We are a professional blog site that may receive compensation or free samples from the companies whose products and topics we write about. We are independently owned, and the opinions expressed here are of the writer. To read the full disclosure click here.
The adage of Bigger is Better doesn’t necessarily apply when it comes to some Service Dogs. Of course, you most likely wouldn’t want an eight-pound pooch guiding you through a busy crowd. However, small canines can still act as a therapy dog.
In this post, we will take a look at the qualities that make a great therapy dog. We’ll also rank the top 5 small service dog breeds. These little fellas are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
What Makes a Great Therapy Dog?
Not every dog is cut out for the important job of therapy work. Big or small, the therapy dog needs to be gentle, calm, and obedient. He must love to be held and petted and doesn’t mind meeting new people.
Nursing homes, hospitals, and schools all use therapy dogs. Therapy canines may not be specially trained, but their mere presence and ability to bring joy to all they meet are good medicine.
These top 5 small breeds are among the most popular for therapy work. I bet you can’t help but smile when you check them out.
#1 The Toy Poodle
Sweet, delightful, charming, and highly trainable are just some of the qualities the Toy Poodle possesses. These curly-coated cuties are considered to be hypoallergenic, which is great for people that may be sensitive to pet fur.
The Toy Poodle is a popular therapy dog as they enjoy being social and can be taught tricks to help alleviate the stress and tension of anyone they visit.
Poodle Fun Fact: Did you know the Poodle was bred in Germany as a water retriever? And that chic hairdo was designed to make it easier for the dog to swim. It also helps keep its vital organs and joints warm!
#2 The Corgi
Queen Elizabeth II has owned over 30 Corgis during her lifetime making this pooch synonymous with Royalty. They bring a smile to even the gloomiest of hearts.
The Corgi is an active breed, highly intelligent, and easy to train. They are great with children which would make them the perfect therapy dog for pediatric wards or grade schools.
Corgi Fun Fact: Did you know legend has it that the Corgi was once used by Fairies? These enchanted beings were said to have enlisted the help of the Corgi to pull their coaches and for steeds for the warriors.
Check out some corgi stuffed animals from Petsies!
#3 The Chihuahua
This tiny pup can be a fierce watchdog when called for, probably because he loves being around his human companions and only wants to protect them against anything out of the ordinary.
When it comes to therapy work, the Chihuahua is small enough that owners can easily hold and pet it. This popular breed is also a fast learner and with the proper positive motivation, can learn any trick.
Chihuahua Fun Fact: Did you know you shouldn’t poke a Chihuahua in the head? Like a baby, this breed has a soft spot in its skull called a molera. Some Chihuahua’s may outgrow their molera, but some do not. It all depends on the dog’s size, genetics, and the structure of the skull itself.
Check out chihuahua stuffed animals that Petsies has created.
#4 The Pug
Known as the clowns of the canine world, this compact little dog is sure to bring a smile to any face. The Pug was originally bred to be a lap dog, and he takes this role seriously. The Pug has a smooshie face, deep wrinkles, and big eyes. Some may call it “homely”, but many find his odd features endearing.
Pug Fun Fact: Did you know this breed got its name from a Marmoset? In the 18th century, these small monkeys were kept as pets and were referred to as “Pugs.” The name most likely made the jump over to the pooch because they share similar facial features.
#5 The Yorkshire Terrier
Voted the most popular Toy Breed in America, the Yorkie is a feisty little pooch with a lot of love to give. The long silky coat and perky top-knot give it a sense of style and elegance, all the while weighing in at only seven pounds.
Being in the Terrier family, the Yorkie can be a bit protective and yappy, but early training can usually curb this behavior. This breed makes a great therapy pet due to its charming personality and hair-like coat that tends to be less allergenic to sensitive people.
Yorkie Fun Fact: Did you know a Yorkie named Smokie was the first-ever therapy dog? During World War II a friend of an injured corporal brought the soldier a Yorkie puppy. This sweet little pup had such a positive effect on the morale of all the injured men that Dr. Charles Mayo (Mayo Clinic) began to take Smokey on all his rounds.
Pet Therapy Works
The very presence of a furry pup can do wonders for a sick or hurt individual. These top 5 small service dog breeds are among the favorites in their field of work. Pet therapy works, just ask anyone that has ever had the pleasure of meeting or working with one of these fantastic dogs.