Over the years working with dogs, I have seen many stressed and anxious dogs. Same as us, all dogs experience stress at some point in their life, and all dogs might get anxious. But are there dog breeds that are prone to anxiety more than others?
Yes, some breeds are more prone to anxiety than others.
These breeds are usually too sensitive, strongly attached to their owners, very affectionate, and can even be emotionally needy.
Companion dogs like Chihuahua, Bichon, Poodle bond with their humans easily and quickly. As companion dogs, they want to be with you, follow you, sit next to you, or on you all the time. And that’s why they are prone to separation anxiety when left alone.
Another reason why anxiety may occur in the lives of tiny dogs like Chihuahuas and toy poodles is that they are so small, they can be prone to accidents. That may make a dog parent anxious and the little dog as well.
Saying all this, all three breeds mentioned above are very charming, intelligent, highly trainable, and obedient.
For years I have a misconception about Chihuahuas, like many other people. I thought they are nervous, yappy, shaky, a bit hysterical, and too needy.
Then I met Rosie & Stand, two super cute Chiwies coming to me for boarding. Both rescues, but well balanced, always happy, affectionate but not needy. And these two were the reason I went for a Chihuahua when I was looking for a small dog for my mum. And I’m so glad I did! She is the most delightful and balanced little dog. The perfect companion for my parents!
The dog breeds prone to anxiety are breeds like Border Collie and German Shepherd. These are herding breeds, and for years and years, they have been bred for working with people in a very close relationship. This close relationship with humans is a predisposition for anxiety. Also, they are very active, keen to learn and work, so if left idle for too long, they can get anxious and become destructive.
Are crossbreeds prone to anxiety?
It depends on what breeds are put together. Let’s take a poodle and cocker spaniel. Poodles are highly intelligent dogs and are highly trainable. Unfortunately, poodles are also prone to anxiety, especially without proper socialization, exercise, and training. Cocker spaniels are very affectionate dogs; they love to please their humans and chase birds and small animals.
And because they are gundogs, even though many live as family pets, the energy and need to do something are still in them. Lack of exercise and mental stimulation, boredom can cause a Cocker Spaniel to become anxious.
What about poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? The Cavaliers unconditionally love their humans and are such loyal companions to them. However, this can make them suffer really badly from separation anxiety when left alone.
Are terrier breeds prone to anxiety?
You may be surprised, but they can get anxious as well. Even though terriers have been bred to work independently, they act tough; they can be sensitive souls. Stubborn but sensitive. From my experience, especially Lakelands. I have a few coming to me for boarding, and the first day or two, frequent application of Comfort Blend is needed. And then they settle, and everyone is happy. The funny thing is they are so happy to come and still get anxious… Apart from Comfort Blend, canine enrichment games work really well for them. Have you tried them for your dog?
My Scotties are so independent; sometimes, I think they don’t need me at all. Who is the needy one now, hey? But how they are getting older, they are getting more affectionate and cuddly. Yay to that! The Welshies I had, Rosie and Jasmine, were the same. Do you know who they loved the most? Food!! Well, anybody with food… any food.
And my Airedale Richard? Happy as Larry, lovingly staring at me, always excited to see me, but never anxious when I leave him. I think his motto is, love the one you are with.
Is your dog anxious? And what breed is he?