dog?

    Reply
    • Hello Ola,

      Yes I do. We have a Labradoodle (Labrador-Poodle). He was super anxious when we got him because we basically did zero research so we made practically all dog-parent mistakes. It was a long and tedious process! 

      Thank you for your comment! 

      Sunny

      Reply
  14. Hi. We have been considering bring a German Shepherd to become a member of our family. But I didn’t know they could not be left alone for long periods of time. And that’s specially true when they’re puppies. This point is important. A German Shepard may demand more attention than we may be able to devote.

    Reply
    • Hi Ann, 

      German Shepherds are high maintenance compared to other dogs but they are lovely, loyal and very intelligent. If you’re concerned with the puppy stage, you can adopt a mature one from a shelter.

      Sunny

      Reply
  15. I like how you clearly explained the different dog breeds prone to anxiety. It is very informative and helpful! Thank you!

    Reply
  16. Hi Sonny,
    What a great article! This is great information for anyone who is thinking of getting a dog for the first time or for someone who is trying to decide which breed to get. So many different breeds crave human interaction and really need to be around their people most of the time. With all of these breeds that you mention, it seems that the common denominator is giving them plenty of physical and mental activity daily so that they don’t become bored and develop destructive behaviour.
    I think you can also add Golden Retrievers to this list because they need to be around people all the time! I own a Golden Retriever and she always needs to be around us, 24/7.
    I was a little surprised to see that Vizslas made the list, I had no idea that this breed was a velcro dog too. Thanks for an informative article.
    Jenny.

    Reply
  17. I had a Border Collie Huskie breed. He was very anxious! We lived in an apartment and it definitley made it hard for him to get his energy out!
    I also had a German Shepherd mixed with a Lab and she was a bit on the wild side too!
    Your post definitely has ties with me!

    Reply

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