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What breeds make best therapy cats & dogs?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I know some of you are involved in volunteer pet therapy and am curious if you've noticed any particular breeds of dog or cat as being well-suited to be a therapy animal. Thank you!
post #2 of 10
Hmmm... I would think with cats that it depends more on the particular cat's temperament than anything else since kitties don't 'train' like dogs do.

A laid back cat who has never been a biter or otherwise agressive to people and is friendly with strangers and tolerant of a lot of handling, being picked up, etc... would be a must I would think.
post #3 of 10
I'm going to throw out a guess here and suggest that persians and ragdolls may be good breeds to handle that - though, of course it always comes down to each cat. Look at the breeds that are supposedly good with children.

As for dogs, there are several. Generally any breed that isn't a "one person" or stand-offish type breed naturally would probably work well. I've seen a lot of pit bulls used as therapy dogs - which makes sense as that's a breed that tends to really love people.
post #4 of 10
My mixed breed cat who looked kind of like a himalayan would have made an exellent therapy cat.

He had a calm temperment, loved being cuddled, and hadn't bitten anyone since his kitten stage.

As far as breeds go, I don't think there is any specific breed for therapy animals as I've seen all kinds from Chihuahua's to Greyhounds.

I must admit I've never seen a therapy cat and I'd be interested in meeting one!
post #5 of 10
We had a Belgian Malinois at my last job. She is an amazing therapy dog! There was an orange cat that loved to dress up in costumes who came to the psychiatric hospital where I previously worked. Unfortunately, one of the patients tried to strangle him with his bare hands, so that program was terminated.
post #6 of 10
Most any dog breed can be a good therapy dog, it depends on the individual. I belong to several animal assisted therapy groups and did therapy work with my Golden for about 8 years (until she was 11-12 years old.) In the groups I belong to there was everything from Pomeranians and Shih Tzus to Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Newfies and Dobermans. There was even a Pharaoh Hound in one program where we volunteered.
post #7 of 10
I agree that it propably depends from the particular cats/dogs temperaments, but I would suggest Scottish Folds. My foldie kitten is just so sweet, and 'ragdollish' (I don't personally know any ragdolls so I can't really compare), you can do anything to him an he just purrrrrrrs. Like everytime I clip his claws, he just lays there and usually falls asleep or just stays on my lap wanting me to rub his belly. And you can handle him very easily, paws, ears, teeth, whatever and he doesn't mind. All his siblings are the same.

And dog breeds, I would say Labrador. All the Labradors I've met are just so sweet, laid back and seem like wise dogs (when they're a bit older..). They also obey very well.
post #8 of 10
Great Question.......But I´m not sure wich one is the best!.-.....
post #9 of 10
I really think it depends on individual temperment, as some people mentioned. Some cats LOVE being held and petted, some are more stand off-ish and are wary of strangers. Same goes with dogs. You'd be surprised at some breeds that would make excellent therapy dogs. I personally own a Pittie, a Golden, a Beagle mix and a Golden mix and to be honest, my Pittie or Beagle mix would be one of my choices. My Golden is very shy and it takes a lot for her to trust you and my Golden mix is young and active still, I'd wait a couple years for him to settle down before I did any therapy with him. However, Goldens are very popular seeing eye dogs, therapy dogs, disability dogs, etc. So it just goes to see you that personality is the most important. Generally, though, I think that Labrador Retrievers would make excellent therapy dogs, as well as German Shepherds or Newfoundlands.
post #10 of 10
I asked my friend who is heavily involved in the therapy dog community and she told me that chihuahuas are typically not used because they are so nippy and tend to bark a lot. Of course there are exceptions.
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