Separation anxiety is common among dogs whose owners frequently leave them alone for extended periods. If you’re hoping to get a dog but you know you’ll be away from home often, it’s important to know which dog breeds suffer from separation anxiety the most.
Which Dog Breeds Suffer from Separation Anxiety?
Any dog could suffer from separation anxiety if they’re often without their owners, but some breeds are more susceptible to stress and anxiety when their owners are gone. Some of these breeds include:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Border Collies
- German Shepherds
- Australian Shepherds
- Jack Russell Terriers
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Bichon Frise
- Toy Poodles
These breeds are typically the most compassionate and prefer to be close with their owners. Breeds such as Border Collies and variations of Shepherds are working dogs who need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to keep their minds occupied. Without anything to do, they can become anxious and stressed, which can manifest itself in separation anxiety when they know they’re going to be left alone.
It’s not uncommon for mixed breeds to also suffer from separation anxiety if their parents are from any of the breeds mentioned in this list.
How Long Can I Leave My Dog Alone?
Puppies shouldn’t be left alone, but if that’s unfeasible, they should only be left by themselves for a maximum of two hours per day. They have small bladders and will need to go to the toilet more frequently than older, larger dogs. They’re also not used to being left alone and could easily develop separation anxiety.
Adult dogs who’re more used to being by themselves can be left for longer, between four to six hours maximum. They’ll also need to go to the toilet and most are reluctant to do so where they’ve been trained not to for fear of being told off. It’s best not to leave your dog alone for longer than necessary as separation anxiety can take hold if they’re unsure of their owner’s whereabouts.
Older dogs can be left for around the same time as adult dogs, particularly if they’re used to being left alone. It’s not advisable to leave your older dog alone from anywhere between two and six hours, depending on their temperament. Once dogs enter their later years, it becomes increasingly important for them to have their owner’s support and attention –– being left alone when they feel vulnerable can lead to separation anxiety.
Do Dogs Understand Being Left Alone?
Being the perceptive creatures they are, dogs can pick up on when you’re about to leave the house. They watch you closely and listen out for things that they’ve come to associate with their owner leaving them. From the jangle of your car keys to the sound of the front door opening, they’re aware of your routines.
Dogs That Are Less Prone to Separation Anxiety
Some breeds are less likely to develop separation anxiety and can be left alone more often since they have inherently more individual personalities. Better suited breeds to being left alone include:
- Chow Chows
- Chinese Shar-Peis
- Boston Terriers
- Lhasa Apsos
- Miniature Schnauzers
While it’s not advisable to leave your dog alone for extended periods, the breeds in this list are better suited to being by themselves. They’re more confident and individualistic, meaning they don’t rely on their owners so much for attention. With sufficient training, they can be left alone without experiencing much in the way of separation anxiety.
This can give you added convenience if you want a dog but your career or other responsibilities permit you from spending time at home with your pet.