All dog breeds are different, and even within a breed category, there is plenty of variation. But knowing details and characteristics of individual breeds can help dog owners decide what kind of pet is best for them and provide specific care for their canine companion.
Certain dog breeds are extremely social and loyal and tend to prefer a busy household with lots of company. While these breeds might struggle with separation stress when their owners leave, they make great pets for busy families with lots of action in the household. These high anxiety dog breeds may need some special calming care to keep them centered, but they are a perfect fit dog owners with active lifestyles and plenty of time and attention to give to their new furry friend.
Separation Stress and Anxious Behavior in Dogs
While some dog breeds are more prone to stress and anxious behaviors than others, that doesn’t mean they can’t make great pets. Here’s what you need to understand about these mood issues in canines:
- Stress signals are different for each pet
- There are ways to manage separation stress in dogs
- Some dogs just can’t be left alone for long periods
Your Dog Might Express Their Anxiety in a Number of Different Ways
High anxiety dog breeds can manifest their stress in a number of ways. A dog that is experiencing anxiety – whether because of separation from their owner, noise aversion, or another reason – might demonstrate a variety of behaviors, some of which are destructive.
Chewing and scratching the furniture, doors, and walls is a common way for a dog to express their displeasure when they are away from you. Other dogs will whine or bark before you leave and while you’re away. This can be especially problematic for people living near their neighbors, who often complain about the noise. Another common symptom of separation stress in high anxiety dog breeds is bathroom accidents in the house.
It’s important to note that all of these behaviors might be connected to something other than separation stress, so it’s important to collaborate with your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s needs are being met.
Stress Is Manageable, Even for a High Anxiety Dog Breed
It’s important for all dog owners to know that dealing with dog anxiety is possible. With an appropriate environment and routine, even the most severe anxiety in dogs can be managed so your pet can lead a happy, fulfilling life.
One of the most crucial stress management techniques for such dogs is to ensure they are getting plenty of physical and mental stimulation daily. This might include walks, runs, or bike rides with their owners, play time in the backyard, or special time with an interactive dog toy when you’re away. You can also support your pet’s relaxation with a healthy diet and a doggie safe space. If your pet really needs extra support, you can also discuss natural dog anxiety medication with your veterinarian.
Not All Dogs Can Be Left Alone
Some dogs will need to be with people all the time. Even the best routine and most well-appointed environment just won’t be enough to maintain calm for dogs with serious separation issues. For some families with plenty of members, this won’t be a problem, but other dog owners might have to consider hiring a regular dog sitter or using a doggie daycare to keep their pet happy.
Whenever possible, it’s important to consider the nature of specific dog breeds and how that fits in with your lifestyle before adopting a new pet.
Top 7 High Anxiety Dog Breeds
Here are the top seven breeds that are most likely to struggle with separation stress when left alone for long periods:
- Labrador Retriever
- Border Collie
- German Shepherds and Australian Shepherds
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- German Shorthaired Pointer
Labrador Retrievers Are Super Social Dogs
Labradors are considered to be one of the best dog breeds for families. They are bred for their sunny, relaxed disposition, but they need a lot of affection and attention in order to maintain that cheerfulness. If left alone for long periods of time, or dropped off too regularly at the boarding house, labradors can really struggle with separation stress.
Border Collies Have High Activity Needs
Border Collies are an extremely active breed of dog, who were bred for their herding abilities and their ability to assist on farms. They are highly intelligent and social as well, so they make a great dog for anyone with an active lifestyle who can meet their exercise and companionship needs.
Border Collies will have a really hard time if they aren’t getting enough exercise, and lack of play can often result in destructive or problematic behavior in these dogs. This high level of activity need can’t be met without intense social time with their owners, so they are also prone to separation stress and general high anxiety unless properly cared for.
Shepherds Want to Shepherd – Which May Contribute to Stress
German Shepherds and Australian Shepherds also make the list of high anxiety dog breeds. The reason why is in their name: these dogs were bred (much like Border Collies) to shepherd herds of animals like cattle. This means their need for action and exercise, as well as their need for mental and social stimulation, are high.
Both German Shepherds and Australian Shepherds tend to bond tightly to their owners, which also makes them great guard dogs. This strong connection means they often suffer when their owner leaves them alone for long periods of time, even if they are getting enough exercise. These breeds need consistent contact and affection with their human family members.
Jack Russell Terriers Are Known for Their Energy
Jack Russell Terriers are well-known for their high levels of energy. Though small in stature, they can spend hours playing, running, and swimming.
Bred for hunting, these active dogs need a lot of attention and engagement from their owners. It’s not uncommon for a Jack Russell Terrier to experience separation stress and feel uncomfortable when their owner departs the house – especially if they haven’t had their daily walk or play time.
Bichon Frise Are the Ultimate Companion Animals
While Bichon Frise don’t have unusually high activity needs like Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers, this small, fluffy breed of dog was bred to be a companion dog, first and foremost. (They are also a hypoallergenic dog breed, which makes them super appealing to families where someone suffers from a dog allergy.) This means that spending time with their human family is a major priority and crucial to their happiness and relaxation.
It is often difficult for a Bichon Frise to really chill unless their owner is nearby. Bichon Frise are prone to stress and depression if kept away from their family for long periods of time, and many will vocally protest their owner’s departure.
German Shorthaired Pointers Need Action and Socialization
German Shorthaired Pointers are another popular dog breed that struggles with separation stress and general boredom when left alone. Like Jack Russell Terriers, these dogs were bred to hunt with their masters. Even if they aren’t actively hunting with their human family, they still crave that level of action and close companionship with their owners. When they are denied this time and attention, they tend to become depressed and stressed out, which results in problematic behaviors for these strong, active dogs.
Vizsla Are Affectionate, Social Dogs
Perhaps a lesser known breed than others on this list, the Vizsla is another hunting dog breed from Hungary that many owners feel passionately about. Vizslas tend to be a high anxiety dog breed because they hate being away from their owners and appreciate a busy, full house. They are known as very affectionate and even great with children, so this breed is really perfect for an active family or a super active person with plenty of time to share with their pet.
High Anxiety Dog Breeds Can Still Make Great Pets
While these high anxiety dog breeds might have different maintenance needs, they can make the perfect pets for many dog owners. Dogs that struggle with separation stress also tend to be highly affectionate and active, which makes for a loving and fun pet. It’s important to consider these breed profiles when you’re looking for a new animal or trying to accommodate your existing pet’s needs. Even high anxiety dogs can lead happy, healthy lives when their owners are attentive and engaged.